The Invitation, By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know 
if you will risk 
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesnt interest me
what planets are 
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you 
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know 
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone 
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-invitation-by-oriah-mountain-dreamer

Overcoming Obstacles – Poem by Gerry Legister

Image result for poems about overcoming obstacles

Courage sometimes is the quietest voice
That roars loudest from within, 
Making faith a distinctive choice 
And compelling motivation to try again.

When obstacles invariably come your way, 
Into every direction that you have turned, 
A thousand misery comes in a friendlier display 
To take away the strength that you have gained.

Faith stands strong like a colossal wall of courage, 
Ready to do the things that you could not do.
Bold in confidence with a conquering message, 
Making difficult boundaries appeared new.

You can go on overcoming obstacles, 
Which at first looked almost impossible, 
Success is not worth having if there are no mistakes, 
There is an ability that lies beyond the solar pole. 
Gerry Legister

A poem, by Marianne Moore

This institution,
perhaps one should say enterprise
out of respect for which
one says one need not change one’s mind
about a thing one has believed in,
requiring public promises
of one’s intention
to fulfill a private obligation:
I wonder what Adam and Eve
think of it by this time,
this firegilt steel
alive with goldenness;
how bright it shows —
“of circular traditions and impostures,
committing many spoils,”
requiring all one’s criminal ingenuity
to avoid!
Psychology which explains everything
explains nothing
and we are still in doubt.
Eve: beautiful woman —
I have seen her
when she was so handsome
she gave me a start,
able to write simultaneously
in three languages —
English, German and French
and talk in the meantime;
equally positive in demanding a commotion
and in stipulating quiet:
“I should like to be alone;”
to which the visitor replies,
“I should like to be alone;
why not be alone together?”
Below the incandescent stars
below the incandescent fruit,
the strange experience of beauty;
its existence is too much;
it tears one to pieces
and each fresh wave of consciousness
is poison.
“See her, see her in this common world,”
the central flaw
in that first crystal-fine experiment,
this amalgamation which can never be more
than an interesting possibility,
describing it
as “that strange paradise
unlike flesh, gold, or stately buildings,
the choicest piece of my life:
the heart rising
in its estate of peace
as a boat rises
with the rising of the water;”
constrained in speaking of the serpent —
that shed snakeskin in the history of politeness
not to be returned to again —
that invaluable accident
exonerating Adam.
And he has beauty also;
it’s distressing — the O thou
to whom, from whom,
without whom nothing — Adam;
“something feline,
something colubrine” — how true!
a crouching mythological monster
in that Persian miniature of emerald mines,
raw silk — ivory white, snow white,
oyster white and six others —
that paddock full of leopards and giraffes —
long lemonyellow bodies
sown with trapezoids of blue.
Alive with words,
vibrating like a cymbal
touched before it has been struck,
he has prophesied correctly —
the industrious waterfall,
“the speedy stream
which violently bears all before it,
at one time silent as the air
and now as powerful as the wind.”
“Treading chasms 
on the uncertain footing of a spear,”
forgetting that there is in woman
a quality of mind
which is an instinctive manifestation
is unsafe,
he goes on speaking
in a formal, customary strain
of “past states,” the present state,
seals, promises, 
the evil one suffered,
the good one enjoys,
hell, heaven,
everything convenient
to promote one’s joy.”
There is in him a state of mind
by force of which,
perceiving what it was not
intended that he should,
“he experiences a solemn joy
in seeing that he has become an idol.”
Plagued by the nightingale
in the new leaves,
with its silence —
not its silence but its silences,
he says of it:
“It clothes me with a shirt of fire.”
“He dares not clap his hands
to make it go on
lest it should fly off;
if he does nothing, it will sleep;
if he cries out, it will not understand.”
Unnerved by the nightingale
and dazzled by the apple,
impelled by “the illusion of a fire
effectual to extinguish fire,”
compared with which
the shining of the earth
is but deformity — a fire
“as high as deep as bright as broad
as long as life itself,”
he stumbles over marriage,
“a very trivial object indeed”
to have destroyed the attitude
in which he stood —
the ease of the philosopher
unfathered by a woman.
Unhelpful Hymen!
“a kind of overgrown cupid”
reduced to insignificance
by the mechanical advertising
parading as involuntary comment,
by that experiment of Adam’s
with ways out but no way in —
the ritual of marriage,
augmenting all its lavishness;
its fiddle-head ferns,
lotus flowers, opuntias, white dromedaries,
its hippopotamus —
nose and mouth combined
in one magnificent hopper,
“the crested screamer —
that huge bird almost a lizard,”
its snake and the potent apple.
He tells us
that “for love
that will gaze an eagle blind,
that is like a Hercules
climbing the trees
in the garden of the Hesperides,
from forty-five to seventy
is the best age,”
commending it
as a fine art, as an experiment,
a duty or as merely recreation.
One must not call him ruffian
nor friction a calamity —
the fight to be affectionate:
“no truth can be fully known
until it has been tried
by the tooth of disputation.”
The blue panther with black eyes,
the basalt panther with blue eyes,
entirely graceful —
one must give them the path —
the black obsidian Diana
who “darkeneth her countenance
as a bear doth,
causing her husband to sigh,”
the spiked hand
that has an affection for one
and proves it to the bone,
impatient to assure you
that impatience is the mark of independence
not of bondage.
“Married people often look that way” —
“seldom and cold, up and down,
mixed and malarial
with a good day and bad.”
“When do we feed?”
We occidentals are so unemotional,
we quarrel as we feed;
one’s self is quite lost,
the irony preserved
in “the Ahasuerus tкte а tкte banquet”
with its “good monster, lead the way,”
with little laughter
and munificence of humor
in that quixotic atmosphere of frankness
in which “Four o’clock does not exist
but at five o’clock
the ladies in their imperious humility
are ready to receive you”;
in which experience attests
that men have power
and sometimes one is made to feel it.
He says, “what monarch would not blush
to have a wife
with hair like a shaving-brush?
The fact of woman
is not `the sound of the flute
but every poison.'”
She says, “`Men are monopolists
of stars, garters, buttons
and other shining baubles’ —
unfit to be the guardians
of another person’s happiness.”
He says, “These mummies
must be handled carefully —
`the crumbs from a lion’s meal,
a couple of shins and the bit of an ear’;
turn to the letter M
and you will find
that `a wife is a coffin,’
that severe object
with the pleasing geometry
stipulating space and not people,
refusing to be buried
and uniquely disappointing,
revengefully wrought in the attitude
of an adoring child
to a distinguished parent.”
She says, “This butterfly,
this waterfly, this nomad
that has `proposed
to settle on my hand for life.’ —
What can one do with it?
There must have been more time
in Shakespeare’s day
to sit and watch a play.
You know so many artists are fools.”
He says, “You know so many fools
who are not artists.”
The fact forgot
that “some have merely rights
while some have obligations,”
he loves himself so much,
he can permit himself
no rival in that love.
She loves herself so much,
she cannot see herself enough —
a statuette of ivory on ivory,
the logical last touch
to an expansive splendor
earned as wages for work done:
one is not rich but poor
when one can always seem so right.
What can one do for them —
these savages
condemned to disaffect
all those who are not visionaries
alert to undertake the silly task
of making people noble?
This model of petrine fidelity
who “leaves her peaceful husband
only because she has seen enough of him” —
that orator reminding you,
“I am yours to command.”
“Everything to do with love is mystery;
it is more than a day’s work
to investigate this science.”
One sees that it is rare —
that striking grasp of opposites
opposed each to the other, not to unity,
which in cycloid inclusiveness
has dwarfed the demonstration
of Columbus with the egg —
a triumph of simplicity —
that charitive Euroclydon
of frightening disinterestedness
which the world hates,
admitting:

