Silver coin
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass produced form of coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

age. Silver has been used as a coinage metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 since the times of the Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

s. Their silver drachma
Greek drachma
Drachma, pl. drachmas or drachmae was the currency used in Greece during several periods in its history:...

s were popular trade coins.

As with all collectible coins, many factors determine the value of a collectible silver coin, such as its rarity, demand, condition and the number originally minted. Ancient silver coins coveted by collectors include the Denarius
In the Roman currency system, the denarius was a small silver coin first minted in 211 BC. It was the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased until its replacement by the antoninianus...

 and Miliarense
A miliarense was the only fairly regularly minted silver coin issued by the late Roman and Byzantine Empires. It was struck with variable fineness, generally with a weight between 3.8 and 6.0 grams. The miliarense was struck from the beginning of the 4th century under Constantine I with a...

, while more recent collectible silver coins include the Morgan Dollar
Morgan Dollar
The Morgan dollar was a United States dollar coin minted intermittently from 1878 to 1921. It was the first standard silver dollar minted since production of the previous design, the Seated Liberty dollar, ceased due to the passage of the Fourth Coinage Act, an act which also ended the free coining...

 and the Spanish Milled Dollar.

Other than collector's silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 coins, silver bullion coin
Bullion coin
A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment, rather than used in day-to-day commerce. Investment coins are generally coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are or have been a legal tender in...

s are popular among people who desire a "hedge
Inflation hedge
Inflation hedge is an investment with intrinsic value such as oil, natural gas, gold, farmland, and to a lesser degree commercial real estate. Typically most hard assets are an excellent inflation hedge. In general, commodities/hard assets are negatively correlated to both stocks and bonds. In...

" against currency inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 or store of value
Store of value
A recognized form of exchange can be a form of money or currency, a commodity like gold, or financial capital. To act as a store of value, these forms must be able to be saved and retrieved at a later time, and be predictably useful when retrieved....

. Silver has an international currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 symbol of XAG under ISO 4217
ISO 4217
ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes , and references to minor units in three tables:* Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list...


Before 1797, British pennies used to be made out of silver while the ancient Persians used silver coins between 612-330 BC.

Origins and early development of silver coins

The earliest coins of the western world were minted in the kingdom of Lydia
Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian....

 in Asia Minor
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 around 600 BCE. The coins of Lydia were made of electrum
Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. It has also been produced artificially. The ancient Greeks called it 'gold' or 'white gold', as opposed to 'refined gold'. Its color ranges from pale to bright yellow, depending on the...

, which is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, that was available within the territory of Lydia. The concept of coinage, i.e. stamped lumps of metal of a specified weight, quickly spread to adjacent regions, such as Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

. In these neighbouring regions, inhabited by Greeks, coins were mostly made of silver. As Greek merchants traded with Greek communities (colonies) throughout the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, the Greek coinage concept soon spread through trade to the entire Mediterranean region. These early Greek silver coins were denominated in stater
The stater was an ancient coin used in various regions of Greece.-History:The stater is mostly of Macedonian origin. Celtic tribes brought it in to Europe after using it as mercenaries in north Greece. It circulated from the 8th century BC to 50 AD...

s or drachmas and its fractions (obol
The obol was an ancient silver coin. In Classical Athens, there were six obols to the drachma, lioterally "handful"; it could be excahnged for eight chalkoi...


More or less simultaneously with the development of the Lydian and Greek coinages, a coinage system was developed independently in China. The Chinese coins, however, were a different concept and they were made of bronze.

In the Mediterranean region, the silver and other precious metal coins were later supplemented with local bronze coinages, that served as small change, useful for transactions where small sums were involved.

The coins of the Greeks were issued by a great number of city states, and each coin carried an indication of its place of origin. The coinage systems were not entirely the same from one place to another. However, the so-called Attic standard, Corinthian standard, Aiginetic standard and other standards defined the proper weight of each coin. Each of these standards were used in multiple places throughout the Mediterranean region.

In the 4th century BCE, the Kingdom of Macedonia came to dominate the Greek world. The most powerful of their kings, Alexander the Great eventually launched an attack on the Kingdom of Persia, defeating and conquering it. Alexander's Empire fell apart after his death in 323 BCE, and the eastern mediterranean region and western Asia (previously Persian territory) were divided into a small number of kingdoms, replacing the city state as the principal unit of Greek government. Greek coins were now issued by kings, and only to a lesser extent by cities. Greek rulers were now minting coins as far away as Egypt and central Asia. The tetradrachm (four drachms) was a popular coin throughout the region. This era is referred to as the hellenistic era.

