Coins – The Currency of Our Time
Coins are made of metal, and in most cases, they have some sort of monetary value. They can be used to buy goods and services, or they can serve as investment assets, like stocks. They are usually designed to be easy to recognize, and most are stamped with their worth. Some coins are even designed to be fun or interesting, and they often have a story behind them.
While most people don’t think a lot about how coins make their way to banks, retailers and wallets, Federal Reserve Banks and commercial banks do. It’s their job to ensure enough coins are in circulation, and that means making sure dimes don’t gather dust in jars on dressers and quarters don’t languish in change sorters in laundromats. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this process, and it’s taken longer for dimes and quarters to make their way into the hands of consumers.
It’s been a long time since the last dollar bill was printed, but coins are still important parts of our country’s currency system. Newly minted coins are put into the distribution system by the Federal Reserve, which is responsible for ordering and distributing them to depository institutions like banks and credit unions. The Fed also distributes coins to businesses that accept them, including supermarkets and pharmacies.
Some coins are minted in pairs. The second coin in a set may have the same design as the first, but has different characteristics or is made of a different metal. This is called bimetallism and is common in Europe. The space on a coin below the main design is known as the exergue and can be left blank or contain a mint mark, privy mark or other decorative or informative design feature.
Despite their small size, coins have always been prized and often hoarded. Their distribution has historically been a key indicator of trade and economic connections, and study of ancient coins can reveal a great deal about the wealth and power of cities and states. For example, finds of Athenian silver in the Levant and Corinthian gold in Magna Graecia (southern Italy) illustrate well established trading links.
The value of a coin is determined by the amount of precious metal it contains. Many of the world’s oldest and most valuable coins are made of precious metal. The most popular modern coins are silver and gold, but copper, nickel and aluminum are also widely used in the world’s currencies. In addition to metallic coins, there are also paper money issued by central banks.
Cryptocurrencies have gone from digital novelties to trillion-dollar technologies, and they’re used to buy a wide range of goods and services. Some governments, including China’s, have banned the use of cryptocurrencies and others are seeking to limit how they are used.
While there is no shortage of coin, the speed at which they are moving through the economy has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses’ decision to close. As a result, more than half of the coins in the country are sitting in consumer’s coin jars at home rather than dropping into change sorters in banks or coin kiosks.