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AFRICAN ETHNOGRAPHIC MONEY

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THE MARKET   Since the rise of the Africa Traders in the late 1980s, trade beads and metal objects have come out of Africa to collector markets in great volume. See analysis. The perfect specimens with attractive shapes go first to the European galleries where they command huge prices. This prompts more diligent searches at the source, usually resulting in more specimens of equal or lower quality sold into the North American markets. Many of the Africa Traders in North America work out of the same neighborhood in West Hollywood, CA. They drive up the coast with their wares, and my hometown of Seattle is their turnaround point, where they like to dump what remains for what they can get, and head home with cash to buy something new. For objects where form, style, and quality vary little, you can buy from me virtually the same objects you would get at a gallery, but for much less. You will also find here workaday money objects that have been used as money, and show it, and are priced accordingly. I have been buying this material since the late 1980s, so you will find here types that have become scarce in recent years as well as the latest finds.

REFERENCES:   Numerous books are cited here, which you will find described and usually offered for sale on my Numismatic References: Ethnographic page. By far the most important reference is The Perfect Form: On the Track of African Tribal Currency by Roberto Ballarini, 2009. I am gradually adding B references to the listings below, so use it as a wish-list and search this page with B catalog numbers. Opitz's An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Money has photos and capsule descriptions of most items you will encounter, but lacks the depth many collectors wish for. Ballarini's earlier Traditional Arms has deeper coverage of Congo spear and knife monies, as do several specialized works. Akhan weights, not present in Perfect Form are catalogued in a number of hard-fo-find works, and bracelet (ring) monies are covered in much greater depth in Wilfried Glar's works. Very useful for Nigerian items are Eyo (impossible to find now) and Johansson. PS refers to articles in Der Primitivgeldsammler, journal of EUCOPRIMO and D refers to pricelists of Paul Dillingham, long-time dealer in Ethnographic monies. My standard answer to "How old is it?" is: "probably 1850-1950." If you want a better answer, you will have to do your own research. Scholarly works such as Quiggin, Guyer, Kriger, Herbert, and Rivallain (all women!) are good starts.

LINKS:    John Henry collection: Well researched, and extensive;    Museum of Making: Excellent public collection;   Hamill Gallery: Extensive; some dubious as currency?;   Hurst Gallery: Not cheap!;   Africacurio.com, Roberto Ballarini's Gallery.    Galerie Ezakwantu: Informative gallery site.    African traders offer brass and iron items with clear decorative, religious, agricultural, or other functions as "money" and some of them probably ARE money, but without some scholarly confirmation of exchange use or wealth display, I pass them up or offer as antiquities.

PLACING AN ORDER   I charge only the true USPS postal rates, no inflated handling charges. To order (or just inquire), copy and paste the entire line for each item into an email. I will respond with an invoice within a couple of days. No reply? Try THIS. Or click the ORDERING INFO link for more details. In a hurry? Glad to take your phone order: 425-369-1725 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM USA Pacific.

BALLARINI, Roberto
The Perfect Form: On the Track of African Tribal Currency   (sample page)   Ballarini's new work is a comprehensive, visually rich, highly informative catalogue of African ethnographic currencies in metal. Imagine a gallery show curated by a fanatic: The finest specimens of known currency types are collected from multiple owners, beautifully displayed and lighted. Next, the literature, from travelers', accounts to anthropological studies to sales literature is woven together and integrated with the display. Finally, suffering no constraints of budget, the curator creates a 400+ page hardcover footnoted catalogue, organized and numbered by regions with stunning color images — supplemented with drawings for types known only by description, and archival photos of use or manufacture — and rounded out with extensive summaries of specialized literature, maps, object-name index, and bibliography. The exhibition is imaginary, of course, but the catalogue is not. Owner of Africacurio.com in Milan, the premier commercial gallery for this series, Ballarini has produced not only a gorgeous art book, but a reference work in an under-referenced field, the standard for the foreseeable future. The only weak areas are manillas and bracelet monies, with minimal coverage, and neither Akan goldweights (well catalogued elsewhere) nor metal beads are included. All of Ballarini's former works are out of print, as are the specialized works he so ably extracts, and the collector who misses this one will surely suffer regret. The €100 list price is reasonable for a specialized art book of this quality. Europeans may save on shipping costs by ordering from Galleria Africacurio directly.US$ 175.00



