In the most remote times when trade was already flourishing, the majority of exchanges were made by bartering. The first means of exchange were pieces of copper or unrefined silver. In the archaic period, when the economy was based essentially on bartering, the few coins that circulated were Greek.
The systematic minting of coins began in the mid 5th century BC and was concentrated in Populonia, in correspondence with the richest mining area of the whole of Etruria. Only towards the end of the 4th century BC, following the Roman example, did the first coins of melted and minted bronze appear.