London Coin Galleries


What Are the Oldest Coins in the World?

Currency has been around in some form for over 5,000 years, starting with the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. Since that time, the currency has evolved to what you see today, using materials of little value to represent higher amounts of wealth. If you’re a current coin collector or an aspiring one, adding old currency to your collection can add great value. So what are some of the oldest coins in the world? Find out here.

Lydian Slater or Lydian Lion

Produced in the Kingdom of Lydia in modern-day Turkey around 600 B.C., the Lydian slater, also known as the Lydian Lion due to its depiction of a lion, is the oldest known coin in existence. Made of a mix of gold and silver called electrum, this coin was thought to be worth about a month’s salary or the equivalent of the purchase price of 11 sheep.

Ionian Hemiobols

Minted in the City of Cyme in Ionia in what’s now central Turkey, the Ionian Hemiobols date back to around 550 B.C. Made from a mix of silver and iron, the Hemiobols had a stamp of a horse’s head and was primarily used in transactions at markets. Currency experts believe that through this currency, the Ionians were responsible for spreading the idea of basic economics to other civilizations.

Ying Yuan

Ancient Chinese civilizations once used shells for currency, but the emergence of the Ying Yuan transformed the currency system throughout the empire. Unlike western civilizations, the Ying Yuan was either rectangular or square and made entirely of gold. This currency first appeared in around 500 B.C. and the modern-day Chinese yuan still carries its name.


Although unassociated with any currency produced in western civilization, the Karshapana is still one of the world’s oldest currencies, dating back to around 500 B.C. Minted in India, experts believe that the Karshapana was the first form of currency on the Indian Subcontinent. The coins were made from silver and featured multiple stamps, as well as hole punches.

Persian Daric

Minted around 500 B.C., the Persian Daric was a solid gold coin that was part of the empire of Cyrus the Great. With a weight of roughly 8 grams, the coin was worth the equivalent of 20 silver coins, although little is known about the actual value of coins in Persian society. These coins are exceptionally rare, as the army of Alexander the Great melted down most of the coins after conquering the Persian empire.

Hallaton Silver Coin

Discovered in England by an amateur collector with a metal detector, a cache of 130 Iron Age coins known as Hallaton silver coins are thought to be the oldest coins on the island. Little is known about the origin or value of the coins, but it remains one of the oldest coins ever discovered.

Trade-In or Trade-Up with Londoin Coin Galleries

If you want to get your hands on some older or more valuable coins, don’t just trade parts of your collection to a pawn shop or gold shop. From ancient to new and everything in between, At London Coin Galleries of Newport Beach we will provide you with fair value for your coins and you reap the benefits of your hard work and collecting prowess.

Contact us to discuss or book an appointment for a coin evaluation.