NEW ARRIVALS & SPECIALS

f Gold Dust Box   Akan (Ashanti), called abrampruwa or furawa, sheet brass with rivets, hand-etched & punched designs (which only partially show in my poor scans). Genuine: 260a) Dimensions 105 (tall) x90mm $150; 260b) Dimensions 70 (tall) x105mm $150;     Reproductions: Small rectangular box with fancy top, standing bird theme, cast brass, 55x23x26mm, each:261a) , 261b) $35

Tuareg Tool Miniatures?   Brass, shaped something like a table knife with a rounded, looped handle, incised and punched designs, about 9" long. Supplier thinks it may be Malinke; published in Bartlomucci's African Currency, p.19 as Tuareg. To me, they look too varied, modern, and ornate to be more than a special purpose money at best, but the tool-like shape is encouraging. 364) $37.50

Large Mushroom Hoe   This impressive type is attributed by Ballarini (B2.39) to Mambila and Chamba Tribes of Nigeria and Cameroun. Large iron sheet in mushroom shape with edge ridges on back of handle and arrow tip. Photos reduced, as it is 13" (33cm) across. Chunk missing from top. Only specimen I have seen.   459a) $135.00

Plateau State Hoe?   Ekpo Eyo's Nigeria and the Evolution of Money page 51 shows three specimens very similar to these, but with pointed rather than socket ends. Wide piece is 11" wide; tall piece is 14" tall, shown at 50% actual size. Both with large chunks missing. 461) Either one: $40.00

Mumuye Iron Collar   Heavy iron collars with varying, flaring elements at ends, from the Mumuye and Chamba of Eastern NIgeria. Ballarini notes rounded, single bar (B2.32), flattened double bars (B2.33), and intertwined bars (B2.34) varieties. I am uncertain about the age of these pieces.   308B) Fighting Antelopes motif on a rounded body, necklace 208mm diameter, 225mm between antler tips. Well-preserved piece $400;   308C) Socket & Arrow motif on rounded body, neckwlace 182mm diameter. Tip of arrows chipped, light rust $325

Ethiopia Bracelet   Brass cuff-shaped bracelets with extensive, simple etched ornamentation on outer face. Bracelets are common in west and central Africa, but these are the first I've seen attributed to Ethiopia. Age or money use unknown. Size and weight given in each photo: 450a)     450b)      450c)      450d)     $55 Each

Ethiopia Oromo Collar   Brass, ridged collar with simple etched ornamentation. Supplier attributes to Oromo people. A remarkably standardized type, as the three specimens I have seen are very similar size and weight. Collar (necklace) monies are common in the Congo, but this is the only one I know for Ethiopia.     455b) 147mm across, 60mm gap, 40.5 oz., well worn $100;    455c) 140mm across, 70mm gap, 36.6 oz., sharp condition $125

Ancient? Boat Anklet   Large anklet in shape of a boat, oval with one pointed end, etched lines design. These came with a group of excavated items from the Jenne area. More modern pieces of similar shape are attributed to the Senufo of Burkina Faso. Two different available, 140-145mm (5.5") long, 17, 21 oz. 48) Each: $95.00

Quiggin Figure 34 Bracelet   Partly hollow unbroken circle with plain, steeply bevelled sides falling to bordered snake pattern; wide casting seam interior. Closest item I've found published is Q p.98 "Uganda" though this may not be the same thing. D24 #ADN8.   187A 95-100m, 140-225gm, interiors 2.5 - 2.75" so wearable by some. Two examples shown $40;   187B) Without inner snake patterning & larger 105m, 300-425gm $50

Bells Cuff-Bracelet   Nigeria, Fulani? Broad, gapped cast cuff with "corn-row" and circles/cosmos designs, and "Fulani bells" attached by loops. Can be bent and reclosed to fit on small to average wrists. Typically 40-60mm high x 50-60mm across. Sample pieces shown. Four bells on front, plus: 224a) Two more on back $23.50;   224b) 3 x Cosmos design on back $18.50

