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On the Evolution of Specie: Circulation and Weight Loss in 18th and 19th Century Coinage


  • Velde, F R.


I measure the parameters of coin wear using data collected in the 19th century. A comparison across denominations and countries shows that coin wear (in relative terms) is linear in the logarithm of coin value. Data from coin hoards of the 18th and early 19th centuries yield similar estimates of mean coin wear, showing that hoards provide useful information. Finally, under assumptions of normality for initial coin weights and coin loss I use maximum likelihood estimation to recover the parameters of the wear process from a sample of coins whose age is unknown. The method performs well on the hoard data (for which the age is known and can serve as a check).

Suggested Citation

  • Velde, F R., 2013. "On the Evolution of Specie: Circulation and Weight Loss in 18th and 19th Century Coinage," Working papers 422, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:422

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    coin circulation; coin wear; abrasion; velocity; denomination; gold; silver.;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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