a small-denomination devalued metallic coin whose face value exceeds the value of its metal content and its minting expense. It is a replacement for gold and is, in the final analysis, a sign of value. Used mainly in the retail trade, the billion coin fulfills only the function of a means of exchange and, to a limited extent, of a means of payment. Since 1933 only billon coins have been put into circulation by all countries.
Billon coins are minted from low-grade silver and from copper, nickel, aluminum, and other metals. The minting of billon coins, in contrast to minting coins of full value, brings the state a monetary profit and is a closed minting—that is, it is produced from metal belonging to the state. The release of billon coins is limited by the exigencies of monetary circulation, and their distribution among coins of various denominations and their maximum wear limits are decided on the basis of practical experience. The release of billon coins is strictly limited by the requirements of monetary circulation. In tsarist Russia, the release of billon coins was limited to 3 rubles per capita. In the USSR, small-denomination coins are produced from nonprecious metals in denominations of 1 ruble and 50, 20, 15, 10, 5, 3, 2, and 1 kopek.
M. IU. BORTNIK