When we currently think of investing, we have a tendency to let our minds gravitate towards stockbrokers and various speculative enterprises, but did you know that silver investing has not only existed for centuries, but that it is also the hallmark of a nation invested in stable commerce—from the ancient Greeks, to the British empire, straight through to 20th Century America?
Indeed, precious metals, specifically silver, has been used to store wealth for exchange with warring states in China’s Han Dynasty as long ago as 206 BCE, and while Chinese dynasties, such as the Early Ming Dynasty, shifted toward paper currency in the 14th Century, the Middle Ming Dynasty began to replace paper currency with the more stable silver as recently as the 1930’s.
Dating even farther back than that, however, silver investing was one of the most notable features of the Ancient Greek Empire, evident in their historically stable drachma—a small silver coin, usually minted with a turtle on the obverse.
Evident in the Han Empire, onto the Greek Empire, It’s no secret that silver is one of the safest and most stable features of any empire. In addition to the Greeks, however, other ancient civilizations of antiquity have relied on silver’s stability—often preferring it to other available forms of coinage.
The Byzantine Empire, for example, initially had currency of silver and gold, but gradually moved toward a silver coin, and historical records indicate that the Byzantine Empire’s silver coin was one of the most heavily used forms of currency during this time. One of the primary distinctions of the Byzantine’s use of Silver, however, was that their coins were minted with a cross atop a large staircase, unlike the Greek drachma, which was minted with a turtle on its obverse.
The American Silver Eagle, the official bullion coin of United States, however, is known for having the distinct symbol of lady liberty in a walking pose on its obverse. But while the imprinted flourishes change throughout generations, what does not change about each empire’s silver coin is its value and stability.
Initially minted in 1986 in San Francisco, America’s Silver Eagle is one troy ounce of 99.9% undiluted, unalloyed silver. Being distinguished by an “S,” “W,” or “P,” the Silver Eagle has been minted in San Francisco, West Point, and Philadelphia, respectively. Maintaining its status as the currency of powerful nations, silver remains an important part of America’s economy to this day, as it has for roughly the past thirty years.