Excavated Togo Bracelet   Copper brcelets of unknown age, from Togo rather than Jenne-Jeno where old bracelets of different design are found. Bands 13-17mm wide, with narrow gaps, 70-75mm across, with extenive design: raised bumps, half-Cosmos symbols, etc. Samples shown: I've left these dirty and crusty as found, but a wire brushing and oiling would make them look like museum pieces. 50) Each: Pair of matched bracelets $85, or single: $47.50

Proto-Manillas   Nobody knows what inspired the distinctive flared-end torque form introduced by the Portuguese, but one candidate is the crusted, misaligned pieces shown in Johansson Fig. 2, excavated in 1964 at Igbo-Ukwu. Over the years Africa Traders have brought me tens of thousands of bracelet forms, random bits of curled copper, boschie, and trade manillas, usually mixed together. I always look for pieces with flattened ends and/or overlaps. My own speculative theory on the origins of the manilla is this: Calabar rod - the generic term for copper and brass imports - brought overland by the Arabs, and later Europeans, was likely cut to shorter lengths with saws or chisels, the ends pounded flat to remove burrs - producing a "foot" - and bent towards round for easier carrying or concealment. Most such pieces were simply raw material, later made into bracelets, implements, etc. but in some places may have served as barter units. These were seen by European traders, who decided this is what Africans used as money, and imitated the basic form in a refined way. Specimens p and q below were both cast rather than hammerrd from bar of uniform dimensions. Following is a photo gallery of pieces I have handled, the more recent with specs. If a price follows the photo link, it's for sale, if not, it's already gone. 933e     933f     933g $175;    933h $175;    933j ;    933k $150;    933L $100;    933m $125;    933n $100;    933p $200;    933q $275

Sombe Penny   Grooved iron rod with flattened ends of the Guro, Baule, and Bete peoples, Ivory Coast. Shorter than the familiar Kissi penny, with blunted, asymmetrical top, about 220mm (9") tall; B1.3, Opitz p.92 ("Buji"), Blandin, Fer Noir p.163 (in bundle).    307a) Classic form: bend at top prior to flattening leaves a stub at left: $30;    307b) Squared bend: little or no stub on left side $25;    307s) Set of varieties a and b (2 pieces) $47.50;   307c) Small bottoms: Most of the flattened bottom has been removed(?), leaving specimens about 10mm shorter than classic variety. Probably done during their period of use, as no fresh-metal breaks are evident, and tops are undamaged $15.00

Ibo Cult Spears   Long, pointed iron shafts with variable iron and copper-wrap elements at top and bottom. Made by Akwa blacksmiths of southern Nigeria for the Ozo, or high priests of the Ibo peoples. Johansson, Nigerian Currencies, supl. p.13 notes that thy are "used by the chiefs of the Nsubi and Edo tribes for payment; extremely rare". (B2.5)
# Length Description
Price
   # Length Description
Price
B2.5A.c54" Aluminum knob at top ; most of the twisted iron tines at center are bent SOLD   B2.5A.d 50.5" Double loop at top; most of the twisted iron tines at center are bent 150.00
B2.5B.b49" "Antler" top. Undamaged SOLD   B2.5B.c 57" One "antler" at top missing, point at bottom bent 95.00

New offer of CONGO "DOWRY SPEARS" below.

Early British Manilla Blowout   I was able to buy a small hoard of Nkobnkob manillas, large pieces in the 150 - 225 gram range. If we assign the heavier, less flared Mkporo to the late Portuguese trade, these would be the earliest Birmingham products. They come in two distinctive varieties, round and oval foot. This group is heavily green crusted with some porous areas, but they can be cleaned. Roughly made compared to later types, they often have visible seams and flashing.   943) Oval foot, and 945) Round foot, $35 each, or $55.00 for both.



