What Were Coins Used for in Ancient Times?

Coins have been around for thousands of years and have played a vital role in the development of human civilization. They were used as a form of currency, a way to store wealth and trade goods. In this article, we’ll take a look at what coins were used for in ancient times.

History of Coins

Coins were first developed in ancient Lydia, which is now part of modern-day Turkey, around 600 BCE. These coins were made from electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver. They were stamped with images that represented their value and the issuing authority.

Trade and Commerce

One of the primary uses of coins in ancient times was for trade and commerce. Coins allowed people to buy goods and services without having to barter or trade other items. The use of coins also enabled merchants to sell their wares over long distances without having to worry about the exchange rates or values of different goods.

Payment for Services

Coins were also used as payment for services rendered in ancient times. For example, soldiers would receive coins as payment for their service, and workers would be paid in coins for their labor. This allowed people to accumulate wealth that could be used to purchase goods or services at a later time.

Political Propaganda

Coins were often used by rulers as a way to spread propaganda or promote their political agenda. Images on coins would often depict the ruler or symbols associated with their reign. This helped to reinforce the ruler’s power and legitimacy.

Religious Offerings

In some cultures, coins were used as religious offerings. For example, ancient Greeks would leave coins at temples as a way to honor the gods or ask for their blessings. In other cultures, such as ancient Rome, people would place coins on the eyes of the deceased before burial as payment for passage to the afterlife.


Coins have played a significant role in human civilization for thousands of years. They were used for trade and commerce, payment for services, political propaganda, and religious offerings.

Today, coins continue to be used as a form of currency and a way to store wealth. Their importance in shaping our world cannot be understated.