When was Money Invented ?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Al Kowsky, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Nice read! Thank you, Al. I am always interested in proto monies, as well as historical foundations.

    Now, I wish they perform this study on Ancient China, as they were very advanced in bronze metal working very early in History. Perhaps older than Europe.
  4. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Casual Collector / error expert "in Training "

    Hey guys . I remembered an article I read somewhere about Shells being one of the first coins used . Here I did a quick search .
    The shell most widely used worldwide as currency was the shell of Cypraea moneta, the money cowry. This species is most abundant in the Indian Ocean, and was collected in the Maldive Islands, in Sri Lanka, along the Malabar coast, in Borneo and on other East Indian islands, and in various parts of the African coast from Ras Hafun to Mozambique.
    Shell money - Wikipedia
    Kentucky and Alegandron like this.
  5. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    That's an excellent point :D! We know shells were used as money by the Native Americans living in the northeast. Ancient Chinese bronze casters even made castings of cowry shells. I think the INVERSE article would have been more accurate if they titled the article "Who Manufactured the First Money". After all you can't manufacture cowry shells :smuggrin:.
    DonnaML likes this.
  6. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 Casual Collector / error expert "in Training "

    Yes . Very good point . I kind of didn't think it through . Interesting reading just the same . :)
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    What I got from the Wikipedia article suggested that the value of the shell money was more from the time represented in the grinding of shells into beads/disks than to the material. It also mentioned that neighboring tribes did not always value the different species used by each other. This suggests that the profession of moneychanging had not yet begun.
    Kentucky, DonnaML and Deacon Ray like this.
  8. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . . Supporter

    I suppose right after "ladies of the evening" . . .

    wxcoin likes this.
  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    That's a good point ;). I think most historians view cowry shells & other sea shells as barter material instead of actual money used to pay debts & buy things.
  10. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Many archaeologists & historians believe the Chinese were the 1st to invent bronze. Chinese archaeology works at a very slow pace so we may not no the answer to that for a long time. We're confident the Chinese from the Xia Dynasty were using bronze nearly 4,000 years ago from the excavations at Erlitou. It's also possible that bronze could have been invented in a number of different places. Finding the turning point from the Copper Age to the Bronze Age relies on the discovery & whereabouts of tin.

    Xia bronze plaque with Turquoise inlay.jpg
    Xia bronze plaque with turquoise inlay.
    Rob Woodside, DonnaML, Ryro and 2 others like this.
  11. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I understand Cowrie Currencies were made from shell, bone, clay, stone, and other materials of representative value. Use of Cowrie Currencies were early in Chinese History. I even have a Bronze version:

    Zhou -Chou- Dynasty
    1000-200 BCE
    Bronze cowrie
    Tong Bei -
    VF - Rare

    ANCIENT Cowrie Currency -
    Shang Dynasty
    1750-1150 BCE
    BONE 2 holes 20mm
    Hartill 1-2v Coole 51-66


    TuckHard, PeteB, DonnaML and 2 others like this.
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Agreed. I have been able to visit museums and other sites throughout China. I am amazed at the level of sophistication, how ancient, how intricate in detail, and sometimes how LARGE their cast bronze items were. Their casting technologies seem very advanced several thousands of years ago. They appear way ahead of Ancient Europe bronze.
    DonnaML likes this.
  13. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    When was money first invented? The day before counterfeiting.
    Kentucky and John Skelton like this.
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

    I read somewhere that Native Americans traded obsidian as a kind of medium of exchange.
    Alegandron likes this.
  15. Rob Woodside

    Rob Woodside Member

    Balancing one object with another on a lever arm is a very accurate way of determining relative weights. String and a branch for such a scale were available long before the bronze age. So I find it odd that psycophysics is required. The authors are probably right that you can only feel equal weights to within ~10%, but a suspended balance is far more accurate by at least a factor of ten. The article says,"The most striking discovery the team made when comparing the weights of these various items was that 70.3 percent of bronze rings — which total more than 2,600 items — all fell within a weight range of 176 to 217 grams. Using the Webster fraction, the team writes that these items are then indistinguishable from 195.5 grams."

    So between 5.6 troy ounces and 7 troy ounces one finds the indistinguishable 6.3 Troy ounce unit of weight. I can imagine paleolithithic hunter gatherers hefting a couple of nuggets to find the heaviest, but not bronze age metalurgists. They would need to know how much tin to add to the copper to get a good alloy. So it is no accident that that the earliest balance scales date from 2000 BC and were found in the bronze age civilization of the Indus Valley. The fact that many objects were near in weight to their 6.3 Troy ounce standard probably has more to do with smelting procedure than a hopelessly inaccurate standard wieght. Their idea of looking for a common weight standard is a good one, but pschophysics doesn't answer the question of how big the furnaces were and the size or weight of the charges used.
    fomovore, Alegandron and Anntron like this.
  16. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    Interesting story. It depends on how you define "money." If the definition requires some kind of human intent in its production, then anything that wasn't strictly a found object that wasn't worked by humans would fit the definition. While you can't manufacture cowry shells, you CAN modify them with holes or whatever you want. Then, they are no longer just found objects.
    medoraman and DonnaML like this.
  17. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

  18. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Kentucky and ZoidMeister like this.
  19. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

    I should add that obsidian from California and Yellowstone has been found in Florida and the East coast.
    Alegandron likes this.
  20. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Wow this is a really great Cowrie set! I don't have any yet but they're on my list.
    Alegandron likes this.
  21. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Alegandron likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page