2019 May 12
originally posted on facebook

“Knife money” was used for much of 400 years in ancient China until round coins were finally invented. (Before, and concurrent, with knife money was “spade money” which were bronze shovelheads, usually too thin to be functional for digging.)

Coins were independently invented in Lydia (modern-day Turkey), India, and China, which used three different manufacturing techniques: stamping, punching, and casting respectively. Modern-day coins (mostly?) are derived from the Lydian invention, with China switching to the Lydian style of coin with the 1911 revolution that overthrew the last emperor.

Knife and spade money were far from the only forms of money to precede coins: cowry shells (or metal imitations) were used worldwide and arguably had the greatest geographic reach of any currency; metal ingots were also popular; and the archaic Greeks may have occasionally used cauldrons. Shells remain legal currency in East New Britain, an island of Papua New Guinea, which has a circulation of about $2 million worth of shells.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

http://www.helsinki.fi/iehc2006/papers1/Schaps.pdf

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