The World's Strangest Currencies

Tyler Durden's picture

For centuries, humans from all around the world have tried to use different things as money. Some forms, which most people are familiar with today, have been effective catalysts for trade over thousands of years. Other currencies, from squirrel pelts to parmesan cheese, have had their time or place in human history, but were ultimately unsuccessful or made obsolete.

The path to finding the best money has been long and riddled with trial and error. Here are just some of the world’s strangest currencies that we discovered in our research.



Source: The Money Project

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Ignatius's picture

I don't know, do any of these make any less sense than that cheap slip of paper we use?  You know, the one with the creepy all-seeing illuminati eye?

Matt's picture

"do any of these make any less sense than that cheap slip of paper we use?"

Well, 8-ton stones would certainly be hard to counterfeit, but the risk of capsizing just to transfer your money from the bank to your home seems a bit extreme.

swmnguy's picture

Good point, but the 1-oz. disks seem to correlate closely with regrettable capsizing incidents, too.

Long-John-Silver's picture

I've suffered numerous capsizing events that involved 1-oz disks.

stacking12321's picture

where is math on that chart (bitcoin)?

Sam.Spade's picture

Bitcoin is equity money, just like everything else on the chart so, if the author wanted, he could have included it.

thesonandheir's picture

Where are the old tally sticks used by the English?



Sadly these days people are too thick to lose confidence in the fiat money system, they all seem to trust the government to do everything for them and to do no wrong :(

thesonandheir's picture

Where are the old tally sticks used by the English?



Sadly these days people are too thick to lose confidence in the fiat money system, they all seem to trust the government to do everything for them and to do no wrong :(

CPL's picture

The system ran for 900 years with no faults and allowed the agencies of the Isle to reconfigure themselves to a proper balance, well until Henry the 8th and Cromwell, then things shit the bed until today. 

BTW BTC is the electronic version of the tally stick,  except the BTC tally stick is made by the public trust, as in the public prints the money, and the comparative reference and all transactions are fully transparent for any legal issues in terms of ownership/bill payment/shopping/whatever.  With the decimal point that slides to the right, it scales to a world economy, not just medieval Britannia.  Plus it's got a crack jack prize inside once the 21 million crypto puzzle pieces are finished being solved using the electronic version of 'tally sticks'.  It is the perfect money for a fifth age since no one is interested in working for nothing, nor are they interested in keeping the jew bux central regime because it's built to implode. 


The tally stick method of money and combined with Flurzwang community management methods kept the necessary level of complexity to facilitate a proper regulated economy and also kept the jew-bankers out of europe during the 'dark ages'.   Given the level of technology available, things actually ran pretty well without much need to get into the business of other people's business.  BTW only one group believes it was "dark", those that wanted it all and couldn't.

It's a matter of 'What was old is new again', or maybe it's better to say use what works and don't waste time on broken garbage.  Nice thing is don't have to lift a finger on the new Tally Stick system, bankers, trader and governments are doing an amazing job at promoting it by fucking up.

Lumberjack's picture

Thus the ZH term,"Boating Accident".

Sam.Spade's picture

You're missing a critical point.  Almost all the items on the list are equity money, meaning someone had to work to create them.  They are not promises by anyone, unlike debt money.  The difference is critical to the stability of any economy because debt can vanish as quickly as it is created.  Equity just sits there until the forces of nature or consumption use it up or destroy it.

So, for pieces of paper, the critical issue is what they represent.  Right now, all of them are debt, so they are fundamentally different from the items listed above.  But they could just as well be bearer titles to physical assets and therefore equity.  For instance, they could be warehouse receipts for blocks of cheese kept in cold storage. Because the warehouse doesn't own the cheese (since the paper is the title), it can't legally print additional titles so the money supply would remain contstrained.

The subject is covered very well in The Creature From Jekyll Island. If you haven't read it, do so now because the bankers of the world are using debt money to own us all and, unless we learn about their trick, they will succeed.

