Coinage and Currency
Silver has been used as a medium of exchange since earliest recorded history. Silver coins were produced by the Lydians round about 700 B.C. The Lydians were citizens of an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located in the modern day Turkish provinces of inland Izmir and Manisa. These coins were made of electrum, which is an alloy consisting of both gold and silver. Needless to say, some controversy exists whether the silver coins made by the Lydians were coins in the true sense of the word.
Silver coins – those minted by an authority either public or private – came on the scene in the eastern Mediterranean during 550 B.C. By 269 B.C., the Roman Empire adopted silver as part of its standard coinage and it was used throughout the trading world. Until the late 19th century, most nations were on a silver standard (“standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver” – Wikipedia) with silver coins forming the main circulating currency. Although gold was also used in coinage, its higher value was not practical for everyday purchases.
For example, the British “pound” denoted by the symbol £ refers to 1 troy pound of sterling silver (standard silver). Sterling silver is an alloy of silver consisting 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of other metals such as copper.
You will be extremely lucky today if you can manage to buy something worth 1 troy pound of sterling silver with a modern day British pound (£), especially if you consider that 1 troy pound of sterling silver is equal to 12 troy ounces of sterling silver. The reason for this is twofold: Firstly, in the 1800’s many nations switched from the silver to the gold standard, and secondly, in the 20th century many nations, including the United States and Great Britain, fell for the ‘paper gimmick’ and switched to fiat currency or fiat money. Fiat currencies mostly consist of non-redeemable paper notes not backed by anything of real value (such as gold and silver). Needless to say, it leaves the door wide open for abuse.
Despite the fact that silver has not been used as money for a very long time in most countries, it’s not a question of if it will be used again, but rather when it will be used again. It’s after all no secret that silver bullion has its own ISO currency code, XAG, which indicates that it can be used as money.
Many people are skeptical that silver and gold will ever be used as money again. This can be expected, especially if you consider that most people simply don’t know that gold and silver standards were used in the past. This is not even to speak of the fiat currency system which is currently used, which is undoubtedly the biggest Ponzi scheme in human history! These are concepts even a five year old can understand, but it’s mostly lost on adults due to mind diluting experiences. Frankly, it may come as news to silver currency skeptics, those who don’t believe silver and gold will ever be used as money again, but you’re making it much easier for us non-skeptics to acquire and accumulate silver at almost next to nothing. However, make no mistake, the moment fiat currencies become utterly worthless due to the fact that the public lose all confidence in fiat money, you can expect to see a stampede for gold and silver! This can be expected to push gold and silver prices to unprecedented levels.
Don’t make the mistake of being a silver currency skeptic just for the sake of being one. This site is filled with info to help you understand the outmost importance of investing in or owning silver, since it will most certainly will be used again as money in the not too distant future, especially if you consider what they call ‘quantitative easing.’ It’s nothing short of a shameless excuse for the excessive printing of additional non-redeemable paper notes, which will most definitely at the end of the day lead to hyperinflation and a collapse of the existing system.
Sadly enough, Mexico is currently the only country using silver, albeit in small amounts, in its circulating coins. Other metals such as copper and nickel are more commonly used. However, in some countries pure silver still is used in specially-issued bullion, commemorative and proof coins which are sold at a premium price above their face value. For example, Mexico offers a 99.9 percent pure (sometimes called 999 fine) silver Libertad ranging in weight from 1/20 oz. to 5 ounces. The U.S. Mint issues a 999-fine Silver Eagle bullion coin (a one ounce bullion coin with a face value of $1). The Royal Canadian Mint issues a 5 dollar 9999-fine silver bullion coin, the silver Maple Leaf, and Australia offers a 5-dollar, 1 ounce 999-fine silver bullion coin, the Kookaburra. All of these have been popular with investors and collectors.
Source: The Silver Institute