AKAN GOLD WEIGHTS      Implements of a gold dust economy


      Cast ca. 1400 - 1900+ by the Akan (including Ashanti) peoples of coastal Ghana and Ivory Coast, the weights enabled commerce using raw gold which was panned in the region. The standard and, to some extent, forms of the earliest (c. 1400) geometrical weights were based on the Islamic standards of the Western Sudan, and evolved to include more complex forms adopting English and Portuguese ounce standards. By c. 1600 figural types were being cast, representing objects of everyday use, and natural objects were reproduced by direct lost-wax casting. Since about 1900 figural weights, especially human forms, were made to feed the growing European collector market. Listings below are by Garrard's (1980) classes, though I have no doubt made errors of assignment. Pieces that have been revalued through cuts (reduced) or added lead (enhanced), though more interesting numismatically, have been down-valued because the art market rules in the pricing structure. Scans are 2X true size.

PLEASE GIVE SECOND CHOICES IF POSSIBLE


Class-1   c.1400-1700, Geometricals. I have included geometricals here which are clearly later.   Pricing: 235a) $30; b) $25; 235c-e $20
Class-2   c.1400-1700, Engraved.   Pricing: 236a) $35; 236b) $50
Class-5   c.1400-1700, Notched.   Pricing: 237a-c) $20; 237d) $15
Class-7   c.1500-1720, Carved Rectangles.   Pricing: 239a-c) $20; 239d-f $15
Class-8   c.1500-1720, Elaborated Carved Rectangles. Commonest of the Early Period classes, these are transitional between the simpler forms of Classes 6 & 7, and the Late Period weights.   Pricing: 240a-c) $20; 240d-g) $17.50; 240h-p) $15; 240q-w) $10; 240x-ee $7.50
Class-9   c.1500-1720, Pyramids.    Pricing: 243a-b) $17.50; 243c-d) $15
Late Period   c.1700-1900, Larger / nicer pieces.    Pricing: 244a-f) $20; 244g-q $17.50; 244r-ff) $15
Late Period   c.1700-1900, Smaller / more ordinary pieces.    Pricing: 245a-vv) $12; (Give second choices if possible!)
Late Period   c.1700-1900+, Newer-looking pieces.    Pricing: 246a-n) $9; (Give second choices if possible!)
Late Period   c.1700-1900+, Engraved pieces. Etched & punched designs rather than cast; less worn, so I assume newer as a group.   Pricing: 249a) $25; 249b-e) $15; 249f-p) $9
Bird Weight   c.1700-1900+,    255r) Bird Nicely detailed, on stand, with light green patina. Copper, not the usual brass 17.3mm tall, 10.6gm $85
Ring-mounted   c.1700-1900+,     255k) Lost-wax Peanut, ring-mounted: $22.50; 255Ka) Peanut, not mounted, like shown piece but very worn, dark tone $22.50; 255L-p: Geometricals ring-mounted Each: $10
Sawfish   A form associated with the Baule, these are modern pieces:   258a) Small, crude, looped as pendant $2 Others shown are NOT AVAILABLE
Human Figural Weights   Modern pieces made for collectors, though better quality than some. 50-60mm tall.   Pricing: 259a-q, s) $6.50; 259r, t) $4; (NOTE: Only f, g, r, and p remain, others SOLD)
Ashanti Gold-Dust Scale   (nsania) Ghana, Ivory Coast ca.1700-1900, used with figural and geometrical weights to value gold dust, primary money item of the Akhan (Asante & Baule) peoples. ±45-70mm concave brass pans with 3 holes at edges. Well-used but intact pieces. Add string & a stick for a simple balance scale. 250) Pair of "semi-matched" pans: 12.50
Ashanti Gold-Dust Shovel   (famfa) Ghana, Ivory Coast ca.1700-1900, used with figural and geometrical weights to value gold dust, primary money item of the Akhan (Asante & Baule) peoples. Shovel-pan of distinctive shape to hold the gold for blowing away dust, an important step before weighing. Brass, sometimes minor design. Length of each piece noted:    252b) 165mm chip in edge $35; 252e) 142mm $45; 252f) 149mm $45;    252g) 150mm $40;
Smaller size    252m) 139mm $35; 252n) 139mm 2 cuts & repair $20; 252p) 117mm one small cut $25; 252q) 120mm $25; 252r) 90mm Rough edges & needs cleaning $15; 252s) 116mm 3 cuts $20


