The reasons that led to the development of coins are not yet fully understood today. There are strong indications that the Lydians earn the merit of having been the first to use a standardized coinage. They lived in the 6th century BC in Asia Minor, today's western Turkey. The oldest coins in Lydia consisted of electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver.
The coinage of the Lydians caused a boom in the surrounding regions: soon the Ionian Greeks took up the invention and started their own coinage. Their early coins were strongly influenced by the Lydian archetypes, which can be seen in the coin motifs as well as in the use of electrum as coin metal. The early Lydian coins showed an attacking lion on their obverse, the emblem of the Lydian kings. However, the lion was also the emblem of the Ionian city of Miletus, whose coins thus depicted the lion as well.