Monetary History – Oldest use of gold as money 6000 B.C.
Process Metallurgy is one of the oldest applied sciences. Its history can be traced back to 6000 BC. Admittedly, its form at that time was rudimentary, but, to gain a perspective in Process Metallurgy, it is worthwhile to spend a little time studying the initiation of mankind’s association with metals. Currently there are 86 known metals. Before the 19th century only 24 of these metals had been discovered and, of these 24 metals, 12 were discovered in the 18th century. Therefore, from the discovery of the first metals – gold and copper until the end of the 17th century, some 7700 years, only 12 metals were known. Four of these metals, arsenic, antimony , zinc and bismuth , were discovered in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while platinum was discovered in the 16th century. The other seven metals, known as the Metals of Antiquity, were the metals upon which civilisation was based. These seven metals were:
(1) Gold (ca) 6000BC
These metals were known to the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and the Romans. Of the seven metals, five can be found in their native states, e.g., gold, silver, copper, iron (from meteors) and mercury. However, the occurrence of these metals was not abundant and the first two metals to be used widely were gold and copper. And, of course, the history of metals is closely linked to that of coins and gemstones
2,700 years of history
The heritage of ancient coins is a subject that intrigues and delights collectors and scholars the world over. The oldest coin available today was discovered in Efesos, an ancient Hellenic city and prosperous trading center on the coast of Asia Minor. The 1/6 stater, pictured below, is more than 2,700 years old, making it one of the very earliest coins. Made from electrum, a natural occuring alloy of gold and silver, the coin originated in the area of Lydia. It had a design on one side only, a result of the primitive method of manufacture. This ancient stater was hand struck. A die with a design (in this case a lion’s head) for the obverse (front) of the coin was placed on an anvil. A blank piece of metal was placed on top of the die, and a punch hammered onto the reverse. The result was a coin with an image on one side and a punch mark on the other.
Money Facts #12 – 92% Electronic “money” vs. 8% Physical “money”
“People are earning and spending money without ever touching it. In fact, economists estimate that only 8 percent of the world’s currency exists as physical cash. The rest exists only on a computer hard drive, in electronic bank accounts around the world.”
By today’s estimates, the balance is 95% electronic vs 5% physical “money”.
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Money Facts #11 – World’s oldest surviving paper bill
The world’s oldest surviving banknotes came from China. It is believed they were the first civilization to make use of paper money. The earliest surviving notes were from the Chin Dynasty dated around 1115 to 1234 AD and can be seen in some museums. The Ming and Yuan Dynasties’ 1 Kuan are also one of the few surviving paper bills and was believed to have been used somewhere around 1335 to 1340 AD. It measured 8.75 inches x 13.25 inches and was recorded as the largest banknote until the 100,000 Philippine Peso bill took its place.