Primitive earliest Chinese coinage - cowrie shell coin made out of filed shell (probably a thick seashell) with two holes. 24mm long, 2.85 grams. cf. Zeno #10608; Hartill type #1.2var. SKU hv8504-48486
This piece is of very nice high quality! The seashell pieces are quite beautiful and scarce! You can see some calcified mother-of-pearl on the back of this piece. Cowries were used as primitive money in China since the 2nd millenium BC. Later on, bronze cowrie-shaped coins and cowrie-shaped coins made out of carved bone, filed stone or filed sea shell (like this piece) were used as money. To clarify - this is not an actual cowrie shell, but a filed large shell made to look like a cowrie. This piece has two holes in it for stringing, and these cowries were strung up in bunches, much like the later bronze cash coins.
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