While much of the Greek world was being transformed into monarchies, the Romans were expanding their control throughout the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

. The Romans minted their first coins during the early 3rd century BCE. The earliest coins were - like other coins in the region - silver drachms with a supplementary bronze coinage. They later reverted to the silver denarius
In the Roman currency system, the denarius was a small silver coin first minted in 211 BC. It was the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased until its replacement by the antoninianus...

 as their principal coin. The denarius remained an important Roman coin until the Roman economy began to crumble. During the 3rd century CE
CE, Ce or ce may refer to:* Common Era , secular alternative to Anno Domini * Cerium, chemical element with symbol Ce- Titles :* Chief Executive, administrative head of some regions...

, the antoninianus
The antoninianus was a coin used during the Roman Empire thought to have been valued at 2 denarii. It was initially silver, but was slowly debased to bronze. The coin was introduced by Caracalla in early 215 and was a silver coin similar to the denarius except that it was slightly larger and...

 was minted in quantity. This was originally a "silver" coin with low silver content, but developed through stages of debasement (sometimes silver washed) to pure bronze coins.

Although many regions ruled by Hellenistic monarchs were brought under Roman control, this did not immediately lead to a unitary monetary system throughout the Mediterranean region. Local coinage traditions in the eastern regions prevailed, while the denarius dominated the western regions. The local Greek coinages are known as Greek Imperial coins.

Apart from the Greeks and the Romans, also other peoples in the Mediterranean region issued coins. These include the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Jews, the Celts and various regions in the Iberian Peninsula and the Arab Peninsula.

In regions to the East of the Roman Empire, that were formerly controlled by the Hellenistic Seleucids, the Parthians created a kingdom in Persia. The Parthians issued a relatively stable series of silver drachms and tetradrachms. After the Parthians were overthrouwn by the Sassanians in 226 CE, the new dynasty of Persia began the minting of their distinct thin, spread fabric silver drachms, that became a staple of their empire right up to the Arab conquest in the 7th century CE.

The Byzantine Empire, the Arabs and medieval Europe

In the Byzantine Empire, which was basically what was left of the old Roman Empire, the currency system was reorganised, but the coinage mostly consisted of copper and gold. A silver miliaresion
The miliaresion , was a name used for a number of Byzantine silver coins. In its most specific sense, it refers to a type of silver coin struck in the 8th–11th centuries....

 was developed, usually with a cross on steps obverse and an inscription forming the reverse. Later, the cup-shaped (or 'scyphate
Scyphate is a term frequently used in numismatics to refer to the concave or "cup-shaped" Byzantine coins of the 11th–14th centuries.This usage emerged in the 19th century, when the term scyphatus, attested in south Italian documents of the 11th and 12th centuries, was erroneously interpreted as...

') trachy were issued, but the silver content of these rapidly declined towards only a few per cent, finally ending up as a pure copper coin after the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 (13th century).

With Mohammed's revolution in the Arabian Peninsula, a new state was created in 622. After the death of Mohammed (632), the state was governed by caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

s, thus named 'the Caliphate'. As the caliphate expanded into Byzantine territories to the Northwest and conquered the Sassanian (Persian) Empire to the Northeast, the question of a caliphal coinage became imminent. The caliphate adapted the Sassanian drachm as their silver coin. Initially, Arabic inscriptions were added to the Sassanian coin type. Later, the type was completely revised, so as to include iscriptions and ornaments only. (Depictions of human beings is prohibited according to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

). These coins are known in Arabic as dirhems. The dirhems of the caliphate gained wide acceptance. They are consequently found along trading routes in Ukraine, Russia and Scandinavia.
As the power balance within the caliphate changed (weaker central power), the names of local leaders, or feudal lords, were increasingly indicated on the dirhems. Various Arabic dynasties continued to issue dirhems for centuries after the demise of the classical caliphates. There is a great variety of types, although retaining the inscriptions and ornaments only formula.

In medieval Europe (outside the Byzantine Empire), the coinage was very complex, as the types were often different from one (small) region to another. In some regions, certain coin types became a commonly accepted coin type in inter-regional trade. For instance, the silver sceat
Sceattas were small, thick silver coins minted in England, Frisia and Jutland during the Anglo-Saxon period.-History:Their name derives from an Old English word meaning 'wealth', which has been applied to these coins since the seventeenth century, based on interpretations of the law-code of King...

tas were a popular type of coin in England, the Netherlands and the Frisian region. The penny was a popular interregional silver coin, thus being known in several different languages as 'penny' (English), 'pfennig' (German) and 'penning' (Scandinavian languages). Medieval coin types frequently suffered from gradual debasement, and the coins were generally small. This changed when the great amounts of silver began to flow into Europe from the New World.

