Ancient Greece: 2,500 years ago, each Greek city-state had developed its own coinage. Each Greek city-state had banks where visiting traders could exchange their coins for Greek coins, coins they would then use to buy and sell in the great Greek marketplaces. The Greeks designed their coins with pictures of their gods and goddesses. But the Greeks were the first civilization to use pictures of real people on their coins. The first was Alexander the Great, back around 325 BCE. As time went on, the Greeks created bigger coins, each designed to commemorate a special event.
Ancient Rome: The ancient Romans thought the use of coins was really clever. They did what they always did when they found something clever - they copied it. At first, the Romans put pictures of gods and goddesses on their coins, an idea they borrowed from the ancient Greeks. Pretty soon, they began to put pictures of buildings on their coins. They were the first to add symbols like stars and eagles on their coins. Some of their coins pictured current emperors. These coins were supposed to help make an emperor popular.
Ancient Counterfeit Coins: There were crooks who chipped away at the edges of coins to get extra metal. If you were caught "chipping" coins in ancient times, the punishment was usually death. In spite of the risks, one gang who lived in ancient England distributed over 1600 fake coins to the Roman legionnaries who invaded their country!