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URL: https://coinhistory.info/world/

This document is an attempt to bring various published sources together to present a timeline about World Coins.

References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

900 BCE (approximate)

  • Chi-mo state of ancient China creates first government issued coin, in form of bronze miniature knife called a tao. [580.28]

About 650 BCE

  • First coins are struck by mallett on die, in the kingdom of Lydia in the western part of Asia Minor (western Turkey). [474.166] [583.22] [594.50] [1037.1934]

460 BCE (approximately)

  • Persians begin using human portraits on coins. [388.94]

305 BCE

  • Ptolomy proclaims himself king of Egypt, and begins custom of placing his own portrait on his coins. [1035.1578]

About 269 BCE

  • First coins struck in Rome, of copper. [501.144]

211 BCE

  • Rome switches method of coin production from cast to striking, and replaces the quadrigatus with the first silver denarius coin. [589.204]

125 BCE (approximate)

  • First coins struck in England, Belgic gold and silver coins, by immigrants from Gaul (France), copying designs of Macedonia. [623.42]

January 44 BCE

  • Roman Republic emperor Julius Caesar has his portrait used on coins struck at the mint in Rome. [388.96]

119

  • (approximate date) Rome strikes coins commemorating Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Britain depicting “Britannia” as the goddess of the island of Britain for the first time. [589.184]

988

  • Prince Vladimir I of Kiev strikes first known Russian gold and silver coins. [1030.1060]

1252

  • The Republic of Florence begins striking gold florin coins. [309.xiv] [690.54]

1257

August 16

  • King Henry III of England commands the public to accept a new 20-pence gold coin, about 3 grams of pure gold. [309.xiv] [690.54]

1284

October 31

  • The Venetian Council of Forty approves the gold ducat, the origin of the ducat coin. [390.29]

1344

January

  • England first mints the gold florin, 108 grains weight, valued at 6 shillings. Also minted are 1/2 and 1/4 florin gold coins. [309.xiv]
(month unknown)

  • England first mints the gold noble coin, 136.7 grains weight, valued at 6 shillings 8 pence. Also minted are 1/2 and 1/4 florin gold coins. [309.xiv]

1360

December 5

  • In Compiègne, King Jean II the Good of France signs a decree creating the franc gold coin to pay a ransom of 200,000 livres for his release from England. [547.38] [568.208]

    1365

    January 10

    • Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV assigns gold and silver mines and rights of coinage to princes and electors of the empire. [470.32]

    1366

    June 12

    • Children at Touvres, France, discover a hoard of about 4 million coins. [434.46]

    1465

    • England replaces the gold noble coin with the gold angel, 80 grains weight, worth 6 shillings 8 pence, and the ryal, worth 10 shillings. Also minted are 1/2 and 1/4 denominations. [309.1]

    1481

    • King Ferdinand begins striking excelente gold coins in Valencia. The coins are 0.9896 fine gold, struck in multiples of 3.5 grams: 1, 2, 4, 10, 20, 50 excellente denominations. The coins depict crowned profiles of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. [1060.1387]

    1489

    October 28

    • In England, King Henry VII orders the mint to begin coining gold bullion in new coin called a sovereign, 240 grains weight, 23 carats + 3.5 grains, valued at 20 shillings. [309.2] [1040.392]

    1493

    • King Ferdinand begins striking principat gold coins in Catalonia, with same specifications as the excellente struck in Valencia. [1060.1397]

    1497

    June 13

    • King Fernando of Spain decrees that silver coins called reales be struck. [504.50]
    July 13

    • Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain instruct Christopher Columbus to found a mint and strike coins in the New World. [669.49]

    1505

    December 20

    • Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza authorizes copper maravedies be struck for the island of Santo Domingo. [566.24]

    1520

    January

    • Count Stephen of Schlick, in valley of Saint Joachim in Bohemia, is granted by the Czech Assembly a minting privilege. He begins producing silver coins from the silver ore of the Bohemian slopes of the Ore Mountains. The Joachimsthaler gulden coin weighs about 29 grams. (The name is soon shortened to thaler and taler, and the name is later used for Spanish and American dollar.) [576.33] [661.69]

    1535

    May 11

    • Queen Juana of Spain signs a decree establishing a mint in New Spain. [669.49] [1042.723]

    1536

    • The Mexico City Mint, first mint to produce coins in the New World, begins striking silver coins. [434.126]
    November 3

    • Royal Spanish decree approves the Santo Domingo Mint. [541.36]

    1541

    • Danish monarchy converts a Poor Clare nun’s monastery into a coin mint. [998.19]

    1542

    May 16

    • In England, the sovereign coin is reduced in weight to 200 grains, with fineness at 23 carats gold, 1 carat alloy. Coins are minted but stored by the King for later release. [309.7]

    1544

    May 16

    • In England, about 70,000 pounds sterling of new reduced-weight gold sovereigns are officially released to circulation. [309.7]