“I am such a cow,
if I had a sorrow,
I should feel it a long time;
I am not one of those
who have a great sorrow
in the morning
and a great joy at noon;”
which says: “I have encountered it
among those unpretentious
protegйs of wisdom,
where seeming to parade
as the debater and the Roman,
the statesmanship
of an archaic Daniel Webster
persists to their simplicity of temper
as the essence of the matter:

Pogona, Known as The Breaded Dragon.

Image result for Bearded Dragon



Pogona is a genus of reptiles containing eight lizard species (according to some sources, but some others say nine) which are often known by the common namebearded dragons. The name “bearded dragon” refers to the “beard” of the dragon, the underside of the throat which can turn black if they are stressed or see a potential rival. They are adept climbers, spending significant amounts of time on branches and in bushes and near human habitation. Pogona species bask on rocks and exposed branches in the mornings and afternoons. They are found throughout much of Australia in a wide range of habitats such as deserts, shrublands and Eucalyptuswoodlands.[2]
Several species of this genus, especially the central bearded dragon, are often kept as pets or exhibited in zoos due to their hardy nature and easy care in comparison to other exotic reptiles.

The genus Pogona is in the subfamilyAmphibolurinae of the lizard family Agamidae. Characteristics include broad, triangular heads and flattened bodies with spiny scales arranged in rows and clusters. These are found on the throat, which can be expanded when threatened, and at the back of the head. These scales are used to scare off predators, yet they are not very sharp. Bearded dragons display a hand-waving gesture to show submission, and a head-bobbing display to show dominance between dragons. They have the ability to change color during rivalry challenges between males, in response to ambient temperature changes such as turning black to absorb heat, and other stimuli. Males grow up to 60 cm (24 in) long, and females up to 51 cm (20 in). Bearded dragons also produce a mild venom originating from primitive venom glands. Although generally harmless towards humans, it is effective towards smaller-sized animals.

H/T Wikipedia

Who wouldn’t want one as a pet.. I’ve had one crawl all over me. They are very awesome pets even though they have their moments..

If— by Rudyard Kipling

Image result for if— by rudyard kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Coin

coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal or plastic used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order to facilitate trade. They are most often issued by a government.

Coins are usually metal or alloy, or sometimes made of synthetic materials. They are usually disc shaped. Coins made of valuable metal are stored in large quantities as bullion coins. Other coins are used as money in everyday transactions, circulating alongside banknotes. Usually the highest value coin in circulation (i.e. excluding bullion coins) is worth less than the lowest-value note. In the last hundred years, the face value of circulation coins has occasionally been lower than the value of the metal they contain, for example due to inflation. If the difference becomes significant, the issuing authority may decide to withdraw these coins from circulation, possibly issuing new equivalents with a different composition, or the public may decide to melt the coins down or hoard them (see Gresham’s law).

Exceptions to the rule of face value being higher than content value also occur for some bullion coins made of copper, silver, or gold (and, rarely, other metals, such as platinum or palladium), intended for collectors or investors in precious metals. Examples of modern gold collector/investor coins include the British sovereign minted by the United Kingdom, the American Gold Eagle minted by the United States, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf minted by Canada, and the Krugerrand, minted by South Africa. While the Eagle, Maple Leaf, and Sovereign coins have nominal (purely symbolic) face values, the Krugerrand does not.

Historically, a great quantity of coinage metals (including alloys) and other materials (e.g. porcelain) have been used to produce coins for circulation, collection, and metal investment: bullion coins often serve as more convenient stores of assured metal quantity and purity than other bullion.

Bullion and unmarked metals

An oxhide ingot from CreteLate Bronze Age metal ingots were given standard shapes, such as the shape of an “ox-hide”, suggesting that they represented standardized values.

Metal ingots, silver bullion or unmarked bars were probably in use for exchange among many of the civilizations that mastered metallurgy. The weight and purity of bullion would be the key determinant of value. In the Achaemenid Empire in the early 6th century BC, coinage was yet unknown, and barter and to some extent silver bullion was used instead for trade.[2] The practice of using silver bars for currency also seems to have been current in Central Asia from the 6th century BC.[3]

Coins were an evolution of “currency” systems of the Late Bronze Age, where standard-sized ingots, and tokens such as knife money, were used to store and transfer value. In the late Chinese Bronze Age, standardized cast tokens were made, such as those discovered in a tomb near Anyang.[4][5] These were replicas in bronze of earlier Chinese currency, cowrie shells, so they were named Bronze Shell.[6]

Lydian and Ionian electrum coins (circa 600 BC)

Coin of Alyattes of Lydia. Circa 620/10-564/53 BCE.

