The History of Credit & Debt – The First Real Coins (Cattle Are Heavy)

As the early banking system developed, people needed a way to pay for things. Carrying around cattle to settle a debt was not convenient. So, 1,200 years after Hammurabi laid down the law, the first widely-accepted coins were minted.

owl_coinAlthough it was not the very first coin, the Athenian silver “owls,” were one of the earliest to be accepted by many people. This coin was first minted in 546 B.C. and lasted almost unchanged in design and purity for 600 years.

Some of the earliest uses of currency date as far back as 2,500 B.C., when silver, in bar form, substituted for barley payments. After that, the Mesopotamians used copper currency and it wasn’t until silver coins came along that people began to use them widely as a method of payment.



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