What Is Coin Currency?

Coin currency is money made of metals such as copper, silver and gold, and usually minted by governments or central banks for use in their respective countries. The value of these coins is typically based on their precious metal content, which gives them a higher face value than non-precious metal bullion coins such as those minted by private individuals or as collector’s items. Examples of this type include the British sovereign minted by the United Kingdom, the American Gold Eagle minted by the United States, and the Krugerrand minted by South Africa. Some coins are engraved with an image or words; the most ancient of these were minted at Ephesus in 625-600 BC. They were probably used as badges or tokens, and have a legend such as PhAENOS EMI SHMA (‘of Phanes’).

The value of these coins depends on their condition, specific historical significance, rarity, beauty of design and general popularity among collectors. This is particularly true of older or rarer coins. Modern circulating coins have an obverse (colloquially, heads) side with an image of a monarch or other authority and a reverse side showing various types of information including the year of minting. The space below the main design on a coin is called the exergue and often contains a privy mark, mint mark or other decorative or informative design feature.

Throughout history, monarchs and government authorities have created more coins than their supply of pure metal would allow by replacing some fraction of the coin’s precious metal content with base metals such as copper or nickel, in order to make them last longer and/or to increase the number of coins that could be produced. This is known as debasement and it almost always leads to price inflation.

In the 1990s, some European currencies began using bimetallic coins with different metals in each side. The higher value euros have a finely milled edge to make it easier for visually impaired people to distinguish between the values of the coin. The lowest value euro coins are mainly made of copper-covered steel.

Cryptocurrencies have gained widespread attention as a new alternative to traditional forms of money. Advocates claim they offer a democratizing force, freeing people from the grip of central banks and Wall Street. Critics argue that they empower criminal groups and terrorists, cause extreme market volatility and consume vast amounts of electricity to mine.

If you have a large collection of coins that are taking up space in your change jar or piggy bank, you can often get rid of them by exchanging them for cash. This is often done at banks, credit unions and some retailers that have coin-counting machines. It is helpful to count and organize your coins by denomination so that you can quickly find what you are looking for when it comes time to exchange them. This will make the process faster and simpler for everyone involved. It’s also a good idea to give any spare coins to friends and family who might appreciate them, or to donate them to local charities.