The earliest inscribed coinage: electrum coin of Phanes from Ephesus, 625–600 BC. Obverse: Stag grazing right, ΦΑΝΕΩΣ (retrograde). Reverse: Two incuse punches, each with raised intersecting lines.[7]

The earliest coins are mostly associated with Iron Age Anatolia of the late 7th century BC, and especially with the kingdom of Lydia.[8] Early electrum coins (a variable mix of gold and silver, typically with a ratio of about 54% gold to 44% silver) were not standardized in weight, and in their earliest stage may have been ritual objects, such as badges or medals, issued by priests.[9]The unpredictability of the composition of naturally occurring electrum implied that it had a variable value, which greatly hampered its development.[10]

Most of the early Lydian coins include no writing (“legend” or “inscription”), only an image of a symbolic animal. Therefore, the dating of these coins relies primarily on archaeological evidence, with the most commonly cited evidence coming from excavations at the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, also called the Ephesian Artemision (which would later evolve into one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), site of the earliest known deposit of electrum coins.[7] Because the oldest lion head “coins” were discovered in that temple, and they do not appear to have been used in commerce, these objects may not have been coins but badges or medals issued by the priests of that temple. Anatolian Artemis was the Πὀτνια Θηρῶν (Potnia Thêrôn, “Mistress of Animals”), whose symbol was the stag. It took some time before ancient coins were used for commerce and trade. Even the smallest-denomination electrum coins, perhaps worth about a day’s subsistence, would have been too valuable for buying a loaf of bread.[11] The first coins to be used for retailing on a large-scale basis were likely small silver fractions, Hemiobol, Ancient Greek coinage minted by the Ionian Greeks in the late sixth century BC.[12]

Many early Lydian and Greek coins were minted under the authority of private individuals and are thus more akin to tokens or badges than to modern coins,[13] though due to their numbers it is evident that some were official state issues. The earliest inscribed coins are those of Phanes, dated to 625–600 BC from Ephesus in Ionia, with the legend ΦΑΝΕΟΣ ΕΜΙ ΣΗΜΑ (or similar) (“I am the badge of Phanes”), or just bearing the name ΦΑΝΕΟΣ (“of Phanes”).

The first electrum coins issued by a monarch are those minted by king Alyattes of Lydia (died c. 560 BC), for which reason this king is sometimes mentioned as the originator of coinage.[14]

Croesus: Pure gold and silver coins

Croeseids

Gold Croeseid, minted by king Croesus circa 561–546 BCE. (10.7 grams, Sardis mint).

Silver Croeseid, minted by KING Croesus, circa 560–546 BCE (10.7 grams, Sardis mint)The gold and silver Croeseids formed the world’s first bimetallic monetary system circa 550 BCE.[10]

The successor of Alyattes, king Croesus (r. c. 560–546 BC), became associated with great wealth in Greek historiography. He is credited with issuing the Croeseid, the first true gold coins with a standardised purity for general circulation.[10] and the world’s first bimetallic monetary system circa 550 BCE.[10]

Herodotus mentioned the innovation made by the Lydians:[10]

So far as we have any knowledge, they [the Lydians] were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coins, and the first who sold goods by retail— Herodotus, I94[10]

Coins spread rapidly in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, leading to the development of Ancient Greek coinage and Achaemenid coinage, and further to Illyrian coinage.[15]

Standardized Roman currency was used throughout the Roman Empire. Important Roman gold and silver coins were continued into the Middle Ages (see Gold dinarSolidusAureusDenarius). Ancient and early medieval coins in theory had the value of their metal content, although there have been many instances throughout history of governments inflating their currencies by debasing the metal content of their coinage, so that the inferior coins were worth less in metal than their face value. Fiat moneyfirst arose in medieval China, with the jiaozi paper money. Early paper money was introduced in Europe in the later Middle Ages, but some coins continued to have the value of the gold or silver they contained throughout the Early Modern period. The penny was minted as a silver coin until the 17th century.

Achaemenid coinage (546–330 BCE)

Main article: Achaemenid coinage

The first type of Siglos (Type I: “King with bow and arrows”, upper body of the king only), from the time of Darius I. Circa 520–505 BC

Daric gold coin (c.490 BC), one of the most successful of Antiquity.

When Cyrus the Great (550–530 BC) came to power, coinage was unfamiliar in his realm. Barter and to some extent silver bullion was used instead for trade.[2] The practice of using silver bars for currency also seems to have been current in Central Asia from the 6th century.[16]

Cyrus the Great introduced coins to the Persian Empire after 546 BC, following his conquest of Lydiaand the defeat of its king Croesus, who had put in place the first coinage in history. With his conquest of Lydia, Cyrus acquired a region in which coinage was invented, developed through advanced metallurgy, and had already been in circulation for about 50 years, making the Lydian Kingdom one of the leading trade powers of the time.[2] It seems Cyrus initially adopted the Lydian coinage as such, and continued to strike Lydia’s lion-and-bull coinage.[2]

Original coins of the Achaemenid Empire were issued from 520 BCE – 450 BCE to 330 BCE. The Persian Daric was the first truly Achaemenid gold coin which, along with a similar silver coin, the Siglos, represented the bimetallic monetary standard of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.[17]

Coinage of Southern Asia under the Achaemenid Empire

See also: Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley and Coinage of India

A siglos found in the Kabul valley, 5th century BC. Coins of this type were also found in the Bhir Mound hoard.[18][19]

The Achaemenid Empire already reached the doors of India during the original expansion of Cyrus the Great, and the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley is dated to circa 515 BC under Darius I.[2] An Achaemenid administration was established in the area. The Kabul hoard, also called the Chaman Hazouri hoard,[20] is a coin hoard discovered in the vicinity of KabulAfghanistan, containing numerous Achaemenid coins as well as many Greek coins from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.[19] The deposit of the hoard is dated to the Achaemenid period, in approximately 380 BCE.[21] The hoard also contained many locally produced silver coins, minted by local authorities under Achaemenid rule.[22] Several of these issues follow the “western designs” of the facing bull heads, a stag, or Persian column capitals on the obverse, and incuse punch on the reverse.[22][23]

According to numismatist Joe Cribb, these finds suggest that the idea of coinage and the use of punch-marked techniques was introduced to India from the Achaemenid Empire during the 4th century BCE.[24] More Achaemenid coins were also found in Pushkalavati and in Bhir Mound.[25]

  • Punch-marked coin minted in the Kabul Valley under Achaemenid administration. Circa 500–380 BC, or c.350 BCE.[26][19]
  • Gandharan “bent-bar” punch-marked coin minted under Achaemenid administration, of the type found in large quantities in the Chaman Hazouri and the Bhir Mound hoards.
  • Early punch-marked coins of Gandhara. TaxilaGandhara region.

