What are coins

coin

Coins are a form of money. They are mostly round, thin slices of metal. It used to be a matter of metal how much the coin was worth: The most expensive were made of gold or silver, for example. Less valuable coins were made of copper or other metals.

There are certain banks, the central banks. They ensure that a country or a group of countries has a currency. So that people can pay for something, there is money in the form of coins and banknotes. Germans and Austrians, for example, have the euro. It has existed as money since 1999. However, coins were only available about three years later, starting in 2002.

Every coin has an embossing. In the past, the pattern was stamped in with a metal stamp and a hammer. Today this is done with large presses so that every piece looks exactly the same. The coinage today always contains the country (or the community of countries), the value and the year of manufacture.

Are the coins still made of real gold and silver today?

Today there are only old coins or special collectibles made of gold and silver. These two precious metals suddenly became much more expensive around 1967. Smart people then found out that, for example, the Swiss one and two-franc coins can be melted down. The melted silver could then be sold more expensively than the original coin. That is why the state immediately changed the silver coins.

Another example are the two Swiss gold vreneli: on the front they are written with 10 or 20 francs. However, if you want to buy them today, they cost more than ten times as much. So the material is worth more than what the embossing says.

For these reasons, the coins are no longer made of precious metal. If today's coin looks almost like silver, it is made of cupronickel. This is an alloy of a lot of copper and a little nickel. If it looks like gold, there is more copper in it, but fewer other metals. This creates the golden color.

So that coins can be forged less easily, they are now partly made of two different metals. They are called bimetal coins. Their manufacture requires complex technology: the core and the ring are manufactured separately and placed one inside the other. During the embossing, they are then connected to one another by the high pressing force. The one and two euro coins are made this way.

The red-brown one to ten cent coins are made of copper with a metal core. With the one and two cent coins it is exactly the opposite of that with the gold and silver coins. They are more expensive to manufacture than their value. There are therefore efforts to abolish these coins. Switzerland abolished its one and two centimes coins back in 2007. They are only of value to collectors.

What do old coins tell us?

Coins have been around for more than 2000 years. They have always changed over the centuries. Today we know from which time almost every coin originated. So if archaeologists find old objects and there are coins nearby, they can easily estimate the period from which the objects originate.

Some people collect coins. Old pieces can be very expensive, especially when there aren't many of them left. Ships with huge loads of coins sometimes went down in the past. Treasure hunters have already found some of these ships with their coin treasures.


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