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Non coin commerce


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The history of coins in commerce is a fascinating subject and can be the starting point to someone wanting to explore History. From the earliest,

  • Hallaton Silver Coin. Year Created: c.211 BCE. ...
  • Persian Daric. Year Created: c.520 – 480 BCE. ...
  • Aegina Sea Turtle. Year Created: c.550 BCE. ...
  • Karshapana. Year Created: c.600 BCE. ...
  • Ying Yuan. Year Created: c.600 – 500 BCE. ...
  • Ionian Hemiobols. Year Created: c. ...
  • Lydian Lion. Year Created: c.610 – 600 BCE.

 through all the periods of History, there is knowledge to be learned by many who took for granted the coin(s) in their pocket. An example would be why there was a D on the British penny. A bit of research tells you that There were various measures of money in medieval England. A pound was worth 20 shillings, and a shilling worth 12 pence (pfennigs in older times).so one pound was worth equivalent to 240 pence. The letter d was used to denote pence in reference to the Roman word denarius.

But, for many people around the world, coins as money to purchase things, were for the wealthy. The few coins a lot of people had were for paying taxes and tithes. Bartering was the way to feed and clothe your family until the Industrial revolution when working for a wage became more standard.

This long introduction to this thread is to introduce a few items that for many made their day to day existence possible. By harvesting things from the wild and using them and their by-products to exchange for things they in turn needed.

The Sea Heart from Wiki

Entada gigas, commonly known as the monkey-ladder, sea bean, cœur de la mer or sea heart, is a species of flowering liana in the pea family, Fabaceae of the Mimosa subfamily, which is often raised to family rank (Mimosaceae). They are native to Central America, the Caribbean, northern South America, and Africa. It is notable for having the family's largest seedpods,[3] which measure 12 cm (4.7 in) across and can reach 2 m (6.6 ft) in length. There have been reports of pods up to eight feet (2.5 meters) in length.[4][5] This pod, like all legumes, is a single carpel, the largest carpel of any known plant. Inside the pods are ten to fifteen seeds, each of which have a diameter of 6 cm (2.4 in) and a thickness of 2 cm (0.79 in).[6] The seeds contain a hollow cavity, which gives them buoyancy. After being washed by rain into rivers and then the ocean, the seeds of E. gigas drift long distances on ocean currents. Seed buoyancy and vitality lasts at least two years.

Used for medicinal properties in their native lands, when ground to powder they can or made into paste they are effective against swellings, inflammations and some snake bites, and for commercial uses in the countries where they washed ashore. For example, in northern Scotland and Norway up until around the end of the 1800's, they were  dried, hollowed and carved for making snuff boxes, match boxes and lockets.

Tagua Nuts: Vegetable ivory or tagua nut is a product made from the very hard white endosperm of the seeds of certain palm trees. Vegetable ivory is named for its resemblance to animal ivory. Species in the genus Phytelephas, native to South America, are the most important sources of vegetable ivory. For centuries they were carved into sought after jewellery and were the most popular product in the button making industry until the introduction of plastics.

So, if any of you have some items you have acquired, that were a part of older commerce, please share them with us.

Images of Sea hearts and tagua nut







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20220526_135317 (2).jpg

20220526_134810 (2).jpg

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I like Proto-Monies...

Proto Monies of ITALIA:

ITALIA Aes Formatum AE Bronze Ax Head ca 5th-4th C BCE sextans size 44.8mm 56g Sextans size?

and the AES RUDE
I believe mine was molten bronze dumped in water process...


Italia Aes Rude - bronze ca 5th-4th Century BCE 29.7mm 32.4g Uncia sized?

AES Formatum:


Oscan-Latin Aes Formatum scallop shell with Ribs 4th BCE

Oscan-Latin Aes Formatum shell 25mm 12.8g

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Olbia - Олбия


Some of the world's earliest coinage may have in fact had it's origins as amulets or offerings to a god. However they began to be issued, with eventuality they soon saw service as a medium of exchange. The curious aspect of the Delfin, or Dolphin money from the city state of Olbia in Southern Ukraine is of course the shape of the pieces, which were modelled on the Black Sea dolphins. Inasmuch as dolphins were rather prominent on later ancient coinages from Syracuse and Calabria, these pieces are unique for their shape.


The earliest pieces seem to have had a bit more detail to the designs, as dorsal fins and eyes are featured. Later pieces were produced perhaps in a bit more of a mass production scenario, and lost some of the details. Later pieces also featured some alphabetic characters, most notably OY.


Another form of currency were small spearpoints, these of course had a very utilitarian purpose for anybody during that time and as such they possibly were used as a form of money in trade. The number of them found in archaeological digs in Ukraine suggests that perhaps they were also used as a primitive form of money. The smaller of these two points is 18mm long, the larger of the two is 22mm long. They appear to have been cast in some form of a mold, then any spurs etc. were filed off during the manufacturing process. The longer of the two appears to have been filed for smooth edges, whilst the other one is a bit more aerodynamic.

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Here are some Aes Rude pieces that I bought a few years back. These are irregular lumps of bronze used before more regular coinage in Italy. They're nice, heavy pieces, which I quickly found out when I dropped one as I was unpacking them and damaged one of our end tables(thankfully just a cheap Ikea Lack table)

Italy, Æ Aes Rude(55.02g, 55.81g, 69.57g, 80.41g, 95.05g), before 4th century B.C.. Irregular cast lump with no stamp or mark of value. Vecchi ICC 1
Ex Andrew McCabe Collection, CNG e-Auction 452, 18 September 2019, lot 728, ex RBW Collection, before 2010



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China Ming Knife money 400-220 BCE bronze Hartill 4.42-3


China Chou Dyn Spring Autumn Period 770-476 BCE Bridge Money.jpg
China Chou Dyn Spring Autumn Period 770-476 BCE Bridge Money


China Shang 1766-1154 BCE or Zhou Dynasty Ghost Face Ant Nose 1.65g Hartill 1.4

China Shang Dyn 1766-1154 BC Ant Nose Ge Liu Zhu 17.4x10 very scarce H 1.10

China Shang Dyn 1766-1154 BC Ant Nose Ge Liu Zhu 2.6g 19-5x11 very scarce H 1.10

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Some wonderful examples of ancient money!   I am fascinated by early bronze currency of Italy.  

Ramo Secco cast ingots are found predominantly in Emilia. . Always found in fragments, they generally weigh from 500 grams to 2000 grams. Feels wonderfully heavy, when I hold it!


and a close-up 

Late 6th to 4th c BC 
AE. 1084.00 g
101 x 70 x 41 mm 

V&T AS 1

Edited by ancientcoinguru
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