The Ottoman Empire and Persia

While the Byzantine Empire in the Balkans was crumbling, a new power was growing strong in Asia Minor: the Ottoman state. The Ottomans eventually conquered the Byzantine capital in 1453, creating the Ottoman Empire. Early Ottoman silver coins are the small akçe
thumb|250px|AkçeA silver coin, the akçe was the chief monetary unit of the Ottoman Empire. The word "akçe" is derived from the Greek "" , the name of a Byzantine silver or billon coin, current in the region that eventually became the Ottoman Empire. The akçe is hence often called asper in English...


With the accession of the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

, Persia emerged as an independent state, also in terms of language and identity. This coincided with a shift from the use of Arabic to Persian in the coins' inscriptions. The coins now tended to employ cursive and interlaced script, radically altering the appearance of the coins.


The earliest coins of India are the so-called punch-marked coins. These were small pieces of silver of a specified weight, punched with several dies, each carrying a symbol. These very early coins were issued at a point in time when India was still separated from the Greek world by Persia (Persia proper did not use silver coins at the time).

The Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 word rūpyakam (रूप्यकम्) means "wrought silver" or a coin of silver. The term could also be related to "something provided with an image, a coin," from rūpa "shape, likeness, image." The word rupee was coined by Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

, a renagade governor who broke off from the Mughal Empire during his short rule of northern India between (1540–1545). It was used for the silver coin
Silver coin
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks. Their silver drachmas were popular trade coins....

 weighing 178 grains. He also introduced copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

s called Dam
Dam (coin)
This article is about coinage. For other uses, see Dam .A Dam was a small Indian copper coin. The coin was first introduced by Sher Shah Suri during his rule of India between 1540 and 1545, along with Mohur, the gold coin and Rupiya the silver coin Later on, the Mughal Emperors standardised the...

and gold coin
Gold coin
A gold coin is a coin made mostly or entirely of gold. Gold has been used for coins practically since the invention of coinage, originally because of gold's intrinsic value...

s called Mohur
A Mohur is a gold coin that was formerly minted by several governments including British India , the Moghul Empire, Nepal, and Afghanistan. It was usually equivalent in value to fifteen silver rupees. It was last minted in British India in 1918, but some princely states issued them until...

that weighed 169 grains. Later on, the Mughal Emperors standardised this coinage of tri-metalism across the sub-continent in order to consolidate the monetary system.

The New World, the peso/dollar and pacific trade

With the colonisation of the Americas after 1492, great amounts of silver began to flow from the New World to the old. Especially the silver mines in Bolivia and Mexico gave rise to large silver coins. Within decades after Columbus' discovery, silver coins were minted in the Americas and shipped to Spain. The coins minted in the Americas were initially of a very crude fabric.

Silver coins of Europe

As the large silver coins from the Americas flowed into Europe, all countries of Europe eventually began to issue large size silver coins. The discovery of silver in Joachimsthal also gave rise to the silver joachimsthaler coin. The great amounts of silver available caused the relative value of silver to drop.

Recent silver coins

With the reduced or even non-existent link between the value of the currency and the value of precious metals since the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the 1930s, silver gradually ceased to be used in the manufacture of ordinary circulating coins. For this reason, silver coins are mainly either special commemorative coin
Commemorative coin
Commemorative coins are coins that were issued to commemorate some particular event or issue. Most world commemorative coins were issued from the 1960s onward, although there are numerous examples of commemorative coins of earlier date. Such coins have a distinct design with reference to the...

s minted for sale to coin collectors or bullion coin
Bullion coin
A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment, rather than used in day-to-day commerce. Investment coins are generally coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are or have been a legal tender in...

s primarily sold to investors that, although are legal tender, are not expected to circulate.

Bullion coins

The most common world silver bullion coins, preceded by minimum guaranteed purity, and ordered by their year of introduction:
  • 99.90% 1982 Mexican Silver Libertad
    Libertad (coin)
    Libertad coins are gold and silver Mexican bullion coins. They are sold in 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 troy ounce weights for both gold and silver coins; and 2, 5 ozt and 1 kilogram weights for silver coins.-Design:...