Indian coins (circa 400 BC–100 CE)

Main article: Punch-marked_coins § Indian_punch-marked_coinsSee also: Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley and Coinage of India

Hoard of mostly Maurya Empirecoins, 3rd century BC.

The Karshapana is the earliest punch-marked coin found in India, produced from at least the mid-4th century BC, and possibly as early as 575 BC,[27] influenced by similar coins produced in Gandhara under the Achaemenid empire, such as those of the Kabul hoard,[28] or other examples found at Pushkalavati and in Bhir Mound.[25]

Greek Archaic coinage (until about 480 BC)

Further information: Archaic period of ancient Greek coinage

Silver stater of Aegina, 550–530 BC. Obv. Sea turtle with large pellets down centre. Rev. incuse square punch with eight sections.

Athens coin (circa 500/490–485 BCE) discovered in the Shaikhan Dehri hoard in PushkalavatiAncient India. This coin is the earliest known example of its type to be found so far east.[29]

According to Aristotle (fr. 611,37, ed. V. Rose) and Pollux (Onamastikon IX.83), the first issuer of Greek coinage was Hermodike of Kyme.[30]

A small percentage of early Lydian/Greek coins have a legend.[31] A famous early electrum coin, the most ancient inscribed coin at present known, is from nearby Caria. This coin has a Greek legend reading phaenos emi sema[32] interpreted variously as “I am the badge of Phanes”, or “I am the sign of light”,[33] or “I am the tomb of light”, or “I am the tomb of Phanes”. The coins of Phanes are known to be amongst the earliest of Greek coins, a hemihekte of the issue was found in the foundation deposit of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos (the oldest deposit of electrum coins discovered). One assumption is that Phanes was a wealthy merchant, another that this coin is associated with Apollo-Phanes and, due to the Deer, with Artemis (twin sister of the god of light Apollo-Phaneos). Although only seven Phanes type coins were discovered, it is also notable that 20% of all early electrum coins also have the lion of Artemis and the sun burst of Apollo-Phaneos.

Alternatively, Phanes may have been the Halicarnassian mercenary of Amasis mentioned by Herodotus, who escaped to the court of Cambyses, and became his guide in the invasion of Egypt in 527 or 525 BC. According to Herodotus, this Phanes was buried alive by a sandstorm, together with 50,000 Persian soldiers, while trying to conquer the temple of AmunZeus in Egypt.[34] The fact that the Greek word “Phanes” also means light (or lamp), and the word “sema” also means tomb makes this coin a famous and controversial one.[35]

Another candidate for the site of the earliest coins is Aegina, where Chelone (“turtle”) coins were first minted circa 700 BC.[36]Coins from Athens and Corinth appeared shortly thereafter, known to exist at least since the late 6th century BC.[37]

  • Coin of Phaselis, Lycia. Circa 550–530/20 BC.
  • Coin of Lycia. Circa 520–470/60 BC
  • Lycia coin. Circa 520-470 BC. Struck with worn obverse die.[38]
  • Coin of LesbosIonia. Circa 510–80 BC.

Classical Greek antiquity (480 BC~)

Tetradrachm of Athens
(c. 454–404 BC)
Obverse: a portrait of Athena, patron goddess of the city, in helmet
Reverse: the owl of Athens, with an olive sprig and the inscription “ΑΘΕ”, short for ΑΘΕΝΑΙΟΝ, “of the Athenians

Syracusan tetradrachm
(c. 415–405 BC)
Obverse: head of the nymphArethusa, surrounded by four swimming dolphins and a rudder
Reverse: a racing quadriga, its charioteer crowned by the goddess Victory in flight.Further information: Ancient Greek coinage and Illyrian coinage

The Classical period saw Greek coinage reach a high level of technical and aesthetic quality. Larger cities now produced a range of fine silver and gold coins, most bearing a portrait of their patron god or goddess or a legendary hero on one side, and a symbol of the city on the other. Some coins employed a visual pun: some coins from Rhodes featured a rose, since the Greek word for rose is rhodon. The use of inscriptions on coins also began, usually the name of the issuing city.

The wealthy cities of Sicily produced some especially fine coins. The large silver decadrachm (10-drachm) coin from Syracuse is regarded by many collectors as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, perhaps ever. Syracusan issues were rather standard in their imprints, one side bearing the head of the nymph Arethusa and the other usually a victorious quadriga. The tyrants of Syracuse were fabulously rich, and part of their public relations policy was to fund quadrigas for the Olympic chariot race, a very expensive undertaking. As they were often able to finance more than one quadriga at a time, they were frequent victors in this highly prestigious event. Syracuse was one of the epicenters of numismatic art during the classical period. Led by the engravers Kimon and Euainetos, Syracuse produced some of the finest coin designs of antiquity.

Amongst the first centers to produce coins during the Greek colonization of mainland Southern Italy (Magna Graecia) were PaestumCrotoneSybarisCauloniaMetapontum, and Taranto. These ancient cities started producing coins from 550BC to 510BC.[39][40]

Apparition of dynastic portraiture (5th century BC)

The Achaemenid EmpireSatrapsand Dynasts in Asia Minor developed the usage of portraiture from circa 420 BC. Portrait of the Satrap of LydiaTissaphernes (c.445 BC–395 BC).

