A short History of Silver as Coins and Currencies

stack of coins

With the emergence of everything “new” in todays world and especially financial markets such as ever evolving online banking technolgy, the credit crunch, instant forex spreads, and bitcoin, cryptosource and everything else, we thought it would be a good idea to go back to the historic fundamentals of gold and silver. This article is about a short history of silver as a currency and store of value.

Silver has long been valued as a precious metal, and it is used to make ornaments, jewelry, high-value tableware, silverware, and currency coins. Today, silver metal is also used in electrical contacts and conductors, in mirrors and in catalysis of chemical reactions.

Silver, in the form of a gold-silver alloy (electrum), was coined to produce money in around 700 BC by the Lydians. Later, silver was refined and coined in its pure form. Many nations used silver as the basic unit of monetary value.

The major producers of silver include the United States, Mexico, Canada, Peru, Russia and Australia.

old silver bars

A Short History of Silver

-3000 BC The first major silver mines were founded in Anatolia, modern day Turkey.

-475 BC China was the first country to monetize silver.

-1st Century AD Roman discoveries allowed Spain to become a major silver producer.

-775 AD British Pounds Sterling: in approximately 775 AD the Saxon kingdoms issued silver coins known as “sterlings”, 240 of them being minted out of one pound of silver. Large payments were reckoned in “pounds of sterling” later shortened to “pounds sterling”.

-1072 After the Norman Conquest the pound was divided for simplicity of accounting into 20 shillings and 240 pence or pennies.

-1497 Spanish “Pieces of Eight” were coins first struck in 1497 containing a high silver purity and weight. They were the basis of the monetary system of the Spanish Empire and were widely circulated around the world. They were accepted as legal tender in the US until 1857.

-Early 1500s After Columbus’ New World expeditions, the discovery of huge, frolic silver deposits in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia changed the focus of silver mining and enriched the Spanish Empire for 300 years.

-1500-1875 Approximately 1.5 billion ounces mined in Mexico with the majority produced during the 1700’s.

-1700s The backbone of the Spanish Empire was the one billion ounces of silver produced
from La Veta Madre (The Mother Vein) in Guanajuato Mexico (Endeavour Silver has mines hosted in the Veta Madre) .

-1800s By the mid 1800s China, through trade and mercantilism, was in possession of 50% of the worlds above ground silver. The British sold opium to China in exchange for tea, silk and silver
– a factor in the Opium Wars between the British and China during the mid-1800s.

-1857 Silver mining became an important industry in the State of Nevada when the fabled Comstock Lode was discovered.

-1859-1877 Comstock yielded silver and gold with a value approaching $400 million, the equivalent of more than $500 billion today.

-1900-1920 50 per cent expansion in global production to about 190 million troy ounces annually spurred by discoveries in several countries including Canada, the United States and Mexico.

-1930s Silver was used as China’s ocial currency until the 1930s.

-1930s–Present Improved techniques in ore separation allowed for concentration of silver with lead, zinc and copper. The explosion in production of these various basemetal sources has led to an increase in both silver output and silver usage.


Find more interesting factoids on the banking industry and helpful online banking information from https://www.onlinebankinginfoguide.com/

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