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
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.