The thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for four hundred years. Its name lives on in the many currencies called dollar and the Samoan tālā, until also in the Slovenian tolar; the name thaler was used as an abbreviation of Joachimsthaler, a coin type from the town of Joachimsthal in the Kingdom of Bohemia, where there were silver mines and the first such coins were minted in 1518. This original Bohemian thaler carried a lion, from the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bohemia, on its reverse side. Etymologically, Thal is German for "valley", a thaler is a person or a thing "from the valley"; the Czech spelling was tolar. In the 1902 spelling reform, the German spelling was changed from Thal and Thaler to Tal and Taler, which however did not affect the English spelling of thaler; the Dutch daalders carried the picture of a lion, which gave them the name leeuwendaalder. From an abbreviation of leeuwendaalder come the names of three present-day Balkan currencies, the Romanian and Moldovan Leu and the Bulgarian Lev.
The roots and development of the thaler-sized silver coin date back to the mid-15th century. As the 15th century drew to a close the state of much of Europe's coinage was quite poor because of repeated debasement induced by the costs of continual warfare, by the incessant centuries-long loss of silver and gold in indirect one-sided trades importing spices, porcelain and other fine cloths and exotic goods from India and the Far East; this continual debasement had reached a point that silver content in Groschen-type coins had dropped, in some cases, to less than five percent, making the coins of much less individual value than they had in the beginning. Countering this trend, with the discovery and mining of silver deposits in Europe, Italy began the first tentative steps toward a large silver coinage with the introduction in 1472 of the lira tron in excess of 6 grams, a substantial increase over the 4-gram gros tournois of France. In 1474 a 9-gram lira was issued but it was in 1484 that Archduke Sigismund of Tirol issued the first revolutionary silver coin, the half Guldengroschen of 15.5 grams.
This was a rare coin a trial piece, but it did circulate so that demand could not be met. With the silver deposits—being mined at Schwaz—to work with and his mint at Hall, Sigismund issued, in 1486, large numbers of the first true thaler-sized coin, the Guldengroschen; the Guldengroschen, nicknamed the guldiner, was unqualified success. Soon it was being copied by many states who had the necessary silver; the engravers, no less affected by the Renaissance than were other artists, began creating intricate and elaborate designs featuring the heraldic arms and standards of the minting state as well as brutally realistic, sometimes unflattering, depictions of the ruler. By 1518, guldiners were popping up everywhere in central Europe. In the Kingdom of Bohemia ruled together with Hungary by Louis II of the Jagiellonian dynasty, a guldiner was minted— of similar physical size but less fineness—that was named in German the Joachimsthaler, from the silver mined by the Counts of Schlick at a rich source near Joachimsthal where Thal means "valley" in German.
Joachim, the father of the Virgin Mary, was portrayed on the coin along with the Bohemian lion. Similar coins began to be minted in neighbouring valleys rich in silver deposits, each named after the particular'thal' or valley from which the silver was extracted. There were soon so many of them that these silver coins began to be known more as'thaler' in German and'tolar' in the Czech language. From these earliest'thaler' developed the new thaler – the coin that the Holy Roman Empire had been looking to create as a standard for trade between the regions of Europe; the original Joachimsthaler Guldengroschen was one ounce in weight. The Empire's Reichstaler was defined as containing 400.99 grains of silver and became the coin of account of the whole Empire. In the 17th century, some Joachimsthalers were in circulation in the Tsardom of Russia, where they were called yefimok – a distortion of the first half of the name; the zenith of thaler minting occurred in the late 16th and 17th centuries with the so-called "multiple thalers" called Lösers in Germany.