Although many of the first coins illustrated the images of various gods, the first portraiture of actual rulers appears with the coinage of Lycia in the 5th century BC.[41][42] No ruler had dared illustrating his own portrait on coinage until that time.[42] The Achaemenids had been the first to illustrate the person of their king or a hero in a stereotypical manner, showing a bust or the full body but never an actual portrait, on their Sigloi and Daric coinage from circa 500 BC.[42][43][44] A slightly earlier candidate for the first portrait is Themistocles, the Athenian general, who became a Governor of Magnesia on the Meander circa 465–459 BC for the Achaemenid Empire,[45] although there is some doubt that his coins may have represented Zeus rather than himself.[46] Themistocles may have been in a unique position in which he could transfer the notion of individual portraiture, already current in the Greek world, and at the same time wield the dynastic power of an Achaemenid dynast who could issue his own coins and illustrate them as he wished.[47] From the time of Alexander the Great, portraiture of the issuing ruler would then become a standard, generalized, feature of coinage.[42]

  • Coin of Themistocles as Governor of Magnesia. Obv: Barley grain. Rev: Possible portrait of Themistocles. Circa 465–459 BC.[48]
  • Portrait of Lycian ruler Kherei wearing the Persian cap on the reverse of his coins (ruled 410–390 BC).
  • Portrait of Lycian ruler Erbbina wearing the Persian cap on the reverse of his coins (ruled 390–380 BC).
  • Portrait of Lycian ruler Perikles facing (ruled 380-360 BC).

Chinese round coins (350 BC~)

Main article: Ancient Chinese coinage

Chinese round coins, Eastern Zhou dynasty – Warring States Period. Circa 300–220 BC. Four Hua (四化, 30mm, 6.94 g). Legend Yi Si Hua ([City of] Yi Four Hua).

In China, early round coins appeared in the 4th century BC and were adopted for all China by Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di at the end of 3rd century BC.[49] The round coin, the precursor of the familiar cash coin, circulated in both the spade and knife money areas in the Zhou period, from around 350 BC. Apart from two small and presumably late coins from the State of Qin, coins from the spade money area have a round hole and refer to the jin and liang units. Those from the knife money area have a square hole and are denominated in hua (化).

Although for discussion purposes the Zhou coins are divided up into categories of knives, spades, and round coins, it is apparent from archaeological finds that most of the various kinds circulated together. A hoard found in 1981, near Hebi in north Henan province, consisted of: 3,537 Gong spades, 3 Anyi arched foot spades, 8 Liang Dang Lie spades, 18 Liang square foot spades and 1,180 Yuan round coins, all contained in three clay jars.

Hellenistic period (320 BC – 30 AD)

Further information: Ptolemaic coinageSeleucid coinage, and Indo-Greek coinage

Poshumous Alexander the Great tetradrachm from

Posthumous Alexander the Great tetradrachm from Temnos, Aeolis. Dated 188–170 BC. Obverse: Alexander the Great as Herakles facing right wearing the nemean lionskin. Reverse: Zeus seated on throne to the left holding eagle in right hand and scepter in left; in left field PA monogram and angular sigma above grape vine arching over oinochoe; ALEXANDROU vertical in right field. Reference: Price 1678.

The Hellenistic period was characterized by the spread of Greek culture across a large part of the known world. Greek-speaking kingdoms were established in Egypt and Syria, and for a time also in Iran and as far east as what is now Afghanistan and northwestern India. Greek traders spread Greek coins across this vast area, and the new kingdoms soon began to produce their own coins. Because these kingdoms were much larger and wealthier than the Greek city states of the classical period, their coins tended to be more mass-produced, as well as larger, and more frequently in gold. They often lacked the aesthetic delicacy of coins of the earlier period.

Still, some of the Greco-Bactrian coins, and those of their successors in India, the Indo-Greeks, are considered the finest examples of Greek numismatic art with “a nice blend of realism and idealization”, including the largest coins to be minted in the Hellenistic world: the largest gold coin was minted by Eucratides (reigned 171–145 BC), the largest silver coin by the Indo-Greek king Amyntas Nikator (reigned c. 95–90 BC). The portraits “show a degree of individuality never matched by the often bland depictions of their royal contemporaries further West” (Roger Ling, “Greece and the Hellenistic World”).

Roman period (290 BC~)

Further information: Roman currencyRoman Republican currencyAureusSolidus (coin)DenariusAntoninianus, and Sestertius

O: Bearded head of Mars with Corinthian helmet left.R: Horse head right, grain ear behind.
The first Roman silver coin, 281 BC. Crawford 13/1

Coinage followed Greek colonization and influence first around the Mediterranean and soon after to North Africa (including Egypt), Syria, Persia, and the Balkans.[51] Coins came late to the Roman Republic compared with the rest of the Mediterranean, especially Greece and Asia Minor where coins were invented in the 7th century BC. The currency of central Italy was influenced by its natural resources, with bronze being abundant (the Etruscans were famous metal workers in bronze and iron) and silver ore being scarce. The coinage of the Roman Republic started with a few silver coins apparently devised for trade with the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, and heavy cast bronze pieces for use in Central Italy. The first Roman coins, which were crude, heavy cast bronzes, were issued c. 289 BC.[52]

Middle Ages

Further information: Byzantine mintsVisigothic coinageCoinage in Anglo-Saxon EnglandMedieval Bulgarian coinageGold dinarCoinage of the Republic of VenicePortuguese dinheiroSceat, and PfennigFurther information: History of the English penny (c. 600 – 1066)Japanese mon (currency), and Reichsmünzordnung

The first European coin to use Arabic numerals to date the year in which the coin was minted was the St. Gall silver Plappart of 1424.[53]

Value

Five million mark coin (Weimar Republic, 1923). Despite its high denomination, this coin’s monetaryvalue dropped to a tiny fraction of a US cent by the end of 1923, substantially less than the value of its metallic content.

An unusual copper coin of King 
George IV of Georgia with 
Georgian inscriptions, 1210

silver coin made during the reign of the Mughal EmperorAlamgir II

Currency

Main article: Currency

Most coins presently are made of a base metal, and their value comes from their status as fiat money. This means that the value of the coin is decreed by government fiat (law), and thus is determined by the free market only in as much as national currencies are used in domestic trade and also traded internationally on foreign exchange markets. Thus, these coins are monetary tokens, just as paper currency is: they are usually not backed by metal, but rather by some form of government guarantee. Some have suggested that such coins not be considered to be “true coins” (see below). Thus, there is very little economic difference between notes and coins of equivalent face value.

