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

Bracelet and shell money.
Chinese "Boat" money.
Borneo,"Bridal" Money.

Among the islanders of the Pacific,many kinds of money were taken from the sea.Some bracelets of shark's teeth were used as money.The Fijians made money of whales' teeth.The people of Solomon Islands made money of coconut shells.In New Guinea,mother-of-pearl was cut into round disks,holes were cut in the middle,and the disks were made into bracelets that passed as money.

Malaya,"Hat" Money,Ashanti,Gold Weight,Africa Manilla.
Dogs were scarce in New Guinea,so the New Guinea tribes used dog's teeth for money.Then Chinese traders brought in hundreds of dogs from mainland of China,thus debasing the New Guinea tribal currency.German traders made things even worse by bringing in artificial dogs' teeth,and so tooth currency came to an end there. 
Yap, Stone Money.

Yap, Stone Money.

The Samoans used finely made mats for currency,and the people of Yap in the Caroline Islands used largest and most impressive currency in the world--huge stone disks,some of them twelve feet in diameter.The stones came from the island of Peleliu,four hundred miles away. The stones  had to be quarried and then brought to Yap by canoe and raft.A Stone about two feet across,weighing fifty pounds,would buy  a thousand coconuts, and two such stones would buy a wife!

Mexico,Gold bar.1746.
 In Africa for a long time cowrie shells were used as money,and until quite recently these shells were currency along the Niger River. In other parts of Africa, as long as the white man dominated the continent, glass beads were used as money.Four hundred different kinds and colours came into existence there,strung on palm fiber.A beaded thread reaching from the tip of the index finger  to the wrist was known as a  bitil.Four bitil made a khete and 10 khete made a fundo.Copper wire was also used by the natives as money,and so were spades,bells,and bars-quite reminiscent of ancient China. 

West Africa,Gizi Penny,
Hoe Money,
Speared money.

A quarter of a century ago,money in Africa was unbelievable crude. In Liberia certain tribes supported themselves by mining iron ore,fashioning it into pieces about as thick as a lead pencil and several feet in lenght,with one end flattened into the shape of a wing and the other into double tail.This was called a gizi penny, and it passed as money.It was worth about 2 American cents, or, in 1940,enough rice to last one person a week.  

N.Rhodesia,Katanga Cross.
Sweden,Plate Daler Money.

Congo,Ceremonial Axe,Later Used For Barter.
The Miyanda tribe made iron rings,which passed as money and also as jewelry.The Kanakas made spearheads,which were money and weapons.Iron hoes were money in the Sudan,and bundles og tiny iron knives were used as money in the Gaboon area of French Equatorial Africa.

West Indies,Cut And Countermarked.
Europe,Siege pieces:Multiple Thaler.
In the Congo,"money" was made from hairs of elephants' tails,zebras' tails and ziraffes' tails.In the Gold Coast the natives used copper rings,in the French Guinea region,amber beads were money, and in Anggola strips of mat made of rice straw were money.The natives of the bamboon district of French Cameroons used a brass coin that looked like a frog.In Ethiopia a brass gun cartridge could be money.


Source:Edwin P.Hoyt. And Spink & Son.Ltd.


  1. Wow, interesting.
    Love the bridal money.
    Wonder is it made of silver?
    Nice cuties, Dickson :)

  2. Dear whycollect,
    It was a 19th Century Borneo copper bridal money.

  3. Hi Dickson,
    Surprisingly, its white in colour though it was made of copper.
    Probably white copper or plated?
    Thanks for the info, Dickson :)

  4. Dear Whycollect,
    Sorry,these photos were in black and white in Spink & Son Ltd.'s booklet in MNS library.
    Luckly you didn't ask me for a black copper!!Haha!