The Story of
the Coin Press

Pressing On...

For Teachers

For Students

For Reference

People began to use pieces of metal for money. They used copper, iron, bronze, gold and silver. Metal wouldn't get sick, spoil, or break. Metal could be carried around much easier than a cow or sacks of grain! In the beginning people used lumps of metal, chunks of metal, and metal in all shapes and sizes. The heavier the piece of metal was, the more you could buy with it.
When one man gave another man a piece of metal the other man weighed it with a scale. This was done every time a person gave another person a chunk of metal to make sure that nobody cheated anybody else. But what happened if there was no scale nearby?

Weighing metals took time and wasn't very convenient for anyone. People decided to weigh a piece of metal once and make a mark on it that told how much it weighed. Then the metal would not have to be weighed every time it was traded. Now everyone could look at the piece of metal and see how much it was worth. Pieces of metal that were weighed and marked this way were the first coins.

Now try the "Bartering for Bargains" Quiz to test your knowledge!

TEACHERS NOTE: "Bartering Lesson Plan" is suggested as an accompanying activity to this material.

© Patricia Knox - Online Museum Educators 2001