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Bullion coins are best known throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. However, you can find some earlier examples such as the Middle Eastern silver shekel of Tyre from 126 B.C. through 69 A.D. The Spanish Eight Reale, used throughout the world as well as the United States from the 1800's until 1857, is another early bullion coin.
The first bullion coins of the United States were the silver Trade Dollars, which came out in 1873 through 1876. These first US bullion coins were a response to China's preference for trading with the Eight Reales. More recently, the South African Krugerrand came out in 1967. These gold coins were the first bullion coins of modern day times. The South African Krugerrand had no other competitor on the market which was similar and soon became the most popular gold bullion coin available.