It will be argued here that the aureus had a much higher velocity of circulation than Duncan-Jones and others gave it credit for.
The data underpinning the notion that the aureus was low velocity coin comes from Duncan-Jones’ comparison of the weight loss of aurei from his “Belgian Hoard” with the weight loss of the English sovereign. A similar rate of wear to the sovereign, which was alloyed for hardness, was used to present the aureus as ‘low velocity.’
Here over 3000 individual weights of aurei from seven hoards will be compared against 11 mint surveys conducted for the English sovereign and other 19th-century gold coins. Not only does the aureus have a rate of wear that is over double that of Duncan-Jones’ original estimate, but one that is well in excess of these modern gold coins. For a gold coin, then, the aureus appears to be relatively high-velocity.