Coins may be in circulation with fiat values lower than the value of their component metals, but they are never initially issued with such value, and the shortfall only arises over time due to inflation, as market values for the metal overtake the fiat declared face value of the coin. Examples are the pre-1965 US dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar (nominally containing slightly less than a tenth, quarter, half, and full ounce of silver, respectively), US nickel, and pre-1982 US penny. As a result of the increase in the value of copper, the United States greatly reduced the amount of copper in each penny. Since mid-1982, United States pennies are made of 97.5% zinc, with the remaining 2.5% being a coating of copper. Extreme differences between fiat values and metal values of coins cause coins to be hoarded or removed from circulation by illicit smelters in order to realise the value of their metal content. This is an example of Gresham’s law. The United States Mint, in an attempt to avoid this, implemented new interim rules on December 14, 2006, subject to public comment for 30 days, which criminalized the melting and export of pennies and nickels.[54] Violators can be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years.

Collector’s item

Main article: Numismatics

A coin’s value as a collector’s item or as an investment generally depends on its condition, specific historical significance, rarity, quality, beauty of the design and general popularity with collectors. If a coin is greatly lacking in all of these, it is unlikely to be worth much. The value of bullion coins is also influenced to some extent by those factors, but is largely based on the value of their gold, silver, or platinum content. Sometimes non-monetized bullion coins such as the Canadian Maple Leaf and the American Gold Eagle are minted with nominal face values less than the value of the metal in them, but as such coins are never intended for circulation, these face values have no relevance.

Collector catalogs often include information about coins to assists collectors with identifying and grading. Additional resources can be found online for collectors These are collector clubs, collection management tools, marketplaces[55], trading platforms, and forums,

Medium of expression

Coins can be used as creative medium of expression – from fine art sculpture to the penny machines that can be found in most amusement parks. In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in the United States there are some regulations specific to nickels and pennies that are informative on this topic. 31 CFR § 82.1 forbids unauthorized persons from exporting, melting, or treating any 5 or 1 cent coins.

This has been a particular problem with nickels and dimes (and with some comparable coins in other currencies) because of their relatively low face value and unstable commodity prices. For a while,[when?] the copper in US pennies was worth more than one cent, so people would hoard pennies and then melt them down for their metal value. It cost more than face value to manufacture pennies or nickels, so any widespread loss of the coins in circulation could be expensive for the US Treasury. This was more of a problem when coins were still made of precious metals like silver and gold, so strict laws against alteration make more sense historically.

31 CFR § 82.2 goes on to state that: “(b) The prohibition contained in § 82.1 against the treatment of 5-cent coins and one-cent coins shall not apply to the treatment of these coins for educational, amusement, novelty, jewelry, and similar purposes as long as the volumes treated and the nature of the treatment makes it clear that such treatment is not intended as a means by which to profit solely from the value of the metal content of the coins.”

Debasement and clipping

Main article: Debasement

Swissten-cent coin from 1879, similar to the oldest coins still in official use today

Alexander the Great Tetradrachm from the Temnos Mint

Alexander the Great Tetradrachm from the Temnos Mint, dated circa 188–170 BC

Throughout history, monarchs and governments have often created more coinage than their supply of precious metals would allow if the coins were pure metal. By replacing some fraction of a coin’s precious metal content with a base metal (often copper or nickel), the intrinsic value of each individual coin was reduced (thereby “debasing” the money), allowing the coining authority to produce more coins than would otherwise be possible. Debasement occasionally occurs in order to make the coin physically harder and therefore less likely to be worn down as quickly, but the more usual reason is to profit from the difference between face value and metal value. Debasement of money almost always leads to price inflation. Sometimes price controls are at the same time also instituted by the governing authority, but historically these have generally proved unworkable.

The United States is unusual in that it has only slightly modified its coinage system (except for the images and symbols on the coins, which have changed a number of times) to accommodate two centuries of inflation. The one-cent coin has changed little since 1856 (though its composition was changed in 1982 to remove virtually all copper from the coin) and still remains in circulation, despite a greatly reduced purchasing power. On the other end of the spectrum, the largest coin in common circulation is valued at 25 cents, a very low value for the largest denomination coin compared to many other countries. Increases in the prices of copper, nickel, and zinc meant that both the US one- and five-cent coins became worth more for their raw metal content than their face (fiat) value. In particular, copper one-cent pieces (those dated prior to 1982 and some 1982-dated coins) contained about two cents’ worth of copper.

Some denominations of circulating coins that were formerly minted in the United States are no longer made. These include coins with a face value of a half cent, two cents, three cents, and twenty cents. (The half dollar and dollar coins are still produced, but mostly for vending machines and collectors.) In the past, the US also coined the following denominations for circulation in gold: One dollar, $2.50, three dollars, five dollars, ten dollars, and twenty dollars. In addition, cents were originally slightly larger than the modern quarter and weighed nearly half an ounce, while five-cent coins (known then as “half dimes”) were smaller than a dime and made of a silver alloy. Dollar coins were also much larger, and weighed approximately an ounce. One-dollar gold coins are no longer produced and rarely used. The US also issues bullion and commemorative coins with the following denominations: 50¢, $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100.

Circulating coins commonly suffered from “shaving” or “clipping”: the public would cut off small amounts of precious metal from their edges to sell it and then pass on the mutilated coins at full value.[56] Unmilled British sterling silver coins were sometimes reduced to almost half their minted weight. This form of debasement in TudorEngland was commented on by Sir Thomas Gresham, whose name was later attached to Gresham’s law. The monarch would have to periodically recall circulating coins, paying only the bullion value of the silver, and reminting them. This, also known as recoinage, is a long and difficult process that was done only occasionally.[57]Many coins have milled or reeded edges, originally designed to make it easier to detect clipping.

Other uses

See also: Exonumia

Some convicted criminals from the British Isles who were sentenced to transportation to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries used coins to leave messages of remembrance to loved ones left behind in Britain. The coins were defaced, smoothed and inscribed, either by stippling or engraving, with sometimes touching words of loss. These coins were called “convict love tokens” or “leaden hearts”.[58] A number of these tokens are in the collection of the National Museum of Australia.

Features of modern coins

Coins can be stacked.

