What Is Coin Currency?

Coin currency

Coin currency consists of small pieces of metal used to represent money. The value of coins in general reflects the intrinsic worth of the metals they contain, and in some cases they may also carry symbolic or historical significance. Most coins have one side bearing an image of a monarch, other authority figure or national emblem (see List of people on coins) and the other side showing various types of numerical information or mint marks. Many of these coins have milled or reeded edges to make it difficult to clip them, and they are sometimes stamped with the year of minting.

Most banks and credit unions accept and exchange coins, although their policies may vary. Some provide coin-sorting machines for self-service exchanges, while others require a teller to help. Some offer free coin wrappers, while others charge for them. It is a good idea to call ahead before visiting a branch with a bag of change to ensure someone will be available to help you.

Historically, many coins were made of precious metals like gold and silver. These coins were prized, often hoarded and even buried in times of scarcity. They were prone to manipulation, such as shaving and clipping, to remove small amounts of the precious metals for sale. These coin mutilations reduced the intrinsic value of the coins and led to debasement.

In order to create more coins than their supply of precious metals would allow if they were pure, monarchs and governments replaced some fraction of the precious metal with base metals such as copper or nickel. The resulting coinage had lower intrinsic value, but was still acceptable as currency. This practice, known as debasement, allowed the coining authority to issue more coins for the same amount of precious metal.

The distribution of coins minted in different regions of a state or empire can give clues to the existence of trade links between them. For example, the popularity of Athens and Corinthian coins in the Levant and Magna Graecia suggests that there were established trade links between these areas. The discovery of early Roman imperial gold in India and Arab silver in Scandinavia further demonstrates the importance of these trade links.

The modern US dollar is made out of a mix of metals, including nickel, zinc and copper. Silver was added to the American penny in the 1940s, but it was removed from circulation again in 1982, when it was replaced with a more durable and economical copper-plated zinc core. Some coins, such as the 1943 steel cent, were struck on planchets cut from recycled wartime brass in an effort to save metal for the nation’s war efforts. This gave them a distinct appearance that makes them easily identifiable as the first of their kind. These coins are now rare and valued by collectors. In addition, some older US coins were issued with unusual metals like tin and tungsten to meet the needs of the market.