c.1300, "a wedge," from Old French coing (12c.) "a wedge; stamp; piece of money; corner, angle," from Latin cuneus "a wedge." The die for stamping metal was wedge-shaped, and the English word came to mean "thing stamped, a piece of money" by late 14c. (a sense that already had developed in French). Cf. quoin, which split off from this word 16c. Modern French coin is "corner, angle, nook." Coins were first struck in western Asia Minor in 7c. B.C.E.; Greek tradition and Herodotus credit the Lydians with being first to make and use coins of silver and gold.
"to coin money," mid-14c., from coin (n.). Related: Coined; coining. To coin a phrase is late 16c. A Middle English word for minter was coin-smiter.
Before the Exile the Jews had no regularly stamped money. They made use of uncoined shekels or talents of silver, which they weighed out (Gen. 23:16; Ex. 38:24; 2 Sam. 18:12). Probably the silver ingots used in the time of Abraham may have been of a fixed weight, which was in some way indicated on them. The "pieces of silver" paid by Abimelech to Abraham (Gen. 20:16), and those also for which Joseph was sold (37:28), were proably in the form of rings. The shekel was the common standard of weight and value among the Hebrews down to the time of the Captivity. Only once is a shekel of gold mentioned (1 Chr. 21:25). The "six thousand of gold" mentioned in the transaction between Naaman and Gehazi (2 Kings 5:5) were probably so many shekels of gold. The "piece of money" mentioned in Job 42:11; Gen. 33:19 (marg., "lambs") was the Hebrew _kesitah_, probably an uncoined piece of silver of a certain weight in the form of a sheep or lamb, or perhaps having on it such an impression. The same Hebrew word is used in Josh. 24:32, which is rendered by Wickliffe "an hundred yonge scheep."