If there’s one thing that we can all agree upon, it’s that money is a crucial element of the world we live in today. Without money, one is unable to enjoy even the most basic of needs such as food, shelter and clothing. Truly, money is as weird as it is wonderful! Keeping this in mind, we thought it besst to review 24 of the weirdest currencies that man has used for trade over the years.
Salt is no doubt one of the oldest forms of currency in the world. At some point, it was so valuable that is was the main form of currency during the Middle Ages on the East African coast. Did you know that the word salary is actually derived from the Latin term salarium which means money used to buy salt? Creepy, right? 😉
During the Middle Ages, Italy was famous for using Parmesan cheese for nearly all of its financial operations.
What made it such a valuable commodity is the fact that the cheese took quite a long time to age, making it a great option for collateral with financiers.
Manchukuo Yuan Coins
During the height of Imperial Japan dominance, the Japanese forces used the Manchukuo Yuan as currency while controlling Manchuria. These particular coins were crafted from cardboard because metal was highly valuable during times of war.
There’s no dolphin that would want to come an inch near the Solomon Islands as their teeth are highly regarded as a form of currency.
In fact, you can purchase a bride there if you deliver 1000 dolphin teeth to the father of the bride. Sadly, this might mean giving 10 dolphins some serious dental operations. Yikes!
Rings and Jewelry
During the years when the Egyptian Empire was one of the most powerful states, jewelry was a common currency in the barter system of trade. In fact, they appeared to popularize the use of jewelry as an item of value.
In Central America, Cocoa beans were the main form of currency and were popular among the Mayans that traded them for food and clothing.
The Hungarian Pengo
As a result of economic turmoil in 1946, the Hungarian government printed the 100 quintillion Pengo note which amounted to $0.20 dollars!
In ancient Bafia Culture, Potato Mashers were considered valuable currency and you could even get yourself a bride with thirty potato mashers.
In the early to mid 1600s, Tulips became a sensation in Holland and the price rose to ridiculous height to the point that you could use tulips to buy land, farms, and a house!
The Tugrik Record-a-Coin
In 2007, the Mongolian government released the 500 Tugrik Coin which has a photo of former President John F. Kennedy on one of its sides.
Bronze knives were some of the earliest forms of Chinese currency some 2500 years ago.
Lobi iron snakes were used for barter trade by the Ancient Lobi people of Ghana.
German Wooden Notes
After the first World War, Germany was broke and had to use bank notes crafted from wood. The notes were infamously named negeld notes which meant not of gold.
These x-shaped crosses were considered a form of currency and barter trade by traders and inhabitants of the region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Zaire Cut-Out Bills
After Joseph Sese SekoMobutu was overthrown, the DRC government opted to save on printing costs by simply eliminating the face of the dictator from the notes.
Squirrel pellets were used as currency by Russia during the Middle Ages.
Palau Holy Water Coins
In 2007, the government of Palau minted a silver dollar coin that was embedded with a vile containing Holy Water.
This 8-ton stones are an important source of currency in the Micronesian island of Yep.
It wasn’t until the 20th Century that Fijian Islands opted to phase out whale teeth as a form of currency to buy virtually anything from the mainland.
Fijian $7 Note
The Fijian government printed the odd seven dollar note to pay tribute to the Olympic Team that bagged a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Western African blacksmiths crafted Kissi pennies in ancient times as a form of currency.
From the 9th to the 20th Century, tea bricks were used extensively as a means of barter trade in China, Russia, Turkmenistan, Tibet, Serbia and Mongolia.
World’s Tiniest Currency
It measures 4mm in diameter, and is known as the Quarter Silver ‘tara’ of Vijayanagar.
Most Expensive Legal Tender
Crafted purely from refined gold, the One Million Dollar Canadian coin is the most expensive legal tender in the world and it weighs an impressive 220 pounds. If you put that into perspective, that’s the average weight of a hefty man!