The first were minted in Brunswick, indeed the majority were struck there. Some of these coins reached as much as sixteen normal thalers; the original reason for minting these colossal coins, some of which exceeded a full pound of silver and being over 12 cm in diameter, is uncertain. The name "löser" most was derived from a large gold coin minted in Hamburg called the Portugalöser, worth 10 ducats; some of the silver löser reached this value, but not all. The term was applied to numerous similar coins worth more than a single thaler; these coins are rare, the larger ones costing tens of thousands of dollars, are sought after by serious collectors of thalers. Few circulated in any real sense so they remain in well-preserved condition. In the Holy Roman Empire, the thaler was used as the standard against which the various states' currencies could be valued. One standard adopted by Prussia was the Reichsthaler, which contained 1⁄14 of a Cologne mark of silver. In 1754, the Conventionsthaler was introduced.
In 1837, the Prussian thaler beca
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558, king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526, king of Croatia from 1527 until his death in 1564. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, he served as Charles' representative in Germany and developed encouraging relationships with German princes. The key events during his reign were the contest with the Ottoman Empire, which in the 1520s began a great advance into Central Europe, the Protestant Reformation, which resulted in several wars of religion. Ferdinand was able to defend his realm and make it somewhat more cohesive, but he could not conquer the major part of Hungary, his flexible approach to Imperial problems religious brought more result than the more confrontational attitude of his brother. Ferdinand's motto was Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus: "Let justice be done, though the world perish". Ferdinand was born in Alcalá de Henares, the son of Queen Joanna I of Castile from the House of Trastámara and Habsburg Archduke Philip the Handsome, heir to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.
Ferdinand shared his customs and his birthday with his maternal grandfather Ferdinand II of Aragon. He was born and educated in Spain, did not learn German when he was young. In the summer of 1518 Ferdinand was sent to Flanders following his brother Charles's arrival in Spain as newly appointed King Charles I the previous autumn. Ferdinand returned in command of his brother's fleet but en route was blown off-course and spent four days in Kinsale in Ireland before reaching his destination. With the death of his grandfather Maximilian I and the accession of his now 19-year-old brother, Charles V, to title of Holy Roman Emperor in 1519, Ferdinand was entrusted with the government of the Austrian hereditary lands modern-day Austria and Slovenia, he was Archduke of Austria from 1521 to 1564. Though he supported his brother, Ferdinand managed to strengthen his own realm. By adopting the German language and culture late in his life, he grew close to the German territorial princes. After the death of his brother-in-law Louis II, Ferdinand ruled as King of Hungary.
Ferdinand served as his brother's deputy in the Holy Roman Empire during his brother's many absences, in 1531 was elected King of the Romans, making him Charles's designated heir in the empire. Charles abdicated in 1556 and Ferdinand adopted the title "Emperor elect" in 1558, while Spain, the Spanish Empire, Sicily, the Netherlands, Franche-Comté went to Philip, son of Charles. According to the terms set at the First Congress of Vienna in 1515, Ferdinand married Anne Jagiellonica, daughter of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary on 22 July 1515. Both Hungary and Bohemia were elective monarchies, where the parliaments had the sovereign right to decide about the person of the king. Therefore, after the death of his brother-in-law Louis II, King of Bohemia and of Hungary, at the battle of Mohács on 29 August 1526, Ferdinand applied to the parliaments of Hungary and Bohemia to participate as a candidate in the king elections. On 24 October 1526 the Bohemian Diet, acting under the influence of chancellor Adam of Hradce, elected Ferdinand King of Bohemia under conditions of confirming traditional privileges of the estates and moving the Habsburg court to Prague.
The success was only partial, as the Diet refused to recognise Ferdinand as hereditary lord of the Kingdom. The throne of Hungary became the subject of a dynastic dispute between Ferdinand and John Zápolya, Voivode of Transylvania, they were supported by different factions of the nobility in the Hungarian kingdom. Ferdinand had the support of his brother, the Emperor Charles V. On 10 November 1526, John Zápolya was proclaimed king by a Diet at Székesfehérvár, John Zápolya was elected in the parliament by the untitled lesser nobility. Nicolaus Olahus, secretary of Louis, attached himself to the party of Ferdinand but retained his position with his sister, Queen Dowager Mary. Ferdinand was elected King of Hungary, Croatia, Slavonia etc. by the higher aristocracy and the Hungarian Catholic clergy in a rump Diet in Pozsony on 17 December 1526. Ferdinand was crowned as King of Hungary in the Székesfehérvár Basilica on 3 November 1527; the Croatian nobles unanimously accepted the Pozsony election of Ferdinand I, receiving him as their king in the 1527 election in Cetin, confirming the succession to him and his heirs.
