6. The Gold Stater Of Croesus, 550 BC
The earliest ancient coin was made of a naturally occurring alloy called Electrum. This alloy, a mixture of gold and silver, was found near the city of Sardis, the capital of the Lydian empire. King Croesus, the final king of Lydia, is most famous not for being the last king of the Lydian empire, but for introducing the first pure silver and pure gold coins.
Electrum proved to be a challenging material for minting coins. Because it is a naturally occurring mix of gold and silver, the exact amounts of gold and silver in each coin varied. This made it very hard to determine an exact value for the coins.
King Croesus solved this problem by minting coins in pure gold and pure silver. This gold Stater is the first pure gold coin ever minted. It features a bull and a lion facing each other.
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