All Women's Talk

8 Things Used as Money in the past ...

By Jordin

The many different things used as money in the past may not seem so important now, but you have to admit that it’s cool knowing that people used to accept what we might consider strange items as currency! Knowing about our history can really give us insight into the way people used to live, and how quickly things have changed. I’ve made this neat list of things used as money in the past for you to see how things we take for granted today, were once highly valued and necessary to everyday life, much like money is now. Please, continue reading for my list of things used as money in the past.

1 Buckskins

Buckskins were one of the popular things used as money from days gone by. Buckskins were considered valuable because people used them to make blankets, rugs, tarps, and even clothes or water skins! This method of currency would have been most popular during the time settlers were just coming to America.

2 Mirrors

I was surprised to learn that mirrors were one of the things used as money in the past! Apparently mirrors were valuable because they were rare and quite expensive. Many families did not even own one or, if they did, it was very small. I couldn’t imagine that, since I have large mirrors in nearly every room of my home now!

3 Shells

Shells seem to be an odd thing used as money in the past, but there is logic behind it. Shells were used to make jewelry and hair adornments among other things, and so obviously they could have been used as trade for something. And of course, years ago, people didn’t get to visit the ocean often, if at all, because travel was so expensive and time consuming. So to most individuals, a shell was something unique and extraordinary!

4 Tobacco

It’s probably quite obvious why tobacco would have been one of the things used as money in the past! Besides being smoked for enjoyment, people considered tobacco to have medicinal powers. And tobacco was sold in larger quantities years ago, so you could receive a whole pouch or bagful in on a single trade!

5 Salt

Could you imagine being limited in the amount of salt you could have? Salt was often rationed out in years past because we did not have ready access to it like we do nowadays. In general, food does not taste as good without salt, so it makes sense why people would use or accept salt as currency in the past. Salt is another item that people would often use as a medicine as well, so that added to the value.

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6 Animals

Animals were a primary source of food many years ago, and people heavily depended on them. Not only did they provide food through themselves such as eggs, milk, and butter, but they also helped to plow the land and harvest the crops. And of course, they could be slaughtered and eaten! It’s no surprise that people would accept a fat cow or strong horse on trade as money.

7 Barley

I was shocked to discover that barley is one of the things used as money in the past. I suppose flour is one of the things we take for granted more so than others. But flour isn’t easy to come by, and years ago, it wasn’t always in ready supply. If you wanted bread on your table, you might have accepted barley in place of money!

It’s hard for me to grasp that if I would have lived 100+ years ago, I could have used any old thing I have lying around my house as money. Admit it, we all have at least two of the items on this list in our possession, if not more. Things used as money in the past were items that people used as resources! Nowadays, we are able to run down the street and buy things we need in the store, rather than laboring to make them ourselves. Did you know that these things used as money in the past were once considered of high value? Please comment below if you know any other things used as money in the past!

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