In return for the throne, Archduke Ferdinand promised to respect the historic rights, freedoms and customs of the Croats when they united with the Hungarian kingdom and to defend Croatia from Ottoman invasion. The Austrian lands were in miserable economic and financial conditions, thus Ferdinand introduced the so-called Turkish Tax. In spite of the huge Austrian sacrifices, he was not able to collect enough money to pay for the expenses of the defence costs of Austrian lands, his annual revenues only allowed him to hire 5,000 mercenaries for two months, thus Ferdinand asked for help from his brother, Emperor Charles V, started to borrow money from rich bankers like the Fugger family. Ferdinand defeated Zápolya at the Battle of Tarcal in September 1527 and again in the Battle of Szina in March 1528. Zápolya fled the country and applied to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent for support, making Hungary an Ottoman vassal state; this led to the most dangerous moment of Ferdinand's career, in 1529, when Suleiman took advantage of this Hungarian support for
A gold coin is a coin, made or of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold, while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia, Canadian Maple Leaf, American Buffalo. Alloyed gold coins, like the American Gold Eagle and South African Krugerrand, are 91.7% gold by weight, with the remainder being silver and copper. Traditionally, gold coins have been circulation coins, including coin-like dinars. Since recent decades, gold coins are produced as bullion coins to investors and as commemorative coins to collectors. While modern gold coins are legal tender, they are not observed in everyday financial transactions, as the metal value exceeds the nominal value. For example, the American Gold Eagle, given a denomination of 50 USD, has a metal value of more than $1,200 USD; the gold reserves of central banks are dominated by gold bars, but gold coins may contribute. Gold has been used as money for many reasons, it is fungible, with a low spread between the prices to sell.
Gold is easily transportable, as it has a high value to weight ratio, compared to other commodities, such as silver. Gold can be re-coined, divided into smaller units, or re-melted into larger units such as gold bars, without destroying its metal value; the density of gold is higher than most other metals. Additionally, gold is unreactive, hence it does not tarnish or corrode over time. Gold was used in commerce in the Ancient Near East since the Bronze Age, but coins proper originated much during the 6th century BC, in Anatolia; the name of king Croesus of Lydia remains associated with the invention. In 546 BC, Croesus was captured by the Persians; the most valuable of all Persian minted coinage still remains the gold drams, minted in 1 AD as a gift by the Persian King Vonones Hebrew Bible new testament. Ancient Greek coinage contained a number of gold coins issued by the various city states; the Ying yuan is an early gold coin minted in ancient China. The oldest ones known are from about the 5th or 6th century BC.
Larger units such as the various talent measures were used for high value exchanges. The German gold mark was introduced in 1873 in the German Empire, replacing the various local Gulden coins of the Holy Roman Empire. Gold coins had a long period as a primary form of money, only falling into disuse in the early 20th century. Most of the world stopped making gold coins as currency by 1933, as countries switched from the gold standard due to hoarding during the worldwide economic crisis of the Great Depression. In the United States, 1933's Executive Order 6102 forbade the hoarding of gold and was followed by a devaluation of the dollar relative to gold, although the United States did not uncouple the dollar from the value of gold until 1971. Gold-colored coins have made a comeback in many currencies. However, "gold coin" always refers to a coin, made of gold, does not include coins made of manganese brass or other alloys. Furthermore, many countries continue to make legal tender gold coins, but these are meant for collectors and investment purposes and are not meant for circulation.
