Curious Currencies Of The World,Odd Kinds Of Money.(I)

There is a legitimate part of numismatics that has nothing to do with coins and currency,and this involves pieces-strange symbols of exchange that were once used as money.

In Ancient Egypt around 2000 B.C., the people were coming out the rudimentary civilization of village and farm and moving into cities,where many people specialized in only one variety of work.When a man spent all his time making pottery, he found it difficult to exchange his goods for the materials he needed,or to do so exactly and at time that he wished.So there grew up certain practices of trading for items that everyone would want.Chief among these in Egypt was a sack of grain of a certain weight,because everyone used grain to make flour.The trouble with grain,however, was that it could be eaten by rats,or spoiled by water,or decayed by the sun.A better trading material was linen.Everyone used linen in making the cloths of Egypt.Yet linen also could be ruined by fire,dirt,or water.

When the Egyptians discovered gold and other scarce metals,they began to use bowls and other standard implements made of these precious metals for trade.They found that copper was the common cheap metal,and silver was worth forty times as much.Gold was worth twice as much as silver.

By about 1600 B.C. the use of bowls in Egypt had proved a litter taxing,and so money rings were developed. These were not yet coin,but they were quite close to the idea of coinage.The rings could be worn on arms or fingers and could be carried in strings,bound together by strips of papyrus.

Now many other countries developed moneys of their own that predated or lived along with coins.In Siam,the first moneys were small gold and silver pieces shaped like bullets.These were made according to weight,based on the tical,and these pieces were in use right up until 1904,when they were declared illegal. The Siamese also had coins that shaped like packsaddles for horses,and others made of porcelain,and still others that, like Chinese coins,were made from pure tin.

The Malaysians used tin pieces that were cast in molds and were decorated with designs and writing.The people of Malacca used lead pieces shaped like roosters.



  1. Hi Dickson,
    Interesting article.
    That para about Eqyptians valuing gold only twice as valuable as silver is interesting.
    Remind us of an article we have read recently.
    Thanks a lot for sharing, Dickson :)

  2. Dear whycollect,
    I was asked by my Sifu to write someting about the odd kinds of money in the word so that the new collectors will find the numismtic is not just collecting key dates coin,solid numbers or first and last prefix banknote.
    I may post more Malay state Tin coinage in future!One of my good friend is having very good set of Malay State tin coins.He is very knowledgeable,and among the best on Tin coins collection.

  3. Hi Dickson,
    Our sincere thanks to you and all other experts in advance.
    Yes, these weird coins are extremely interesting :)