1884 United States trade dollar

French 1992 twenty Franc Tri-Metallic coin

Bimetallic Egyptian one pound coin featuring King Tutankhamen

The side of a coin carrying an image of a monarch, other authority (see List of people on coins), or a national emblem is called the obverse (colloquially, heads); the other side, carrying various types of information, is called the reverse (colloquially, tails). The year of minting is usually shown on the obverse, although some Chinese coins, most Canadian coins, the pre-2008 British 20p coin, the post-1999 American quarter, and all Japanese coins are exceptions.

The relation of the images on the obverse and reverse of a coin is the coin’s orientation. Suppose the image on the obverse of the coin is right side up; if you turn the coin left or right on its horizontal axis, and the reverse of the coin is also right side up, then the coin is said to have medallic orientation—typical of the Euro and pound sterling; if, however, turning the coin left or right shows that the reverse image is upside down, then the coin is said to have coin orientation, characteristic of the United States dollar coin.

Bimetallic coins are sometimes used for higher values and for commemorative purposes. In the 1990s, France used a tri-metallic coin. Common circulating bimetallic examples include the €1€2British £1£2 and Canadian $2 and several peso coins in Mexico.

The exergue is the space on a coin beneath the main design, often used to show the coin’s date, although it is sometimes left blank or containing a mint markprivy mark, or some other decorative or informative design feature. Many coins do not have an exergue at all, especially those with few or no legends, such as the Victorian bun penny.

Russian rubles coin minted in 2008

Not all coins are round; they come in a variety of shapes. The Australian 50-cent coin, for example, has twelve flat sides. Some coins have wavy edges, e.g. the $2 and 20-cent coins of Hong Kong and the 10-cent coins of Bahamas. Some are square-shaped, such as the 15-cent coin of the Bahamas and the 50-cent coin from Aruba. During the 1970s, Swazi coins were minted in several shapes, including squares, polygons, and wavy edged circles with 8 and 12 waves.

  • Scalloped coin of Israel
  • 1996 one cent coin from Belize
  • 2005 Bahamas 15 cent coin is square with rounded corners
  • Decagonal two Piso Philippine coin 1990

Some other coins, like the British 20 and 50 pence coins and the Canadian Loonie, have an odd number of sides, with the edges rounded off. This way the coin has a constant diameter, recognisable by vending machines whichever direction it is inserted.

A triangular coin with a face value of £5 (produced to commemorate the 2007/2008 Tutankhamun exhibition at The O2 Arena) was commissioned by the Isle of Man: it became legal tender on 6 December 2007.[59] Other triangular coins issued earlier include: Cabindacoin, Bermuda coin, 2 Dollar Cook Islands 1992 triangular coin, Uganda Millennium Coin and Polish Sterling-Silver 10-Zloty Coin.

Some mediaeval coins, called bracteates, were so thin they were struck on only one side.

Many coins over the years have been manufactured with integrated holes such as Chinese “cash” coins, Japanese coins, Colonial French coins, etc. This may have been done to permit their being strung on cords, to facilitate storage and being carried.

  • 1917 French coin with integrated hole
  • Chinese cash coin, 1102–1106
  • 1941 Palestine coin
  • Modern-day Japanese 5-yen coin
  • 1924 East African coin

Holographic coin from Liberia

The Royal Canadian Mint is now able to produce holographic-effect gold and silver coinage. However, this procedure is not limited to only bullion or commemorative coinage. The 500 yen coin from Japan was subject to a massive amount of counterfeiting. The Japanese government in response produced a circulatory coin with a holographic image.

The Royal Canadian Mint has also released several coins that are coloured, the first of which was in commemoration of Remembrance Day. The subject was a coloured poppy on the reverse of a 25-cent piece minted through a patented process.[60]

An example of non-metallic composite coins (sometimes incorrectly called plastic coins) was introduced into circulation in Transnistriaon 22 August 2014. Most of these coins are also non-circular, with different shapes corresponding to different coin values.[61]

For a list of many pure metallic elements and their alloys which have been used in actual circulation coins and for trial experiments, see coinage metals.[62]

Physics and chemistry

Flipping

Main article: Coin flipping

To flip a coin to see whether it lands heads or tails is to use it as a two-sided dice in what is known in mathematics as a Bernoulli trial: if the probability of heads (in the parlance of Bernoulli trials, a “success”) is exactly 0.5, the coin is fair.

Spinning

Further information: Euler’s Disk

Coins can also be spun on a flat surface such as a table. This results in the following phenomenon: as the coin falls over and rolls on its edge, it spins faster and faster (formally, the precession rate of the symmetry axis of the coin, i.e., the axis passing from one face of the coin to the other) before coming to an abrupt stop. This is mathematically modeled as a finite-time singularity – the precession rate is accelerating to infinity, before it suddenly stops, and has been studied using high speed photography and devices such as Euler’s Disk. The slowing down is predominantly caused by rolling friction (air resistance is minor), and the singularity (divergence of the precession rate) can be modeled as a power law with exponent approximately −1/3.[63]

Odor

Iron and copper coins have a characteristic metallic smell that is produced upon contact with oils in the skin. Perspiration is chemically reduced upon contact with these metals, which causes the skin oils to decompose, forming with iron the volatile molecule 1-octen-3-one.[64]

Regional examples

Philippines

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The Piloncitos are tiny engraved gold coins found in the Philippines, along with the barter rings, which are gold ring-like ingots. These barter rings are bigger than doughnuts in size and are made of pure gold from the Archaic period (c. 10th to 16th century).[65]

Piloncitos are small engraved gold coins found in the Phillipines. Some piloncitos are of the size of a corn kernel and weigh from 0.09 to 2.65 grams of fine gold. Piloncitos have been excavated from MandaluyongBataan, the banks of the Pasig RiverBatangasMarinduqueSamarLeyte and some areas in Mindanao. They have been found in large numbers in Indonesianarchaeological sites leading to questions of origin such as whether they were made in the Philippines or imported. However. many Spanish accounts state that the gold coins are mined and labored in the Philippines, such as the following in 1586:

“The people of this island (Luzon) are very skillful in their handling of gold. They weigh it with the greatest skill and delicacy that have ever been seen. The first thing they teach their children is the knowledge of gold and the weights with which they weigh it, for there is no other money among them.

