This week I am featuring two one-quarter ounce .999 silver pieces which I picked up a few weeks ago in my local area. They are dated "600BC - 2009AD", a reference to the ancient Greek coinage that was made in Lydia, an area in western Asia Minor (now Turkey). The wikipedia entry on Lydia states:
"According to Herodotus, the Lydians were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coin and the first to establish retail shops in permanent locations. It's not clear, however, whether Herodotus meant that the Lydians were the first to introduce coins of pure gold and pure silver or the first precious metal coins in general. Despite this ambiguity, this statement of Herodotus is one of the pieces of evidence often cited in behalf of the argument that Lydians invented coinage, at least in the West, even though the first coins were neither gold nor silver but an alloy of the two.
The dating of these first stamped coins is one of the most frequently debated topics in ancient numismatics, with dates ranging from 700 BC to 550 BC, but the most commonly held view is that they were minted at or near the beginning of the reign of King Alyattes (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Alyattes II), who ruled Lydia c. 610-550 BC."
These are interesting little bullion pieces, but I wouldn't pay much over spot for them so personally I wouldn't pay their retail price of about $4/oz over spot (.99 cents per coin, when you buy 100), but if I find more on the secondary market I might grab them. If it sounds like a deal to you, though, here is the website: http://www.lydianmint.com/index.html
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