The practice of using coins as a medium of trade began during the Iron Age in the 7th and 6th Centuries BC, in Greece, Anatolia, India and China. Coins proved to be an efficient vehicle of exchange not only locally, but between different areas, since the coins were small and contained intrinsic value due to their composition of silver and gold. Trade obviously existed for millennia before the practice of stamping an image on a piece of metal, but once the concept of the Lydians began to spread, coins began being used extensively throughout Europe and Asia and their weight and denominations developed into standardized systems. This was originated in Ancient coins.
The Lydians are credited with the earliest coins, which were minted on round to oblong forms of electrum – a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. The electrum was refined and alloyed with more silver and copper. One side depicted an animal and the other an incuse punch of varying designs and sometimes the celator added a name of a king on the die. Other Greeks would follow shortly thereafter, with the Ionians expanding into gods and even humans on one side, while the Athenians were minting archaic pieces showing Athena and an owl and adding their ethnic on the reverse, and the Persians, under Darius I, were creating ancient works of art showing their ruler.
Here are some of the amazing examples of the earliest known coins we have for sale at VCoins: