Ancient Gold, Modern Value

israelgoldcoin-081210A 2,200-year-old gold coin was found recently in northern Israel. No, this isn’t one of those radio commercials you hear all the time about a surprising discovery of a stash of rare gold coins in Europe. This is the real deal.

Archaeologists from the U.S. uncovered the gold coin while digging near the border of Lebanon. At nearly one ounce in weight, it is the heaviest and most valuable coin ever found in Israel, a state official said. And somewhat oddly, the official added that the coin served a symbolic function and wasn’t used as currency.

The coin dates back to 191 B.C., making it older than the Roman Empire, but gold's history goes much further back than that.

The Sumer civilization in ancient Mesopatamia used gold for jewelry and ornaments for headdresses, and thousands of gold artifacts were found in the Varna Necropolis, a gravesite in present-day Bulgaria that goes back to 4600 B.C. Egyptians are believed to have mined gold as early as 2000 B.C.

It’s believed gold as money originated in China about 3,000 years ago, and that the first pure gold coins came from King Croesus of Lydia between 560 and 547 B.C.

Over the millennia, gold’s prices have changed but its intrinsic value as a store of wealth hasn’t. During these uncertain economic times, it seems that more and more investors are appreciating gold’s protective properties.

Do you think you know a lot  about gold? Take our informative and educational Gold Quiz to test your knowledge.