CALABAR ROD CURRENCIES      THE OLDEST AFRICAN TRADE MONEY


      Long before Western Europeans captured the Africa trade with coastal voyages in the 15th and 16th Centuries and introduced Manillas, copper rods were part of the trans-Sahara trade from Arab and Byzantine lands. "Calabar Rod" is the generic trader term applied later to all copper and brass bullion in rod form. In Nigerian Primitive Currencies (p.44), S. O. Johansson quotes and summarizes Barbot, a traveller in Old Calabar writing in 1698: "The English and Dutch import a great deal of copper in small bars round and equal about 3 feet long weighing about a pound and a quarter, which the Blacks of Calabar work with much art, splitting the bar into 3 parts from one end to the other, which they polish as fine as gold and twist the 3 pieces together very ingeniously like cords to make what sorts of arm rings they please." He also said that these copper bars, as was also the case with iron bars, were trading currency, i.e. were used only in transactions between Europeans and natives, the latter working them into various objects such as arm rings mentioned above, which he called Bochie. See Johansson p.14 for a small specimen without knot & Ballarini The Perfect Form #2.11 for more complex examples
      Judging from the typical state of the metal, my guess is that Bochie bracelets are the oldest rod product (likely preceding the first Manillas), with Mondua (B#2.12)contemporary or a bit later, while single-bend forms such as Okpoho okuk (Eyo p.64) and coil forms such as Nja of Igboland and the compact multi-coil forms are more recent, though some coils show age. Calabar rod is found in both brass and copper. A well-documented find of buried brass rod is dated to the 12th century, so we can not presume copper pieces to be older. The metals are easily distinguished by making a small cut, which will gleam reddish for copper, or yellow-white for brass.
      Why do these ingeniously crafted and historically important money forms appear in so few reference works? Even Ballarini ignores them, though their qualification as money is far broader than most of the objects in his book. They have been available, relatively cheaply, from the Traders since the 1980s. I believe it is because the metal is so old, folded, encrusted, and brittle, that they are difficult to clean and unattractive when the raw copper beneath is exposed. The similar but more modern and larger Mondua are cleanable, and have risen steadily in price as demand from galleries increased, but the patchy Bochie are deemed unattractive by art collectors, and so have drawn little attention among collectors and the art-based press.

Twist Bochie   As Barbot noted, the typical form is that of a single copper bar split along most of its length, then ingeniously twisted together to form a bracelet shape with the bar ends nested in the rounded bracelet ends. The bracelet ends overlap to varying extent. At least one writer believes this form mimics earlier twisted raffia (cloth) bracelets; arguably earlier bracelets from Jenne-Jeno include twist types. These facts and examination of the relative condition of the metals suggest to me that the no-knot types may precede those with knots. They are certainly much less common. Toned copper, usually with green or red patina. Measurement across widest point; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
55d 53mm 4.5 oz end broken 20.00   55e 100mm 6.7 oz double coil 65.00
56d 108mm 26.5 oz symmetrical 125.00   56e 155mm 23.5 oz open profile, crusty 125.00
56f 110mm 22.3 oz double coil, flat ends 125.00  

Twist-&-Knot Bochie (Bracelet)   As with the previous category, made from a single Calabar rod, spliced and twisted with rounded ends nesting the bar ends, but with a knot at top as well. Toned copper, usually with green or red patina. Measurement across widest point; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
57a 125mm 10.6 oz one rounded end missing. 23.50    57b 132mm 9.6 oz asymmetrical 40.00
57c 105mm (4") 9.25 oz 23m overlap. little patina SOLD   57d 120mm 10.9 oz Break below knot. Heavy patina. 25.00
57e 109mm 10.6 oz 35m overlap. Moderate patina. 45.00    57f 104mm 8.4 oz 60m overlap. Heavy patina & soil. 40.00
57j 102mm 9.25 oz 70m overlap. Heavy patina. SOLD    57L 110m 5.3 oz No overlap. Moderate patina. 40.00
57m 94m 9.9 oz 50% overlap. Dark tone. Small break 2:00 45.00    57p 103mm 5.5 oz BRASS. 90% overlap. Slightly asymmetrical. 50.00
57q 96m 6.6 oz 100+% overlap. Both ends cut. 45.00    57r 89mm 9.5 oz 250% overlap (3 coils). Protruding, bulbous ends. 100.00

