The king of Lydia, Alyattes, and his fabled son Croesus are amongst the earliest rulers to have issued standardised and certified metal coins.
As well as other objects - such as shells - gold, silver or copper were in very early use as money. They are easily divisible and transportable, and have a significant intrinsic value. Based on these properties, the kings of Lydia - including Croesus, who has become fabled for his fortune - decided to introduce a unified, certified weight for coins made from electrum (a naturally-occurring alloy of gold and silver) and, subsequently, gold or silver bean-shaped coins known as croesids.
At the same time, they derived an income from these monetary issues by giving coins a higher face value than the amount of metal used, in order to meet their expenses.
Lydian gold stater minted around 550-520 BC (obverse)
Credit : Banque de France
Published on 07 October 2016. Updated on 12 September 2019