Many factors determine the value of a gold coin, such as its rarity, age and the number minted. Most gold coins minted since the late 19th century are worth more than spot price, but many are worth more. Gold coins coveted by collectors include the Aureus and Spur Ryal. In July 2002, a rare $20 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record $7,590,020 at Sotheby's, making it by far the most valuable coin sold up to that time. In early 1933, more than 445,000 Double Eagle coins were struck by the U. S. Mint, but most of these were surrendered and melted down following Executive Order 6102. Only a few coins survived. In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced a 100 kilograms gold coin with a face value of $1,000,000, though the gold content was worth over $2 million at the time, it is 3 centimetres thick. It was intended as a one-off to promote a new line of Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins, but after several interested buyers came forward the mint announced it would manufacture them as ordered and sell them for between $2.5 million and $3 million.
As of May 3, 2007, there were five orders. One of these coins has been stolen. Austria had produced a 37 centimetres diameter 31 kg Philharmonic gold coin with a face value of €100,000. On October 4, 2007, David Albanese stated that a $10, 1804-dated eagle coin was sold to an anonymous private collector for $5 million. In 2012 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world first gold coin with a 0.11–0.14ct diamond. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee coin has been crafted in 99.999% pure gold with a face value of $300. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion, are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be minted into coins; the defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money. While obsolete gold coins are collected for their numismatic value, gold bull
Guilder is the English translation of the Dutch and German gulden shortened from Middle High German guldin pfenninc "gold penny". This was the term that became current in the southern and western parts of the Holy Roman Empire for the Fiorino d'oro. Hence, the name has been interchangeable with florin; the term gulden was used in the Holy Roman Empire during the 14th to 16th centuries in generic reference to gold coins. Currency became more standardized with the imperial reform of 1559. In the early modern period, the value of a gulden was expressed in standardized form, in some instances, silver coins were minted designed to have the value corresponding to one gulden; the Rhenish gulden was issued by Trier and Mainz in the 14th and 15th centuries. Basel minted its own Apfelgulden between 1429 and 1509. Bern and Solothurn followed in the 1480s, Fribourg in 1509 and Zürich in 1510, other towns in the 17th century, resulting in a fragmented system of local currencies in the early modern Switzerland.
With standardized currencies in the early modern period, gulden or guilder became a term for various early modern and modern currencies, detached from actual gold coins, in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Netherlands Indies gulden was introduced in 1602, at the start of the United East Indies Company; the Dutch guilder originated in 1680 as a 10.61 g silver coin with a silver purity of 91.0%, minted by the States of Holland and West Friesland. The British Guianan guilder was in use in British Guiana, 1796 to 1839. In 1753, Bavaria and Austria-Hungary agreed to use the same conventions; the result was the Austro-Hungarian gulden, the Bavarian gulden. A Danzig gulden was in use 1923 to 1939; the Dutch guilder remained the national currency of the Netherlands until it was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2002. The Netherlands Antillean guilder is the only guilder in use, which after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles remained the currency of the new countries Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands.
Surinamese guilder Netherlands Indies gulden Netherlands New Guinean guldenThe Caribbean guilder is a proposed currency for Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Other coin names that are derived from the gold of which they were once made: Öre, øre Złoty Hungarian forint
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
The Kreuzer, in English kreutzer, was a silver coin and unit of currency existing in the southern German states prior to the unification of Germany, in Austria. After 1760 it was made of copper. In 1559 a value of 60 Kreuzer to 1 gulden had been adopted throughout the Southern states of the Holy Roman Empire, but the northern German states declined to join, used Groschen instead of Kreuzer; the Kreuzer in turn was worth about pennies. Thus one Gulden was worth 252 Pfennig. Currencies adopted a standard relationship of 240 Pfennig = 60 Kreuzer = 1 Gulden. Following the adoption of the Conventionsthaler in 1754, two distinct Kreuzer came into being; the first, sometimes referred to as the Conventionskreuzer, was worth 1/120 of a Conventionsthaler, valuing the gulden at half a Conventionsthaler. This was used in Austria-Hungary. However, the states of southern Germany adopted a smaller Kreuzer Landmünze worth 1/144 of a Conventionsthaler, thus valuing the Gulden at 5/12 of a Conventionsthaler. In fact, the southern German states issued coins denominated in Kreuzer Landmünze up to 6 Kreuzer Landmünze but in Conventionskreuzer for higher denominations.
