4 Bizarre Items You Won’t Believe Were Once Used As Currency

Published September 11, 2017
Updated October 10, 2018

Rai Stones

Rai Stone

Wikimedia CommonsRai stones. 1903.

On the tiny island of Yap, located in the Federated States of Micronesia in the southern Pacific, you’ll find the physically largest form of currency in the world.

Hundreds of years ago, limestone deposits found miles away were carved into giant discs and carried back home by boat, where they eventually found their way into the economic structure of society.

Unlike paper or coin money, however, the stones never change hands in the literal sense. Instead, the large, round stones, which are fitted with a circular hole in the center, are usually placed somewhere about the village, and when large items such as land or marriage dowries need to be sold or traded, the ownership of the stone merely changes hands.

All That's Interesting
All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out the stories to illuminate the past, present, and future.