Gold has been a valued substance for as long as history can determine, and it was used in some of the first coins struck, in Asia Minor in the 600s B.C. The Persian Empire (546-334 B.C.) owned much of the world’s gold at the time and struck large quantities of gold coins called “darics.” Few of them, however, survive today. Carthage, a powerful city and state in North Africa, also was a major player in gold coinage at the time. The Phoenician empire took advantage of gold deposits on the Iberian Peninsula and struck coins called “staters” in electrum – an alloy of gold and silver.