By the way, if Creature is too heavy for you (figuratively and literally, as it is quite a book), then get your hands on Thieves Emporium instead.  It's more of a primer and covers a number of subjects besides money, but it's a fun read and well worth the effort. 

Sam.Spade's picture

Yes, that is an excellent presentation on how USD FRNs are created at the moment.  But it doesn't address the broader issue of debt vs equity money. 

As an example, if we allowed the Treasury Department to print money directly, as Ellen Brown advocates, we would still be using debt money as no one ever has to work to create printed money. 

Or, to take another example, if we used gold for money but allowed banks to continue to engage in fractional reserve banking, we would be using debt money.  In fact, you can see this occuring today in  the ETF fund GLD.  It has gold on deposit, but only enough to cover 1/240th of the payment promises it has made through the issuance of its fund certificates.  If ETF shares were used as money, you could say we were using gold for money, but you would be wrong as we would only be using the IOUs issued by fund, not actual titles to physical metal.

I hate to keep coming back to this same point, but it is important.  And not simple enough to cover in a blog post.  You MUST read Thieves Emporium or Creature From Jekyll Island to understand it.  And, if you don't understand it, the stalking horses of the central bankers, such as Ellen Brown, will convince you that all we have to do to solve our present monetary problem is use another form of debt.

If you want your children to grow up as free as our country was before we had central banks, then, for God sakes, learn the difference and teach it to them.

RichardParker's picture


+1 for the link.  However, "How Currency is Created: For Dummies!" would probably be a better title.

MrNosey's picture
MrNosey (not verified) Ignatius Dec 24, 2015 7:19 AM

Yes the strangest of them all is the fiat currency we are forced to use and that it is controlled by private interests!


The agenda rolls on unabated......

conraddobler's picture

Digital bank acounts are the ultimate achievement doing away with even the piddling paper note.

With possession being 9 tenths of the law that means whoever owns the SERVER to me in my opinion only  posesses these digital units.  I'm talking about your dollar based bank accounts by the way not bitcoin.

I don't know what the implications of this might be but it could be important.

Sam.Spade's picture

Bitcoin uses digital accounts but, because everyone audits everyone else's accounts, they can't be diddled.  Or, to put it another way, everyone who has a copy of the blockchain owns a server.

nmewn's picture

So as long as we have internet, commercial power and i-shit we will! I'm throwing away my Rai stones and pole immediately!...lmao!

TeamDepends's picture

Beaver pelts have definitely withstood the trials of time.

booboo's picture

Beaver pelts are a timeless currency traded over beer by rough men with wild imaginations.

zeroheckler's picture

Beaver as currency predates human use by several hundred million years and probably will outdate the best alternative (PM) - for sure after self-inflicted extinction of our species.

A Lunatic's picture

Now we just use promises for money......

booboo's picture

Beaver pelts are offered as promises for money too.

swmnguy's picture

Indeed, I've invested heavily in beaver pelt futures.  Margin calls can be a real bitch.

Sam.Spade's picture

Bever pelts aren't promises, they're things.  Someone had to work to create them.  Therefore, when you own one, you have equity in something.  But a promise to pay is just a promise.  Hold it and all you hold is debt.

The difference is critical.  Debt can be created in quantity at will by a few, thus giving them tremendous political power.  Equity can only be created in quantity by the many, thus distributing political power.

Understanding the difference is critical to our freedom. If you aren't sure what I am trying to say, read Thieves emporium and learn it while your children still have a chance to avoid lifetime serfdom.

NoPension's picture

Beaver pelts are promises. God did the work. Your job, convince the beaver to let you have the pelt. Young beavers are softer than old beavers, but old beavers offer a more comforting pelt, sometimes. It has to do with the experience of the beaver. Young beavers are easy to trap, but sometimes, it is a trap in reverse. And the trapper finds himself trapped by the beaver. All because of that pelt. Sometimes, if it a really awesome beaver, and that beaver has seen a mirror, or been told by old beavers or sees trappers takes very expensive bait. Sometimes..., the trapper ends up with more that he bargained for. For a little pelt.
More experienced trappers, they find a beaver they are happy with, do away with further hunting, and just go with the pelt they have.