Twist-&-Knot Bochie (Armband)   As the bracelets but generally heavier, wider diameter, and more overlap of ends. On some pieces the bar ends have been extended and flattended with designs etched on flattened ends and knot. Toned copper, usually with green or red patina. Measurement across widest point; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
58a 139m 22.1 oz 60% overlap. Brown tone with some green. 100.00    58b 150mm 17.2 oz 50% overlap. Brown tone with some green. 90.00
59a 115mm 9.9 oz Leaf-shaped flattened ends with design, poss. intended as snake? Circles punched into knot. Medium brown with bits of red & green. 100.00    59b 117mm 10.6 oz Thin, leaf-shaped flattened ends but design mostly flaking away. Crusty red & green. 75.00
59c 115mm 17.3 oz Very thick, flattened ends with shape and design of snake head. Scale pattern on knot. Dark brown with a few spots of old, dark green. Brass, not copper. Attractive piece. 175.00   

Twist-&-Knot Bochie (Collar)   Similar to the bracelets and armbands, but open and wearable as a collar. Much more often than the other forms, these are found brown (= cleaned in past, or not buried) and asymmetrical, indicating that they were actually worn. They are easy to bend, so can be re-rounded. Measurement across widest point; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
61j 185mm 20 oz Brass. Bar ends protrude slightly. Brown, some soil. 85.00    61f 172mm 20 oz Bar ends overlap looped bracelet ends & flatten. Chip in knot; see rred-X in scan. Brown with gren areas. 65.00 SOLD
61g 180mm 16 oz Bar ends protruding & swollen manilla-style. Brown with green areas. SOLD    61k 195mm 38 oz. Bar ends folded over bracelet end-loops.. Asymmetrical but can be straightened. Light brown (cleaned & retoned). 145.00 SOLD
61L 185mm 52 oz. Massive piece showing much use. Waxy soil(?) fills grooves = preservative, or something applied during ceremonial use? Brass "cuff" on one side could hide a break(?) but feels solid & the cuff blends in. 200.00    61m 190mm 36oz. Bar ends protruding & swollen manilla-style. Brown color. Two breaks (arrows) cause piece to wobble when handled. 75.00

Twist & Knot Bochie: Compact   Largest of the twist-and-knot Bochie. These are found both compact / symmetrical and open / asymmetrical, suggesting that the compact form is for storage, but some pieces are opened out and worn. Toned copper, usually with green or red patina. Measurement across widest point; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
60a 100mm 23.2 oz 100% overlap. Ends in line with top knot; will stand up. Manilla-style ends. Medium brn. tone with crusty soil. 175.00    60d 176mm 52 oz Just 20% overlap. May have been opened and worn.. Patchy red & green. 185.00 SOLD
60h 115mm 45 oz 75% overlap. Manilla-style ends. Symmetrical piece which stands up on either end. Patchy green & soil adhesions. 185.00    60j 150x135mm 78 oz Massive piece. 15% overlap. Three breaks (see arrows) do not affect stability of piece. Brown with some soil. Large top knot, but can't get it on scanner. 250.00
60e 120mm 40 oz 110% overlap. Manilla-style ends. Some green & soil over brown. 185.00    60k 93mm 21 oz 110% overlap. Manilla-style ends. Some green & soil over brown. 110.00