  • 99.90% 1983 Chinese Silver Panda
    Chinese Silver Panda
    The Chinese Silver Panda is a series of silver bullion coins issued by the People's Republic of China. The design of the panda is changed every year, and these are minted in different sizes and denominations, ranging from 0.5 troy oz...

  • 99.90% 1986 American Silver Eagle
    American Silver Eagle
    The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States. It was first released by the United States Mint on November 24, 1986. It is struck only in the one-troy ounce size, which has a nominal face value of one dollar and is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce of 99.9%...

  • 99.99% 1988 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
    Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
    The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a silver bullion coin issued annually by the government of Canada. The coin has been minted by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988....

  • 99.90% 1990 Australian Silver Kookaburra
    Australian Silver Kookaburra
    The Silver Kookaburra is a silver bullion coin originating from Australia, and produced at the Perth Mint. The coins are .999 fine silver. They are minted in the following four sizes:...

     (minted by the Perth Mint
    Perth Mint
    The Perth Mint is Australia's oldest currently operating mint ....

  • 99.90% 1993 Australian Silver Kangaroo
    Australian Silver Kangaroo
    The Australian Silver Kangaroo is a one troy ounce silver bullion coin minted by the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra, Australia. They have legal tender status in Australia and are one of few legal tender bullion silver coins to change their design every year...

     (minted by the Royal Australian Mint
    Royal Australian Mint
    The Royal Australian Mint is situated in the Australian federal capital city of Canberra, in the suburb of Deakin.Before the opening of the mint, Australian coins were struck at branches of the Royal Mint - the Sydney Mint, Melbourne Mint and Perth Mint. The Royal Australian Mint holds a place in...

  • 95.80% 1997 British Silver Britannia
    Britannia coin
    Britannia coins are British bullion coins issued by the Royal Mint in gold since 1987 and in silver since 1997.Britannia gold coins contain one troy ounce of gold and have a face value of £100. Gold Britannias also are issued in fractional sizes of one-half, one-quarter, and one-tenth of a troy...

     (from 1997, proof version only. Public issue from 1998)
  • 99.90% 2008 Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic
  • 99.90% 2009 Russian George the Victorious

Silver rounds

Privately minted silver coins are commonly called "silver rounds" or "generic silver rounds". They are called "rounds" instead of "coins" because the US Mint reserves the use of the word "coin" for Government Issued circulating currency, such as all common coins and the American Silver and Gold Eagles. The privately minted "rounds" usually have a set weight of 1 troy ounce of silver (31.103 grams of 99.9% silver), with the dimensions of 1/10 inch thick and 39 mm across. These carry all sorts of designs, from assayer
An assayer is a person who tests ores and minerals and analyzes them to determine their composition and value. They may use spectrographic analysis, chemical solutions, and chemical or laboratory equipment, such as furnaces, beakers, graduates, pipettes, and crucibles.An assayer separates metals...

/mine backed bullion to engravable gifts, automobiles, firearms, armed forces commemorative, and holidays. Unlike silver bullion coins, silver rounds carry no face value and are not considered legal tender.


Silver coins have evolved in many different forms through the ages; a rough timeline for silver coins is as follows:
  • Silver coins circulated widely as money in Europe and later the Americas from before the time of Alexander the Great until the 1960s.
  • 16th - 19th centuries: World silver crowns, the most famous is arguably the Mexican 8 reales (also known as Spanish dollar
    Spanish dollar
    The Spanish dollar is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. Its purpose was to correspond to the German thaler...

    ), minted in many different parts of the world to facilitate trade. Each major world powers then would have their own set of crowns, so named because the obverse of the coin will carry an effigy of the country's ruling monarch at the time of minting. Size is more or less standardized at around 38mm with many minor variations in weight and sizes among different issuing nations. Declining towards the end of the 19th century due the introduction of secure printing of paper currency. It is no longer convenient to carry sacks of silver coins when they can be deposited in the bank for a certificate of deposit carrying the same value. Smaller denominations exist to complement currency usability by the public.
  • 1870s - 1930s: Silver trade dollar
    Trade dollar
    -United States:The United States trade dollar is a silver dollar coin that was issued by the United States Mint and minted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Carson City, and San Francisco from 1873 to 1885. Trade dollars intended for circulation were last produced in 1878 while proof coin production...

    s, a world standard of its era in weight and purity following the example of the older Mexican 8 Reales to facilitate trade in the Far East. Examples: French Indochina Piastres, British Trade Dollar, US Trade Dollar, Japanese 1 Yen, Chinese 1 Dollar. Smaller denomination exists to complement currency usability by the public.
  • 1930s - 1960s: Alloyed in circulating coins of many different governments of the world. This period ended when it was no longer economical for world governments to keep silver as an alloying element in their circulating coins.
  • 1960s - current: Modern crown sized commemoratives, using the weight and size of the old world crowns.
  • 1980 - current: Modern silver bullion coins, mainly from 39mm - 42mm diameter, containing 1 troy ounce of pure silver in content, regardless of purity. Smaller and bigger sizes exist mainly to complement the collectible set for numismatics market. Some are also purchased as a mean for the masses to buy a standardized store of value, which in this case is silver.

