The History of Silver

Silver Bars

Known as one of the most famous forms of metals, Silver resides on the periodic table of elements with an atomic number of 47. Its elemental identifier is Ag and it's a lustrous transition metal like other metals on the periodic table. Some of these metals include, Palladium, Cadmium, and more recognizably, Gold. Its many elemental qualities include being the best thermal, electric, and reflective metal there is. Silver is highly sought after because of these uses and many more.

The name Silver is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word seolfor, or siolfor, while its element identifier Ag was derived from the Latin version of silver, Argentum. Its first recorded discovery predates the year 3,000 BC. This is evidenced by the discovery of silver artifacts found in the ancient city of Kish, which is in modern day Iraq.

The History...

Silver is found throughout the world but in modern times it is predominantly found in Mexico, Poland, Bolivia, and Turkey. Silver is usually obtained as a byproduct of refining other metal ores like Copper, Zinc, Nickel, and Lead, though it can be found in its native form. Silver in its native form can be pure, however, it is more than likely that it has amalgamated with another type of metal. One of the common forms of amalgamations is Electrum, which is an alloy of Gold and Silver. A common name for Electrum is “Green Gold”.


Electrum was used as a currency back around 600 BC in a civilization known as Lydia, located near present-day Turkey. Lydians used Electrum to mint coins as a currency which would pave the way for Silver to become the currency it is today. We fast-forward to the year 775 AD when civilizations in Britain used Silver to create what’s known as “Sterlings”. A pound of Silver was used to create 240 Sterling coins. To this day the UK still uses the name Sterling for their currency, British Pound Sterling.

Early British Sterling

"Britain used Silver to create what’s known as “Sterlings”.

As large deposits of Silver were discovered in South America and Europe during the 1400’s - 1500’s, Silver quickly became the standard in European and South American commerce. Coins produced from the European Mine “Joachimsthaler” were used as currency. These coins were labeled as “Thaler” as a short-hand for its origin. About 100 years later, as Holland becomes a world power, Holland would create their response to the “Thaler” by creating the “Leeuwendaalder”, or “Daalder” for short. This carries great significance because the “Daalder” would be brought to New Amsterdam by the Dutch and would become the most commonly traded currency in the borough Manhattan, in New York, New York. Locals in New York would call this currency the Dollar. Shortly after the Daalder’s arrival in North America, the newly created United States of America would base their currency on the value of Silver. Due to its long history as a store of value and currency, Silver has always been somewhat of an investment.

Holland Silver DaalderUS Silver Coinage

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