Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Ancient Coins Were Made

ancient coin process
A typical coin production process from the ancient world.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ancient Roman Coins

It's well known that the Roman Empire was very advanced for its time. One of the many ways we can see this is in their monetary system. The Roman system started off in the middle third century BC and continued on to the middle third century AD. The main values were the gold coins known as aureus, the silver coins called the denarius, bronze coins called sestertius as well as dupondius, and the copper coins referred to as the As.

The Roman coins were different because they carried intrinsic value. While all were made from precious metal, they were worth more then their metal content. It's hard for archeologist to know the exact value of these coins, but they have come up with some estimates of what they were. For example: the denarius is estimated to be from 1.6 to 2.85 times its metal content value. This comes to about $13 US during the early years of the Roman Empire and increased to around $25 US by the end.

As the Roman Empire progressed, there was a split in authority for minting coins of certain metals. The silver and gold coins were only permitted to be struck in Rome itself while the bronze and copper coins could be minted by local authorities. Dio Cassius once wrote, “None of the cities should be allowed to have its own separate coinage or a system of weights and measures; they should all be required to use ares.” This is interesting, as that is the exact system we use today.

Roman imagery on their coinage fell the the committee of tresviri monetales (trio of money men), typically these were statesmen who were striving to become a senator. In the early years, symbols and other control marks were used to dictated who was responsible for coming up with the coins image. In later years, the Roman Empire changed its process and began using images of the current emperor designed to show their power and authority.

Many aspects of the Roman Coin system we have discovered from the past can be seen in our own silver coins today. To this day we still use the image of our great leaders on our coinage and intrinsic value is common in most modern coin system. Of course, this is just one area where the Romans have proven to be far more advanced then other cultures of the era.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Silver Tetradrachm of Alexander the Great, 336-323 BCE

alexander silver coin
The reverse coin depicts Zeus enthroned, holding a scepter and an eagle reflecting the cult statue sculpted by Pheidias in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia and race torch at left.

Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum. Credits: Barbara McManus, 2006

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Silver Bars the Best Investment

How does one make a bullion silver bar? It has to undergo two processes known as extrusion and pouring. For the extrusion silver is melted and forced into a mold or a die and allowed to cool to get the desired shape. The end product is extremely good to look at and the best investment for the stock market.

With the rising prices of precious metals like gold and silver it is the best and the right moment to invest in silver, especially in the stock market trade. Investing in silver is a unique and rare opportunity to obtain reliable returns on one’s investment.

Silver Bars’ weights

If one is question which is the most economic and versatile piece of metal, it is none other than the silver bar. It is uniform in size, purity and quality as well. Owing to these exclusive factors silver bars are very easy for sale and the bullion bars for trade and investment.
The weight of a silver bar varies in its denomination starting from 100 ounces weighing less than seven pounds. Since its size is uniform it is easy to store and stack anywhere for later use, hence it becomes the most desirable unit for investors in this trade.

Unlike silver coins, silver bars are unique

Silver coins have a higher premium and are priced normally above their spot price. There are possibilities of scarcity according to its availability in the market. But silver bars have low premiums but are beneficial to investors because of their market value that does not actually depend on scarcity or demand among the people trading in it.

The best brand of silver bars

Though there are different brands of bullion silver bars Johnson Matthey bars are the most sought after because of its outstanding quality. It is not easy to attain these bars since they are rarely seen in the market. Next to this are the Engelhard bullion silver bars that have gained popularity since the 1980s. Like Johnson Matthey silver bars, Engelhard bars are also scarce in the market and find a place only when the rate is high.

Silver bars make the best investment today not only for trade but also for the stock market that pays much attention to the quality and brand of silver bullion bars. The composition and the making of a single silver bar add to its high quality and value in the market. Similarly the variety and the size of silver bars invariably add to their increase in investment options and popularity today and in the years to come.