Rory Brown on the Lydian Stater and Evolution of Money
Family Friends

Rory Brown, Managing Partner of Nicklaus Brown & Co., on the Lydian Stater and Evolution of Money

Money has evolved considerably since the dawn of trade. Before the invention of money, people traded goods back and forth, often without a great deal of thought to an equivalent value. If a person had too much of something, they would simply trade it for an item they needed

106311


The rise of commodities

The trouble with the barter system was that there was no standardization and no real measure of value. Trading in commodities became a way to assign a higher value to items, and certain commodities developed greater value because they were more useful.

In this sense, cattle, salt, sugar, wood, tobacco, and textiles were considered valuable commodities, though many of these items were impractical as they could not be divided or might go bad. While the barter system worked for hundreds of years, it was impractical as most commodities couldn't be easily transported.

Cowrie shells

Cowrie shells simplified trade and commerce, as they were easy to carry and allowed currency to be standardized to some extent. But, with no real value and no centralized authority, cowrie shells didn't enjoy a lengthy reign.

By 1100BC, bronze castings started to be used in China, which was soon replaced by gold sheets of varying sizes to represent different values. Gold and other precious metals were often used as currency, either in the form of ingots or objects like rings that could be exchanged for goods and services. Because of the need to weigh and verify each item for authenticity, this type of currency didn't gain widespread traction. Additionally, they were not accepted in all markets, so their value was limited.

The first coin is minted: 600BC

The first known hard currency appeared in 600BC in Lydia, now part of Turkey. Invented by King Alyattes of Lydia, the first coin was made of electrum metal and featured an image of a roaring lion.

The Lydian Stater differed significantly from previous forms of currency in that since the government issued it, it was trusted by foreign traders throughout Europe. From that time forward, trade advanced quickly, connecting the East and the West in commercial enterprise.

Perhaps the most critical characteristic of the Stater was that it was legal tender with an assigned value. Because there were a finite number of coins, their value grew as did the demand for them. Additionally, it was accepted as a currency outside of the region, imbuing its holder with enduring wealth and buying power.

The emergence of paper money

As revolutionary as the Stater was, it was still cumbersome to carry a large quantity of them as the metal was heavy and needed to be weighed and counted to define value. Counterfeiters made quick work of knocking off the coins and passing them off as real.

While paper money didn't make its way into our pockets until the 18th century, early European merchants often used certificates that assigned a certain quantity of money to a transaction while the silver, gold, or other coinage remained in a vault.

Just as money helped to broaden our horizons in ancient times, it continues to be a force for progress today.

About: Mr. Rory Brown is a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Nicklaus Brown & Co. Rory Brown is also the co-founder of Lydian, which gained him recognition by Ernst & Young as Financial Service Entrepreneur of the Year, and was a member of the INC 500 for multiple times. He is currently most passionate about delving into the history of money and how our modern currency has evolved into what it is today. In his spare time, he can be found pouring over the history of the Lydians - the first people to have used gold and silver coinage.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
HBO Max

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

How To Interview A Class Of 2020 Graduate

What they've been through is truly unprecedented.

Odyssey

No matter how you want to spin it, the Class of 2020 will be the first class graduating amidst a global pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

By now, it is safe to declare "Outer Banks" on Netflix as THE TV Show of quarantine.

"Tiger King" got out to an early lead, but since, the Pogues and the Kooks have owned pop culture conversations while everyone has been couped up this spring amidst a global pandemic. And if you are one of the very few people out there in the world that has not heard about "Outer Banks" and or haven't binged it yet, well...

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Spoke To A California ER Doctor About COVID-19, And Y'all, Our Healthcare Workers Know What's Up

In light of what's going on in the world, it's time to get some front-line perspective.

It seems like the only thing I do these days is scroll through social media in a desperate attempt to gain information. My phone has called me out on my screen time more than once, and I just continue to ignore it. You're probably in the same boat — stuck at home, scrolling deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories and possible "back to normalcy" dates, hungry for information.

While we know that the news is not our mental health's friend these days, getting reliable information is helpful and necessary.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments