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Electrum

Was Electrum naturesí way of putting two of manís most precious metals used for coinage at his finger tips for commerce? This naturally occurring alloy paved the way for ancient man to possess a small, portable, and valuable currency in his hands for exchange. In his travels and trade in distance lands as well in local commerce this metal, mentioned a few times in the Old Testament Bible, helped man escape the rules and follies of barter.

The Byzantine empire minted a number of electrum coins as shown on the right. These were from the twelfth century. There were many empires even before that who hammered out electrum coins going as far back as the Lydians around 600 BC with the Lydian Trite. Trites most likely came before the Lycian and Greek Staters. These coins had a very similar appearance. Small globs of electrum, gold, or silver metal with images crudely stamped into them. Some of the older versions didn't have any stampings.

In 1914 a 2 pesos coin was minted in Mexico with a mixture of gold and silver. It was during a brief civil war in Mexico that these coins were minted by a revolutionary named Emiliano Zapata in a southern state of Mexico called Guerrero. This mixture was not a natural occurrence by nature, but a purposeful alloy mix to keep the coin a manageable size for commerce. It is about the size of a dollar coin. There were also one pesos minted in silver. All of the coins minted were struck only once with very poor dies.



The amount of gold content in this coin was insignificant (approximately 0.595 grains of gold) enough not to change the predominate appearance of silver in the coin. Although, an uncirculated version has a slight yellowish glow to it. Remember, all of these coins were crudely minted and this should be taken in account if one is acquired.