What Is a Coin?

The market exchange value of a Coin is derived from its intrinsic value and historic significance. Most modern coins are made of a base metal and their value is based on their status as fiat money. This means that the government sets the value of a coin and not the people themselves. A modern coin is more like a token than a currency. It must be made of a precious metal or have a certain standardized weight. It must also be pure.


The obverse side of a coin depends on the issuing country. A new design must contain the name of the issuing nation and the engraver’s initials. The obverse side of a piece of paper money cannot repeat the denomination of the coin. This rule is violated in the case of a Greek national banknote. Austria’s coins, for instance, follow the revised rules. This is why the word “Euro” is so prominent on the euro coins.

The original coins were not standardized in terms of design, but were primarily issued for commemorative purposes. The French used a tri-metallic coin in the 1990s, and Canada adopted a bi-metallic two dollar coin in 1996. This coin is called the toonie. Other countries have issued guitar-shaped coins, such as the 10 zloty of Poland. A 10 euro note issued in Nauru in 2002 was shaped like Europe.

The coin’s design was a compromise between the two different approaches to illustrating its composition. A centralized authority could decide to withdraw a coin from circulation and replace it with a new one with a new composition, but it is not likely to happen. If it does, the public might choose to hoard the coins or melt them down. This is why Gresham’s law is so important. It explains why a nation’s coin is worth more than its value if it has no intrinsic value.

The first coin was designed by Luc Luycx. Its fiat value was significantly less than its component metals. This shortfall is a result of inflation. For instance, the pre-1965 US penny contained a little more than a tenth of an ounce of silver, whereas the post-1965 US dollar had a full ounce of silver. Its copper content was greatly reduced and the obverse does not have any other information.

In addition to its monetary value, a coin can be divided into two types: bimetallic and monometallic. Some coins have both sides and are used in different circumstances. They can be used for many purposes. Some are used for commemoration. A trimetallic coin is an example of a circulating metal. For instance, a bronze penny can be classified as a gold or silver piece. It can also be divided into a gram.