H/T Wikipedia

Grand Canyon

Image result for grand canyon

The Grand Canyon (HopiOngtupqa; YavapaiWi:kaʼi:laNavajoBidááʼ Haʼaztʼiʼ TsékoohSpanishGran Cañón) is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in ArizonaUnited States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).[

The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National ForestGrand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.

Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago.[ Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.

For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.

H/T Wikipedia to read more…..

Gold reserve

Image result for the amount of gold ever mined

gold reserve was the gold held by a national central bank, intended mainly as a guarantee to redeem promises to pay depositors, note holders (e.g. paper money), or trading peers, during the eras of the gold standard, and also as a store of value, or to support the value of the national currency.

The World Gold Council estimates that all the gold ever mined totaled 187,200 metric tons in 2017[1] but other independent estimates vary by as much as 20%.[2] At a price of US$1,250 per troy ounce, reached on 16 August 2017, one ton of gold has a value of approximately US$40.2 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$7.5 trillion at that valuation and using WGC 2017 estimates.

Wartime relevance

During most of history, a nation’s gold reserves were considered its key financial asset and a major prize of war.

A typical view was expressed in a secret memorandum by the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff from October 1939, at the beginning of World War II. The British Military and the British Secret Service laid out “measures to be taken in the event of an invasion of Holland and Belgium by Germany” and presented them to the War Cabinet:

It will be for the Treasury in collaboration with the Bank of England, and the Foreign Office, to examine the possible means of getting the bullion and negotiable securities into the same place of safety. The transport of many hundreds of tons of bullion presents a difficult problem and the loading would take a long time. The ideal would of course be to have the gold transferred to this country or to the United States of America. […] The gold reserves of Belgium and Holland amount to about £70 million and £110 million respectively. [Foot]Note: H. M. Treasury has particularly requested that this information, which is highly confidential should in no circumstances be divulged. The total weight of this bullion amounts to about 1800 tons and its evacuation would be a matter of the utmost importance would present a considerable problem if it had to be undertaken in a hurry when transport facilities were disorganized. At present this gold is believed to be stored at Brussels and The Hague respectively, neither of which is very well placed for its rapid evacuation in an emergency.[3]

The Belgian government transferred one third of its gold reserves to the UK, another third to Canada and the United States and most of the remainder to southern France. Following the outbreak of war, the gold held in France was sent to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, then part of the French colonial empire. This was against the Belgian Government’s wishes, with the Belgians having directed the French to transfer it to the United States. After the Germans occupied Belgium and France in 1940, they demanded the Belgian gold reserve held in Senegal. In 1941, Vichy French officials arranged the transport of 4,944 boxes with 198 tons of gold to officials of the German Reichsbank and the German Government used it to purchase commodities and munitions from neutral countries. The Banque de France fully compensated the Belgian National Bank for the loss of its gold after the war.[4]

IMF holdings

Since early 2011, the gold holdings of the IMF have been constant at 90.5 million troy ounces (2,814.1 metric tons).[5]

Officially reported holdings

The IMF regularly maintains statistics of national assets as reported by various countries.[6] This data is used by the World Gold Council to periodically rank and report the gold holdings of countries and official organizations.

On 17 July 2015, China announced that it increased its gold reserves by about 57 percent from 1,054 to 1,658 metric tons, while disclosing its official gold reserves for the first time in six years.

The True Meaning Of Life © Pat A. Fleming

Image result for poems about life

The Years have passed by,
In the blink of an eye,
Moments of sadness,
And joy has flown by.

People I loved,
Have come and have gone,
But the world never stopped,
And we all carried on.

Life wasn’t easy,
And the struggles were there,
Filled with times that it mattered,
Times I just didn’t care.

I stood on my own,
And I still found my way,
Through some nights filled with tears,
And the dawn of new days.

And now with old age,
It’s become very clear,
Things I once found important,
Were not why I was here.

And how many things,
That I managed to buy,
Were never what made me,
Feel better inside.

And the worries and fears,
That plagued me each day,
In the end of it all,
Would just fade away.

But how much I reached out,
To others when needed,
Would be the true measure,
Of how I succeeded.

And how much I shared,
Of my soul and my heart,
Would ultimately be,
What set me apart.

And what’s really important,
Is my opinion of me,
And whether or not,
I’m the best I can be.

And how much more kindness,
And love I can show,
Before the Lord tells me,
It’s my time to go.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-true-meaning-of-life

Diamond

You probably already know of the diamond’s toughness. In fact, it’s the hardest gemstone and is made of just one element: carbon.

Its structure makes it 58 times harder than anything in nature and can only be cut with another diamond. While it’s become nearly synonymous with wedding engagements, it’s also the perfect stone for individuals who want something that’s just as appropriate for everyday wear as it is for special occasions.

Diamonds come in several colors, including yellow, red, pink, blue, and green, and range in intensity from faint to vivid. Generally speaking, the more saturated the color, the higher the value.

In fact, diamonds sparkling with intense color are rare and may be priced higher than a colorless diamond of equal size. Because fancy-color diamonds are very desirable, color is sometimes introduced in a laboratory. These are correctly called color-treated diamonds.

Its unique physical properties means it has the best possible luster of any gemstone when cut and polished well. So if you’re in the market for “sparkle,” the diamond is the gemstone for you

Diamonds have been admired for centuries, and some historians estimate it was traded as early as 4 BC. One of the reasons it is so admired and valued is because of the process by which a diamond must be formed well below the earth’s crust, then forced upward until it is uncovered.

But before this process was understood, many ancient civilizations believed that diamonds were lighting made real on earth. Perhaps this is the reason that diamonds have often been associated with great healing powers. Many thought the diamond could cure brain disease, alleviate pituitary gland disorders and draw toxins from the blood.

Historically, the diamond first became a popular gemstone in India, when the Moghuls and Imperial Colony easily mined diamonds from deposits along three major rivers. Today, the diamond is most widely known as the stone to give as part of an engagement ring.

Throughout history, however, the diamond has nearly always symbolized eternal and lasting love. So whether you’re getting engaged, or simply want to give yourself a truly meaningful gift, the diamond has both beauty and enduring symbolism.