state income gained through the minting of coins. Such revenue represents the difference between the nominal value of devalued coins and the market value of the metal actually contained in them, with allowance made for the cost of minting.
In slaveholding and feudal societies, mint revenue was an important component of state revenue. Such revenue was increased through further debasement of the coinage. For example, the weight of the Russian silver ruble changed nine times between the 14th and 18th centuries and was decreased by almost 12 times. In addition, the standard for the ruble was decreased from 84 to 70 parts of pure silver per coin.
Mint revenue is produced only by minting devalued (billon) coins. In Russia the silver coin worth 1 ruble contained silver worth only 60–70 kopecks, while the 20 kopeck piece contained just 7–7.6 kopecks’ worth. The nominal value of copper coinage was more than four times its market value.
In modern capitalist countries, coins constitute a relatively small part of the total supply of money in circulation—for example, less than one-tenth in the United States. As a result, mint revenue does not play a significant part in the revenue of capitalist states.