Famous gold monies

Gold’s role as metallic money

There are generally two main forms of metallic money standard – monometallic or bimetallic. A monometallic standard is when currency is convertible into just one metal at a fixed price, as opposed to a bimetallic standard when the currency is convertible into two metals at a fixed price.

A metallic standard does not mean market participants must carry metal coins around with them, for instance, during the Classical Gold Standard bank notes and checkable deposits were also fully convertible into the metal coins or gold bullion. The need to invest in gold was greatly reduced thanks to money being sound and backed by stable gold bullion bars and coins. Learn about five of the most famous uses of gold and silver as money below.

Classical Gold Standard

Read how the Classical Gold Standard enabled a long period of peace, stability and free trade spanning the mid-nineteen hundreds until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914.

Spanish Silver Dollar

Find our more about the Spanish Silver Dollar was essential to Spain’s imperial might during the 15th and 16th centuries, and was also used in far flung trading out posts around the world.

Florentine Florin

Learn about how the gold Florin helped Florence and its giant banks dominate the medieval financial era, whilst helping the Medici family achieve such wealth and prominence.

Persia’s Gold Daric

Witness how Darius the Great’s Persia used its Gold Daric coin to rule Europe and Asia Minor before the time of Alexander and his subsequent conquests for the legendary Persian gold hoards.

China’s pioneering Zhou Dynasty

Reach back in time to see how the long lasting Zhou Dynasty in China pioneered the use of metallic money to unite China with some truly unusual coin shapes and sizes.