What Is a Coin?

A coin is a piece of metal money, typically circular and flat, with a raised design on one side. It is usually made of a precious metal, such as gold, silver or copper. The value of a coin is generally determined by its historical significance, rarity, beauty or quality, and its popularity with collectors. A coin’s face value is generally less than its metal content, although exceptions exist. For example, gold bullion coins such as the British sovereign and American Gold Eagle have nominal (purely symbolic) face values that are lower than their precious metal content.

Coins have been used as a form togel of currency for thousands of years. They can be used in place of paper money, which is less convenient and can suffer from wear and tear. In addition, coins can be much more secure than paper money because they are harder to counterfeit. However, a number of disadvantages have caused many countries to shift away from using coins as their main form of currency.

In the past, a coin’s worth was based on its metal content or historic value, but most coins presently are made of a base metal and have only their value as fiat money. This means that the price of a coin is not determined by its metal or history but rather by government decree. Because of this, most modern coins are very similar to paper currency in that there is little economic difference between notes and coins of the same value.

There were a few exceptions to this rule in the past, particularly during times of high inflation. Inflation was a common problem for most countries in the 1800s and early 1900s, leading to “debasement” of coinage by reducing the amount of metal in a given coin or lowering the quality of the metal. In general, this reduced the overall value of a coin and led to many countries redenominating their currencies in order to maintain the same purchasing power.

To make a coin, a planchet is first created from a solid piece of metal. Then, an obverse die and reverse die are struck against it to create the desired design. This process is accomplished in a coin press, which may be powered by 35 to 100 metric tons of force. The resulting coin is then cleaned, polished and sealed in an airtight envelope to protect it from corrosion.

In the United States, most banks have a service that will take coins and turn them into cash. This service is generally free for account holders, but it can be expensive if the bank charges a fee per transaction. A much cheaper option is to acquire coin wrappers, available for purchase in supermarkets or from your bank, and use these to roll your change each time you get it. This will keep your change in a separate pile and prevent it from accumulating into large amounts in your pocket or in a messy coin jar, which can be difficult to sort.