    1545

    March 27

    • In England, the sovereign coin is further reduced in weight to 192 grains, and reduced in fineness to 22 carats gold. [309.8]

    1546

    April 1

    • In England, the sovereign coin is further reduced in fineness to 20 carats gold. [309.9]

    1549

    January

    • In England, the sovereign coin is further reduced in weight to 169 7/17 grains, but increased in fineness back to 22 carats gold. [309.11]

    1551

    October 5

    • In England, the Tower Mint is instructed to mint two types of sovereign coins. One is 240 grains weight, 23 carats + 3.5 grains fine gold, valued at 30 shillings. The other is 174 6/11 grains weight, 22 carats gold valued at 20 shillings. These are England’s first crown-sized coins. [309.12] [576.33] [1040.394]

    1560

    February 19

    • Queen Elizabeth recalls base money in circulation. [783.46]

    1575

    May 31

    • French King Henri III creates new silver coin of 20 sols tournois, the “franc d’argent”. [428.42]

    1586

    • Netherlands changes the gold ducat to be 0.986 fineness and 3.51 grams in weight. [794.142]

    1600

    • Iyeyasu Tokugawa introduces unified system of coinage of Japan. [1065.1533]

    1601

    July 29

    • In England, the gold sovereign is reduced to 171 63/67 grains weight. [309.20]

    1603

    May 21

    • Gold sovereigns of Kingdoms of England and Scotland are minted, with 171 63/67 grains weight, and valued at 20 shillings. [309.21]

    1604

    November 11

    • In England and Scotland, a new name for the gold sovereign is created, the “unite”, struck in 22-karat gold, with weight 154 26/31 grains. [309.21]

    1605

    July 16

    • In England and Scotland, a new name for the 30-shilling gold sovereign is created, the “rose ryal”, struck in 23-karat + 3.5 grain gold, with weight 213 1/3 grains. [309.22]

    1611

    November 23

    • In England and Scotland, a proclamation is made to increase the nominal value of all gold coins by 10 percent. The unite is now valued at 22 shillings, and the rose ryal at 33 shillings. [309.23]

    1613

    May 19

    • King James issues a proclamation granting John Harrington a royal patent to produce copper farthing tokens for use throughout the realm, and prohibiting private token coinage. [412.84] [627.36]

    1619

    July 31

    • In England and Scotland, the gold unite coin is changed to 20 shillings value, 140 20/41 grains weight, 22 carats fineness. The rose ryal is revalued at 30 shillings, 196 4/11 grains weight, 23 carat + 3.5 grains fineness. [309.25]

    1623

    • A new Danish coin mint facility is built in Copenhagen. [998.19]

    1626

    August 14

    • In England, gold and silver coins are minted in reduced weight for a few weeks, then cancelled. [309.28]
    November 8

    • In England, minting of coin resumes at weight specifications prior to August 14, with gold angel coins valued at 10 shillings, and unite coins at 20 shillings. [309.29]

    1642

    December 23

    • King Philip IV of Spain decrees a 20 percent debasement of silver coins to pay for military expeditions. [464.44] [566.24] [608.24]

    1649

    July 27

    • English mint begins striking new gold coins of the Commonwealth of England. The 20 shilling coin is 140 20/41 grains weight, 22-karat fineness. [309.41]

    1652

    May 27

    • Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court issues an edict authorizing production of silver coins, in denominations 1 shilling, sixpence, and threepence. The shilling is 72 grains, 0.925 fine, 22.5 percent lighter than English shilling. [413.88] [679.97] [1065.1548]
    June 11

    • Massachusetts colony authorizes coins be struck for the colony. (Coins are struck sometime after this date, the first English colony on America to do so.) [679.101]

    1659

    August 11

    • United Netherlands introduces silver ducat coin. [1056.471]

    1660

    January 20

    • By a Crown proclamation, English coins are set to circulate in England and Ireland at par. [685.24]
    November

    • In England, new gold coins are struck depicting King Charles II. The 20 shilling coin is 140 20/41 grains weight, 22-karat fineness. [309.45]

    1662

    March

    • English gold coins are first made by screw press, about 3360 pieces of 20-shilling gold unite coins. [309.48]

    1663

    February 6

    • The first English gold guinea is coined. [476.72]
    December

    • In England, gold coins are first regularly struck by machine press. The 20-shilling piece is 129 39/89 grains, 22-karat fine, with a little elephant in the design to denote origin of the gold in Africa. These coins become known as the “guinea”. [309.49]

    1670

    February 19

    • A French royal edict of King Louis XIV proclaims 2-, 5-, and 15-sol copper coins struck at the Paris Mint are authorized to circulate in New France. [479.28] [601.58]

    1672

    August 1

    • King Charles II demonetizes copper tokens and announces copper farthings and halfpence will be minted. [459.64]

    1675

    February 25

    • King Charles II of Spain grants authority for the Mexico City Mint to strike gold coins. [434.126] (February 23 [1042.723])

    1679

    February 21

    • The Privy Council of England authorizes construction of a mint in Jamaica, for coins to adhere to British standards. [602.34]
    June 24