The South German Currency Union of 1837 used a system of 60 Kreuzer = 1 Gulden and 1¾ Gulden = 1 Thaler, with the Kreuzer equal to the old Kreuzer Landmünze. These Kreuzer continued in circulation following German unification. Austria-Hungary decimalized in 1857, adopting a system of 100 Kreuzer = 1 Gulden, Austrian Florin or Hungarian forint, 1½ gulden = 1 Vereinsthaler, it was known as krajczár in Hungarian, krejcar in Czech, grajciar in Slovak, krajcar in Slovene, creiţar or crăiţar in Romanian, grajcar in Polish. German and Austrian Kreutzer Coins
A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars, pounds sterling, Australian dollars, European euros, Russian rubles and Indian Rupees are examples of currency; these various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, each type has limited boundaries of acceptance. Other definitions of the term "currency" are discussed in their respective synonymous articles banknote and money; the latter definition, pertaining to the currency systems of nations, is the topic of this article. Currencies can be classified into two monetary systems: fiat money and commodity money, depending on what guarantees the currency's value.
Some currencies are legal tender in certain political jurisdictions. Others are traded for their economic value. Digital currency has arisen with the popularity of the Internet. Money was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in ancient Mesopotamia and in Ancient Egypt. In this first stage of currency, metals were used as symbols to represent value stored in the form of commodities; this formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place, safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that store. A trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a series of treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern Mediterranean, spreading from Minoan Crete and Mycenae in the northwest to Elam and Bahrain in the southeast.
It is not known what was used as a currency for these exchanges, but it is thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus, may have functioned as a currency. It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Bronze Age collapse produced by the Peoples of the Sea, brought the trading system of oxhide ingots to an end, it was only the recovery of Phoenician trade in the 10th and 9th centuries BC that led to a return to prosperity, the appearance of real coinage first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and Persians. In Africa, many forms of value store have been used, including beads, ivory, various forms of weapons, the manilla currency, ochre and other earth oxides; the manilla rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to sell slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, in many places, various forms of barter still apply; these factors led to the metal itself being the store of value: first silver both silver and gold, at one point bronze.
Now we have other non-precious metals as coins. Metals were mined and stamped into coins; this was to assure the individual accepting the coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but the existence of standard coins created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking. Archimedes' principle provided the next link: coins could now be tested for their fine weight of metal, thus the value of a coin could be determined if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with. Most major economies using coinage had several tiers of coins of different values, made of copper and gold. Gold coins were the most valuable and were used for large purchases, payment of the military and backing of state activities. Units of account were defined as the value of a particular type of gold coin. Silver coins were used for midsized transactions, sometimes defined a unit of account, while coins of copper or silver, or some mixture of them, might be used for everyday transactions.
This system had been used in ancient India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. The exact ratios between the values of the three metals varied between different eras and places. However, the rarity of gold made it more valuable than silver, silver was worth more than copper. In premodern China, the need for credit and for a medium of exchange, less physically cumbersome than large numbers of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, i.e. banknotes. Their introduction was a gradual process which lasted from the late Tang dynasty into the Song dynasty, it began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes by wholesalers' shops. These notes were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song dynasty government began to circulate these notes amongst the traders in its monopolized salt industry; the Song government granted several shops the right to issue banknotes, in the early 12th century the government took over these shops to produce state-issued currency.
Yet the banknotes issued w