a silver-copper alloy containing less than 50 percent silver.
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Billon. This term is applied to coins of silver mixed with much copper alloy, or to copper with a small alloy of silver. From the reign of Gallienus to that of Claudius II (ad 253 to 270), almost all the coins were made of billon. Some of them were first struck on copper alone, and afterwards covered with a thin silver coating; and in that case they are called saucees or washed coins; others have a leaf of silver struck upon the copper, and these are fourrees or plated coins.
On this subject M. Hennin makes the following remarks: From and after the reign of Claudius II, coinages of billon are no longer found. The standard of silver having been successively lowered, the money, which replaced that of this metal, proves under the above mentioned emperor, to be of silvered copper. In almost all such pieces, the effects of friction, and of time, have removed this covering, which appears only on those coins in the best state of preservation. The coins of Claudius II, and of the reigns, as far as Diocletian, which have been published as of billon, are but pieces of washed copper. Those of the same reigns described as being of silver are false. Manuel - Nomenclature, |ii| 440. See the word Potin.