Story a day: 4.11.16

The History of Modern Coinage

by Caren Alenna

1839 (Standard)

 

I. Introduction

The pastime of “coinage,” as it is so-called, is a relatively new one. Still, I hope its devoted adherents will not think me too bold if I attempt, even at this beginning stage in our exploration of the topic, to look back some on the origins of “Coinage” (in the literal sense) and “coinage” (by its modern definition).

Readers will note that I use Coinage, with a differentiated first syllable, to mean the historical study, and coinage, with a more common spelling, to mean the recreational art. It is the historian’s opinion that such a distinction not only makes matters clearer for her readers, but also shows a needful, though not excessive, amount of deference for the long story of Coinage.

A further note on history: Readers may note that while claiming to be a student of history, the historian begins her account very near to the year 0 by the Standard accounting of linear time. It is this historian’s belief that even a thorough accounting of the history of Coinage need only go back this far. The beginning of the Age was, in truth, the beginning of Coinage as we understand it today. Some little time will be spent discussing other forms of trade occurring in pre-historical periods, but as such discussions deal little with modern coinage, I did not deem it necessary to spend more than a few words on such matters.

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