What Is Coin Currency?
Coin currency, also known as hard money or fiat money, is a medium of exchange in the form of metal coins or paper notes. The use of coin currency varies around the world, with some countries relying heavily on it and others using it alongside other currencies. Its proponents argue that it democratizes wealth and power by allowing ordinary people to bypass central banks and Wall Street. Critics, however, contend that a lack of regulation empowers criminals and terrorist organizations, the assets themselves stoke inequality, have astronomical price volatility, and require enormous amounts of energy to mine.
The value of a coin is equal to its intrinsic (metallurgical) value, which is determined by its weight and composition. The intrinsic value of a gold or silver coin is more than its nominal (face) value, which is the face value printed on the coin’s surface. The difference between the intrinsic and nominal value is called a premium, which explains why some collectors are willing to pay more than the face value of a coin for it.
In addition to intrinsic value, coins can have a variety of symbolic, aesthetic, or historic meanings. Some of these are reflected in the coin’s design, which is based on a national or historical motif. Other meanings are derived from the physical characteristics of a coin, such as its shape and color. The relation between the obverse and reverse images of a coin is also important. If turning the coin reveals that the obverse image is right side up and turning it further reveals that the reverse is also right side up, it is said to have medallic orientation, as is typical of European euro coins. If, on the other hand, turning the coin reveals that the obverse is upside down and turns it further demonstrates that the reverse is also upside down, it is said to have coin orientation as is the case with American dollar coins.
A coin may also have a unique shape that lends it special value. Some examples include the square 50-cent coins of Hong Kong and the Bahamas, the wavy-edged 20-cent coins of Australia, and the round, 12-flat-sided 5-cent coins of New Zealand. Many coins are circular, but some have other shapes, such as the square and octagonal-shaped gold dinars of Philip II of Macedon or the gold ducats of early caliphs in southern Italy and Austria.
To cash in your change, you can visit a bank or credit union that offers coin exchange services. Some will only take your change if you are a customer, and some charge a fee for their service. You can also bring your change to a retail store that has a coin-counting machine or donate it to charity. Some communities even hold periodic coin drives. However, these methods are not as safe as keeping your change at home.