Why Have Gold and Silver Been Used for Coins?

From ancient times, when coins were first issued, right up until our era, gold and silver were the usual metals used for coins, and for good reasons.

First of all, gold and silver were valuable even before they were used in coins because of their beauty and their use in jewelry and religious decoration. Second, gold and silver will never corrode or rust like some other metals. And third, the supply of gold and silver was always small enough so that the metals remained valuable because of their rarity.

Paper money originally represented a certain amount of gold or silver. But today, you can’t turn in your paper money to the government in exchange for gold.

Paper bills are accepted as money because everyone knows that they will be accepted as money by other people. Coins, too, are only symbols of a certain amount of money. A quarter, for example, does not contain 25 cents worth of metal.

The ancient Romans stored their gold and silver reserves in the temple of a goddess named Juno Moneta. Her name later gave birth to the word “money”!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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