Why silver is used for coinage

Silver coins were among the first coins ever used, thousands of years ago. The silver standard
Silver standard
The silver standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver. The silver specie standard was widespread from the fall of the Byzantine Empire until the 19th century...

 was used for centuries in many places of the world. And the use of silver for coins, instead of other materials, has many reasons:
  • Silver is liquid
    Market liquidity
    In business, economics or investment, market liquidity is an asset's ability to be sold without causing a significant movement in the price and with minimum loss of value...

    , easily tradable, and with a low spread between the prices to buy and sell. A low spread typically occurs when an item is fungible
    Fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution, such as crude oil, wheat, precious metals or currencies...


  • Silver is easily transportable. Silver
    Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

     and gold
    Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

     have a high value to weight ratio.
  • Silver can be divisible into small units without destroying its value; precious metals can be coined from bars, or melted down into bars again.
  • A silver coin is fungible: that is, one unit or piece must be equivalent to another.
  • A silver coin has a certain weight, or measure, to be verifiably countable.
  • A silver coin is long lasting and durable. A silver coin is not subject to decay.
  • A silver coin has a stable value and an intrinsic value. Silver has been an ever scarce metal.

Silver coins in popular culture

A silver coin or coins sometimes are placed under the mast
Mast (sailing)
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...

 or in the keel
In boats and ships, keel can refer to either of two parts: a structural element, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event...

 of a ship as a good luck charm
Good Luck Charm
"Good Luck Charm" is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley's publishing company, that reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in the week ending April 21, 1962. It remained at the top of the list for two weeks. The song was written by Aaron Schroeder...

. This tradition probably originated with the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

. The tradition continues in modern times, for example, officers of USS New Orleans
USS New Orleans (CA-32)
USS New Orleans was a United States Navy heavy cruiser, the lead ship of her class. The New Orleans-class represented the last of the Treaty Cruisers, built to the specifications and standards of the Washington Naval Treaty. Originally, was the lead ship of this class...

 placed 33 coins heads
Obverse and reverse
Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags , seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, obverse means the front face of the object and reverse...

 up under her foremast and mainmast before she was launched
Ship naming and launching
The ceremonies involved in naming and launching naval ships are based in traditions thousands of years old.-Methods of launch:There are three principal methods of conveying a new ship from building site to water, only two of which are called "launching." The oldest, most familiar, and most widely...

 in 1933 and USS Higgins
USS Higgins (DDG-76)
USS Higgins is a Flight I Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was commissioned in 1999 and named after William R...

, commissioned in 1999, had 11 coins specially selected for her mast stepping.

See also

  • Euro gold and silver commemorative coins
    Euro gold and silver commemorative coins
    This article covers the gold and silver issues of the euro commemorative coins . It also includes some rare cases of bimetal collector coins . See :€2 commemorative coins for circulating commemorative coins....

  • Gold coin
    Gold coin
    A gold coin is a coin made mostly or entirely of gold. Gold has been used for coins practically since the invention of coinage, originally because of gold's intrinsic value...

  • Millesimal fineness
    Millesimal fineness
    Millesimal fineness is a system of denoting the purity of platinum, gold and silver alloys by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy. For example, an alloy containing 75% gold is denoted as "750". Many European countries use decimal hallmark stamps Millesimal fineness is a system of...

  • Precious metal
    Precious metal
    A precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements, have high lustre, are softer or more ductile, and have higher melting points than other metals...

  • Silver
    Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

  • Silver as an investment
    Silver as an investment
    Silver, like other precious metals, may be used as an investment. For more than four thousand years, silver has been regarded as a form of money and store of value. However, since the end of the silver standard, silver has lost its role as legal tender in many developed countries such as the...

  • Store of value
    Store of value
    A recognized form of exchange can be a form of money or currency, a commodity like gold, or financial capital. To act as a store of value, these forms must be able to be saved and retrieved at a later time, and be predictably useful when retrieved....

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.