In medieval times, the gold dinars (a term derived from the Roman denarius) of the early caliphs and the gold ducats of Florence and Venice played a similar role—as did the silver dollars of Mexico, the of Austria, and the gold sovereigns of Great Britain in modern times.
Moreover, the study of depreciation and debasement of coinage may illuminate past national financial distress.
The foregoing metals furnished most currencies until the early 20th century, when the appreciation in value of gold and silver and the need to economize led to the general production of In both the East and the West, coinage proper was preceded by more primitive currencies, nonmonetary or semi-monetary, which survived into the historic age of true coins, and may have derived originally from the (prehistoric tools resembling chisels) and bronze rings frequently found in hoards in western Europe probably played a monetary role.
Even in modern times such mediums of exchange as fishhook currency have been known., gold rings long served the dual purposes of adornment and currency, supplemented by gold and silver bars from which segments could be cut.
Their intrinsic value fluctuated according to their gold and silver content; but the weight of the unit was fairly steady at about seven to eight grams, and the types stamped on them were the guarantee of authority.
Croesus’ relations with Greece were close, and his bimetallic system may have owed something to the fact that Greece had itself now produced its first silver coins.
Likewise, huge finds of Arab silver coins in Scandinavia show the extent of trade, in particular the demand for furs by the ʿAbbāsid caliphs and the Sāmānid rulers of Iran.
Croesus’ earliest coins were of electrum, which the Greeks called “white gold.” They were stamped on one side with the facing heads of a lion and a bull; this type was later transferred to his bimetallic series of pure gold and pure silver.