We all regularly use metal money — coins. Now the production of such money does not cause difficulties for the state, but earlier it was a huge job. To make one minted coin, one had to spend a lot of time and effort. But who and how came up with the idea to mint money?
Why is the coin called «minted»
The phrase «minted coin» appeared because of the way these coins were created.
Chasing is the process of knocking out any images, patterns, symbols and drawings on a metal product. Without drawings, the coin would be easy to counterfeit. For coinage, manufacturers of banknotes in the old days used special stamps. The image on such stamps was located in a mirror image, so that when the die was lowered onto the metal, it was transferred to the coin in the correct angle.
In the modern world, the minting process has improved. On coins, patterns and state symbols are no longer minted by special people, but by large automated machines with built-in stamps called punches.
Where did coins come from and how were they made?
Who even came up with the idea to beat out images on money? And where did the first coins come from?
It turns out that metal money is a very ancient phenomenon! They originated in the state of Lydia. Turkey is now in its place. Of course, the coins in Lydia were by no means as round and neat as they are now.
In the 6th century BC, the technology of minting was just beginning to develop, therefore it was a very complex, multi-stage and costly process.
Already prepared pieces of metal were brought to the chaser. They were all the same weight, and were created by cooling a drop of tin or brass on a cold flat surface. To mint a coin, it was necessary to use special stamps made of metal — this was the only way to “squeeze out” the pattern on the workpiece.
Because the dies themselves were bronze (which is a fairly soft metal), they often fell into disrepair in a very short time. The craftsmen had to constantly update the stamps, and the new drawing did not always match the details of the previous one. However, this state of affairs did not bother anyone. The fact is that the minting of coins, although it was a difficult matter, but it made it possible to avoid the appearance of counterfeiters. The minted money could not be counterfeited!
When the chaser heated the workpiece, he immediately placed it on the lower stamp, and applied the upper one on top and hit hard with a hammer. It turned out that the image was transferred to both sides at once.
The history of the appearance of minted coins
Initially, the drawings on minted coins were not difficult. These were three-dimensional images of the sun, stars, or various geometric patterns.
Gradually, as technology developed, stamp production underwent changes. On the sides of minted coins, letters began to appear, complex images with flowers, patterned twigs, and even animals.
Also, over time, chasers began to pay attention not only to the coin sides, but also to the side edges. Often the coins were cut to a round or square base. And in some countries (for example, in Japan) it has become customary to mint coins with a hole inside so that money can be strung on a string and carried with you. By the way, such a coin is considered a lucky talisman 🙂
The heyday of the existence of minted coins can be called the time of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. In these states, coins were not only a resource for buying and selling, but also a real indicator of power, might, and status. Therefore, images of emperors, generals and even inspiring catchphrases and expressions were minted on them.
Minted coins in Russia
And where did minted coins come from in Russia? The first arose under Prince Vladimir the Great. They used the bases of real silver sheets, cut into pieces: they were flattened in the same way between the stamps with a large sledgehammer. However, the finished coins were so small and uneven that the people called them «scales». They really vaguely resembled fish scales.
Initially, the coins were minted by special masters who were hired by the state: the prince himself gave his permission for this. Much later, starting from the end of the 6th century, the state began to create its own mints.
Those minted coins that we use now appeared only under Emperor Peter I. To create even, round coins with the symbols of the Russian Empire, manual labor was used, and in the middle of the 19th century a steam press appeared.
As mentioned above, modern embossing machines are fully automated. They are so technologically advanced and fast that they make up to 700 coins per minute!