    • By the Act of Tynwald, Saint Patrick copper coins on the Isle of Man are demonitized. [506.40]
    December 23

    • The Mexico City Mint begins striking first gold coins of the New World. [434.126]

    1681

    October 21

    • English King Charles II instructs Massachusetts General Court to desist minting coins. [539.42]

    1694

    April 17

    • A British Act stops production of tin coins, and sets exchange for new copper coins. [400.56] [487.34]

    1696

    March 19

    • Isaac Newton is appointed warden of the Royal Mint in England. [789.48]
    May 4

    • Hammered silver coins in England are officially demonetized. [492.32] [621.58]

    1699

    December 25

    • Isaac Newton transfers from being warden to master of the Royal Mint. [464.44]

    1704

    • Russian Tsar Peter I introduces silver rouble coin, equal to 100 silver kopecks, and re-introduces copper kopeck coin. [1053.63]

    1710

    August 4

    • Edinburgh Mint in Scotland closes. [465.62]

    1711

    October 7

    • British frigate HMS Feversham sinks off Nova Scotia with coinage worth 2240 pounds sterling. [442.91] [525.44]

    1717

    December 22

    • English Proclamation reduces value of guinea gold coin from 21 shillings 6 pence to 21 shillings, fixing the coin’s value at that, and officially recognizing the name “guinea”. [309.64]

    1720

    June 1

    • London restores 0.925 fine silver as sterling coinage standard, after 23 years of the Britannia 0.958 standard. [428.42] [638.32]

    1722

    June 16

    • King George I authorizes William Wood to produce up to 360 tons of halfpence and farthing coins for Ireland over the next 14 years. [414.56] [439.38] (July 12 [575.9])

    1733

    February 21

    • English Proclamation forbids circulation of gold coins of James I, Charles I, and Charles II, due to their worn and reduced condition. [309.66]

    1745

    December 31

    • A Russian government decree mandates the redemption of coins of Ivan VI for other coins of equal value, with possession of coins of Ivan VI after June 1745 illegal. [1074.18]

    1771

    March 18

    • Spain issues a secret order reducing the coinage silver standard from 0.91666 fine to 0.90277 fine. [1113.150]

    1782

    February 21

    • US congress authorizes the establishment of a US mint. [1] [770.92]

    1785

    July 6

    • The dollar (and decimal coinage) is unanimously chosen by the Continental Congress as the monetary unit for the United States. The US is the first nation to adopt a decimal money system. [1] [5] [417.56] [450.46] [512.36] [584.9] [677.28] [1042.722]
    October 20

    • The Connecticut General Court authorizes coining up to 10,000 pounds of copper coins with an emblem of Liberty. [445.60]

    1786

    August 8

    • The American Continental Congress defines a silver dollar containing 375.64 grains of silver as the nation’s unit of account. [388.188] [427.67] [910.44]
    October 16

    • Continental Congress authorizes coinage system of gold piece valued at $10, silver piece at $1, tenth dollar in silver, and copper penny. [538.34] [553.36] [703.44]
    October 17

    • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts authorizes a mint for striking gold, silver, and copper coinage. [450.70]

    1788

    December 24

    • King Charles IV of Spain issues an edict allowing colonial mints in the Americas to continue using coinage dies bearing portrait of Charles III, but changing name to Charles IV, due to difficulties in producing and transporting dies to the New World. [464.44]

    1791

    March 3

    • Congressional joint resolution authorizes a US mint. [794.42]

    1792

    April 2

    • US President George Washington signs the Coinage Act, establishing the US Mint, and authorizes $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle and $2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins and dollar, half dollar, quarter dollar, dime and half-dime silver coins. Coins of gold and silver are legal tender, but base metal coins, such as copper, are not. [1] [5] [303.69] [397.52] [474.160] [485.38] [1042.722]

    1793

    February 1

    • King George III of England authorizes Matthew Boulton to strike copper coins for Bermuda. [772.52]

    1794

    December 1

    • The US Mint releases first half dollar coins into circulation. [547.38]

    1795

    April 26

    • The French Convention annuls a decree forbidding trading in gold and silver. [401.36]
    August 15

    • French Convention creates new decimal monetary unit, the “franc”, divided in 10 parts. [430.68] [474.30] [518.70] [1042.721]

    1797

    June 19

    • The Soho Mint in England begins minting copper coins. [414.56]
    July 26

    • The Soho Mint in Birmingham makes its first delivery of government-authorized pence and twopence copper coins for circulation in England. [495.94]
    October 15

    • Foreign silver coins except Spanish milled dollars cease to be legal tender in the USA. [443.68]

    1798

    February 26

    • British Order in Council directs Bank of England to suspend specie payments (gold, silver) until further notice. [309.73] [602.34] [705.36]
    start-1801 1802-1929 1930-1984 1985-2007 2008-2009 2010-end

     

    A list of references to all source material is available.Other web pages of interest: