How and when electrum was first used as coinage

Cyzicus Electrum Stater 'Winged Stag'

Some 600 years before Christ was born mankind started using electrum as a form of payment. This was in exchange for good and services. Ancient man found electrum in riverbeds. They were in nugget form, but it wasn’t long before the very first coins were produced. This is how and when electrum was first used as coinage.

These earliest coins known in the ancient world were created from this naturally occurring alloy called electrum, as a result of a mixture of gold and silver. It also often found containing other trace elements like platinum, copper and other metals. These alloys give off a shiny property that easily catches the rays of the sun. A variety of colors could be found to range from pale yellows to bright greens. Occasionally, even a brassy-color due to higher copper content could be seen.

Electrum from Cyzicus Mysia

These new electrum coins were first seen in parts of ancient Greece like Cyzicus, Mysia. This was an ancient town in Anatolia, which is currently the Balıkesir Province of Turkey. Shortly after the invention of coinage as currency Mysia citizens started seeing animals on the coins. These were the first coins to depict an actual animal on it.

The Cyzicus Electrum Stater dates back to around 550 BC and depicts a winged horse on the front. The back had a geometric incuse punch on it. This is where the person, who hand minted the coin, pounded the electrum into the desired shape. Below is a video of such a coin in Choice Fine 5×4 condition. It is certified by NGC Ancients and is available for sale at Austin Rare Coins.

Austin Rare Coins is a premier ancient coin dealer in the United States. To find out more about this coin or others like it call them at 1-800-928-6468. An Ancient Coin Advisor will be happy to explain more about how and when electrum was first used as coinage. They can also assist you with all your ancient coin questions.