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Today when we pay cash for goods and services we are probably not aware of more than Two Thousand year old history of coins.

As early as in the 7th century before Christ, the ancient Babylonians used metal money of copper and later of bronze in the form of a duck. However, this money was heavy and unmanageable. Only the small metal coins of the lydans one century later - substantially facilitated the exchange, purchase and sale of goods for the first time. As a result, trade began flourishing as never before. The new coins were rapidly brought into circulation, and were very quickly imitated by others.

The history of paper money is considerably shorter. Most probably, paper money was first produced in China paper money was first produced in China in 618-917 A.D., but in Europe the first banknotes were possibly not issued by the Stockholm Bank until 1661. The newly founded Bank of England issued banknotes in 1694 and the French State Bank sometime later. They were followed by numerous other slip banks, so called because of the issue of money slips.

of the issue of money slips. Payment by cash was, and still is, the easiest and most convenient way of setting purchases in everyday life. All cashless modes of payment in use today are, however, complicated and require, particularly from the beneficiary a considerable expenditure in consequent work. It is anticipated therefore, that coins and notes will retain their position in payment transactions well into the future.

The proportion of coins in note and coin circulation worldwide has substantially increased during the past few years. More and more countries are tending to replace low value banknotes by coins. The initial manufacturing cost of coins is more expensive than that of banknotes, but when comparing the average life of banknotes of 2-3 years with that of coins of more than 30 years, the overall price advantage is quite obvious. Banknotes of smaller is quite obvious. Banknotes of smaller denomination that are frequently used i.e. passed from hand to hand, or from one purse ot another, will be more rapidly worn out than the larger denomination notes, which circulate less often. Some notes, for instance, are replaced by the central banks after little more than one year to maintain the high quality standard of their banknotes. The banknotes once withdrawn from circulation are totally destroyed. Coins, when they are finally withdrawn from service, can be recycled and the metal used again.

Besides the initial cost for notes and coins, the cost resulting from putting the products into, and withdrawing them from circulation must also be taken into account. The expenditure involved in the introduction of the products, the observation of their service life, their withdrawal and destruction is distinctly lower for coins than that of banknotes of low nominal value because of the banknotes shortlife. In the mechanical sorting and counting of large receipts, coins are far superior to notes. The devices and machines in current use utilize to the full a coins wear resistance, specific gravity and physical characteristics. Last but not least coins are seen as being more hygienic especially in territories with tropical climate.

Futurologists have already repeatedly doubted the continuance of cash payments and thus of coins. However, will we really become a cashless society the nearer we approach the year 2000?

An investigation into cashless modes of payment and personal payment habits of consumers cast doubt on this prediction. Credit cards and cheques, which are the most common cashless payment media, have so far hardly affected the demand for coins. The high handling costs for minor purchases with credit cards as well as the flood of transactions with petty amounts have disillusioned both trade and banks. In fact, the use of credit cards or cheques for small value purchases is considered unprofitable by consumer, trade and bank institutes alike.

The introduction of new electronic based technologies should help overcome these problems. This necessitates, however, not only organizational measures between banking groups, but is also dependent on the credit-worthi-ness of the customers. Moreover, the conflict of interests between trade and banks becomes more and more conspicuous. The trade, as an equal partner, required to be involved in all decisions touching on its cost structure. Since, however the new systems do not yet clearly show the advantage over the present payment methods, for relatively low value items it is thought that payment by cashless media will be confines to more higher value purchases. One Problem to be overcome is the reluctance of consumers to change their extremely conventional attitude to pecuniary matters and payment habits. Payment in cash is now, as before, the easiest way of settling purchases, at least for the consumer; it implies in fact no risk of subsequent errors.

Coins have already seen many contemporary evolutions during their long history. They will certainly keep their present rank and continue to roll also into the future.

|| Indian Coins ||

Coins are reflections of history! The study of coins, also called numismatics, has been crucial in deciphering history. The study of ancient and medieval coinage have authenticated historical events known from literature, artifacts and archaeological findings. Indeed, the history of the Indian subcontinent and its coinage share the complexities as evident in presence of hundreds of dynasties and their attempt to issue distinct coinage over thousands of years. Paradoxically, this very facet made the study of Indian history and numismatics an interesting but challenging proposition. It is very difficult to know today where the concept of coinage first evolved, but based on available evidences, it appears that the concept of money (as coins, which by definition here would be a piece of metal of defined weight stamped with symbol of authority for financial transaction), was conceived by three different civilizations independently and almost simultaneously. It is beyond doubt that the first coins of India were minted just before 5th century BC in Madhyadesha i.e. central India. The earliest coins of India are commonly known as punch-marked coins. As the name suggests, these coins bear the symbols of various types, punched on pieces of silver of specific weight.