Lot 24039605: China - Lot comprising 4 Pre-coinage cowry currencies - Shang to Chou dynasty (1350-700 BC) - bone, stone and bronze cowries
10th February 2019
China - Lot of 4 Ancient Pre-coinage currency:Bronze cowry (ca. 29mm); stone cowry money (21mm); two bone cowries, ca. 20mm and 15mm; The history of Chinese currency spans more than 3000 years. Currency of some type has been used in China since the Neolithic age which can be traced back to between 3000 and 4500 years ago. Cowry shells are believed to have been the earliest form of currency used in Central China, and were used during the Neolithic period. The extent of the circulation of shell money is unknown, and barter trade may have been common. However, copies of cowry shells made out of bone, wood, stone, lead and copper were common enough to presume that they were used in trade.The Chinese may have invented the first metal coins, coins found in Anyang date to before 900 BC. At that time, the coin itself was a mock of more earlier used cowry shells, so it was called the Bronze shell. Bronzed shells were found in the ruins of Yin, the old capital of the Shang Dynasty (15001046 BC).
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