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(2,959 words)

Author(s): von Kaenel, Hans-Markus (Frankfurt/Main) | Klose, Dietrich (Munich) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum)
I. Classical Antiquity [German version] A. Coins and coinage. General Coins, a particular, developmentally late form of money, are handy, usually are round pieces of metal made of gold, electron, silver, copper or copper alloys. The metal exhibits a prescribed composition (fineness), and the coins a weight defined by the applicable standard (Coinage, standards of). Coins bear signs on their obverse and the reverse: a design and usually an inscription. Through their characteristics, coins could be recognized as the product of those authorities (society or ruler) wh…

Coins, debasement of

(1,083 words)

Author(s): von Kaenel, Hans-Markus (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] ‘Debasement of of coins’ refers to the manipulation of the valid coinage standard by the minting authority, usually the reduction of the precious metal content or quality and/or overall weight (gross weight) of a coin.Thus, debasement of coins meant that, from a certain amount of precious metal, a larger number of coins was minted than was provided for by the coinage standard. Debasement of coins is to be distinguished from  counterfeiting of coins and from short-term monetary emergency measures (cf. for example Ps.-Aristot. Oec. 2,2,16, 134…