Beaver pelts.

ZippyBananaPants's picture

Nothing like a fine Texas pelt with some roast beef hanging out of it!

Full Nelson's picture
Full Nelson (not verified) Dec 23, 2015 10:01 PM


Its shiny therefore women love it

therefore men will kill for it.

Also it conducts electricity real fast.

Long-John-Silver's picture

Gold is not the best conductor. Silver fills that roll. Copper is the next best. Gold is used for press fit contacts because it does not tarnish and lose it conductivity.

ebworthen's picture

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".

yovatti's picture
yovatti (not verified) Dec 23, 2015 10:29 PM

Beaver pelts may be passe, but beaver itself will always be valuable.

Flagit's picture

Was going to say.....

What happened to the oldest form of currency? What faggot left pussy off the list?


For an interesting perspective from an unlikely source, check out the South Park episode, Space Cash.

Atomizer's picture

The Constitutional women of the this country will take out the progressive feminist. It will fun to watch

Negativland - Guns | Now


VWAndy's picture

I dont see energy on the list. Just sayin everything else has been done.

Skateboarder's picture

ABD (Already Been Done), dawg. Human energy, i.e. labor - the oldest currency there is!

Manipuflation's picture

That is true Buster Cherry but I think that there is more to the story.  It was my impression as well as my experience that pussies are only owned by one sex and that it is often used for leverage. 

Atomizer's picture

Political leverage, shall we say..alzheimer's cure?

Manipuflation's picture

I didn't say political leverage now did I?  But yes, in some cases that would be true.  Cleopatra?  I don't know.  No so much with Hillary.  In fact not at all and that I DO know.  In fact, Hillary is a deficit.  So pussies have deflationary tendency the older they get because of the lower rate of return and the increased expenses.

In other words, they are some other young man's problem for the most part.            

True Blue's picture

You have to labor to get it...

Kina's picture

in Australia's estliest days Rum was used as currency.

Atomizer's picture

With IMF debacle, perhaps the IMF SDR will get cock blocked.

HenryHall's picture

I can see single rounds of ammo being used as small change after the inevitable event.

Manipuflation's picture

Books; especially the ones they like to burn or ban.

Pliskin's picture

Drugs, sex, paper, pens, tobacco, socks.

All been used as currency on the 'inside' longer than the mighty 'greenback' and will surely be around longer.

Also...this is my Christmas list to Santa.

adjudged's picture

Milton Friedman wrote Money Mischief on this very subject and the Rai Stone was the strangest one.  The stones were so large and it was so difficult to move them that they would often stay at the old owner's house - and everyone accepted that it signified the wealth of the new owner.  Since the rocks were quarried on another island, they had to be brought across in an outrigger  One large one sank and that raised the question of whether it could be considered bona fide wealth, since it was at the bottom of the lagoon.  Everyone decided that the owner was indeed as rich as the Rai Stone signified, and everything went on normally.  Like Warren Buffett's famous statement about gold, "It gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or some place.  Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it.  It has no utility.  Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."  

Take a look at the Quote Investigator for a nice investigation of the precedents to this speech.

rhadamanthus's picture

Monero (XMR) is the future of money. Private, secure, untraceable.

Atomizer's picture

Good luck with that.


  • When you fire a bullet into the Federal Reserve, things will change.
  • Hang Merkel from a GE windmill.
  • Drag Jack Lew behind a Toyota Prius.
  • Get killed under Obama's illegal alien flooding into United States,
  • Complete BIS central banking grid.
  • Continue to prop up Bush/Hillary to protect K Street.

EBN - Channel Zero