Archeology Culture Weird

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness.

The more of it one has the more one wants.

Benjamin Franklin

What would you do if a person offers you salt in the form of currency instead of coins and paper money that we deal with? You will sure be amazed, but in the ancient times, people assigned monetary value to a wide variety of objects as ancient currencies. While most wouldn’t be practical today, they still serve as a reminder of these ancient cultures and their richly diverse customs.

Here is a list of 10 most bizarre forms of currency that we don’t use today.

1 – Dolphin Teeth

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

Dolphin teeth were the traditional currency of Salmon Islands. In 2008, their currency devalued, so some of them went back to dealing in Dolphin Teeth as currency. In January 2013, Malaita villagers butchered up to 900 bottlenose dolphins, making a huge news, thanks to the conservation dispute.

2 – Squirrel Pelts

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

Fur pelts have been used in many places for bater since the ancient times. Russia and Finland, in the medieval era, presented squirrels with pelts as a form of currency. Even today, in Finland, Squirrel pelt is accepted as a form of currency.

3 – Salt

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

Salt has its name in the pages of history with regards to many of the historic events. It was used as a tax payment by then emperor of China Yu the Great, in 2200 BCE. Back in the ancient Roman era, soldiers were paid in Salt packs, and apparently the latin word relating to salt, ‘Salarium’ gave rise to the English words ‘Soldier’ and ‘Salary’.

4 – Peppercorns

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

The scarcity of Peppercorns in Greece, made them extremely valuable. During the Middle Ages, peppercorns had become an accepted form of currency. Peppercorns were in such high demand in the Europe that it lead to the creation of Sea Routes to far east for spices, and it was called as ‘Black Gold’.

5 – Wampum (Beads)

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

The very first currency of America was beads, traditionally handcrafted beads made from the white shells of whelks and the purple and white shells of the quahog. When Europeans came here as settlers, they noticed Wampum was a great thing to deal in and thus, it became a form of currency. Ultimately, it began to be produced widely across factories and finally was demonetised.

6 – Tea Brick

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

The Tea brick were made combining the tea plant stalks and leaves with various herbs and, at times, wood chips, pressed with Ox blood or cow dung. In the 19th century, they were used as a currency of China, Russia, Tibet, and Mongolia. These bricks had a particular value, such as 12 bricks could buy a sheep. They were also used as medicines in the World War 2.

7 – Rai Stones

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

In the island of Yap, in Micronesia, the currencies were dependent on the size. Yapese people may have been creating their rai stones since around 500 AD. They apparently travelled to find big limestones and shaped them into big circular discs with central holes. Their big size and skills to craft it made this thing all the more valuable. Their value decreased when the Europeans arrived and now they are only used for last rites.

8 – Cowry Shells

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

Cowry, a sea snail, had its shells used as currencies, called cowries. The shells are small, easy to carry, durable and tough to copy. They started as a medium of exchange in the ancient China and were also used to make stunning jewelry and ornamentation.

9 – Arrowhead Coins

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

During the 7th century BCE, the intriguing arrowhead coins used to be issued as currency in the area known as Great Scythia, a far-reaching region that comprised of portions of the Ukraine, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, North Caucasus and parts of Russia.

10 – Knife Money

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency You Might Not Know

The ancient Chinese Knife Money combined currency and weaponry. The bizarre currency first appeared in China around 600 BCE. Most of these coins were inscribed by some text like ‘Sheep’, ‘fish’, etc, which might have been the value of these coins. But later, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi, abolished the currency and declared that only circular coins with square hole in the middle would be accepted as currency.

10 Most Bizarre Forms Of Ancient Currency
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