Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Invention of Coining. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
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The Invention of Coining. - William Stanley Jevons, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange 
Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1876).
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The Invention of Coining.
The date of the invention of coining can be assigned with some degree of probability. Coined money was clearly unknown in the Homeric times, and it was known in the time of Lycurgus. We might therefore assume, with various authorities, that it was invented in the mean time, or about 900 B.C. There is a tradition, moreover, that Pheidon, King of Argos, first struck silver money in the island of Ægina about 895 B.C., and the tradition is supported by the existence of small stamped ingots of silver, which have been found in Ægina. Later inquiries, however, lead to the conclusion that Pheidon lived in the middle of the eighth century B.C., and Grote has shown good reasons for believing that what he did accomplish was done in Argos, and not in Ægina.
The mode in which the invention happened is sufficiently evident. Seals were familiarly employed in very early times, as we learn from the Egyptian paintings or the stamped bricks of Nineveh. Being employed to signify possession, or to ratify contracts, they came to indicate authority. When a ruler first undertook to certify the weights of pieces of metal, he naturally employed his seal to make the fact known, just as, at Goldsmiths' Hall, a small punch is used to certify the fineness of plate. In the earliest forms of coinage there were no attempts at so fashioning the metal that its weight could not be altered without destroying the stamp or design. The earliest coins struck, both in Lydia and in the Peloponnesus, were stamped on one side only. The Persian money, called the larin, consists of a round silver wire, about six centimetres long, bent in two, and stamped on one part which is flattened for the purpose. It is probably a relic of ring money. The present circulation of China is composed to a considerable extent of the so-called Sycee silver, which consists of small shoeshaped ingots, assayed and stamped, according to some accounts, by the government.