Calabar Coils (Copper)   Probably Nigeria, Cross River region 18-19th Cent.? European "Calabar rod" wire coiled for wearing (or storage?) by the Africans. Darkly patinated copper (not brass). Chart below shows wire gauge (thickness) in mm; outer diameter in mm, and weight in ounces. Taler shown for size is 40mm.
# Gauge Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Gauge Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
67a 11.5-12.5 85mm 25-27 oz 3+ coils. One of 2 specimens shown. 40.00    67b 11.5-12.5 85mm 29-31 oz 3 coils. One of 3 specimens shown. 45.00
67c 10 80mm 48 oz 9 coils SOLD   67d 10 107mm 28 oz 4+ coils. Wearable. 42.50
67e 8 77m 22 oz 6.5 coils SOLD    67f 8 77m 27 oz 8 coils SOLD
67g 6 74mm 19 oz 10 coils. Patina & soil crusting. 32.50    67h 6 70mm 17 oz 10 coils 30.00

Calabar Coils (Brass)   Probably Nigeria, Cross River region 18-19th Cent.? European "Calabar rod" wire coiled for wearing (or storage?) by the Africans. Darkly patinated brass, looks much like copper but does not develop red & green patches. Chart below shows wire gauge (thickness) in mm; outer diameter in mm, and weight in ounces. Taler shown for size is 40mm.
# Gauge Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Gauge Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
71a 10 103mm 35 oz 5 coils. Wearable size. Soil encrusting. 45.00    71b 10 87mm 43 oz 7.75 coils. Some soil. 50.00
71c 10 90mm 36 oz 6 coils. 45.00    71f 9 80mm 30 oz 8 coils; 1 coil "loose" from stack 40.00
71g 8 70mm 26 oz 8.25 coils; enc coils slightly embedded in stack. 35.00    71j 8 73mm 22 oz 7 coils 30.00
71k 8 82mm 20 oz 5.5 coils 30.00    71r 12 79mm 48 oz 8 coils. Rod has two lengthwise grooves. SOLD

Clabar Coils (Small)   Thin gauge (6mm) brass Calabar rod, generally 4 coils, outer width 70-80mm. Missionary and ethnographic money dealer Paul Dillingham advises they were used in French Cameroun in the 1890s; he saw them listed on old invoices of French trading companies. Much more common than coils of wider-gauge wire. NOT WEARABLE SIZE   72) Typical pieces: $18.50; Pair $30
72g) Patinated and heavily crusted specimens; typical pieces shown: 20.00
Irregular Coils   Calabar rod is generally smooth, rounded, and of even gauge. The rod in these pieces is rough and uneven. This suggests either older Calabar rod, or a product of African smiths. Also, one or both ends are tapered, suggesting either a pinching as the wire was drawn to a desired length, or filing. Chart below shows wire gauge (thickness) in mm. Measurement across widest point; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Gauge Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Gauge Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
79a 0-10 79mm 11.2 oz 4 coils. Red copper. Very irregular, squarish rod, tapered ends. Patchy black tar. Supplier says from Congo. 45.00    79b 0-10 74mm 12.3 oz 5 coils. Red copper. Very irregular, squarish rod,; tapered ends. Decorative hatching on exterior. Patchy black tar. Supplier says from Congo. 60.00
79c 0-8 70mm 10.7 oz 4 coils. Copper. Irregularity of rod possibly due to filing. Tapered ends. 45.00    79d 7-9 79mm 28 oz 8.5 coils. Yellow Brass. Rod rough and flat on interior, not filed. Ends bluntly tapered. Supplier says from Congo. 75.00
79e 7 73mm 18.7 oz 8 coils. Brass. Rough, slightly squarish rod of even gauge. Tapered ends. 35.00    79g 5-6 67m 12.1 oz 8.5 coils. Brass. One end cut; narrowing gauge at other end widened and exteneded 1/2 coil bysheet-brass wrapping. 40.00

Nja / Mondua Hybrids   Three interesting pieces which link Nja, Mondua, and Calabar coils. These recreate the bulbous-end Mondua pieces using thinner gauge rod (as Nja) or pre-existing coil units.
362a Brass, 29 coils, 6mm gauge, 14.5" tall, 1.76kg (3 Lb 6 oz). Large but otherwise typical Nja piece, but crudely cast bulbous ends have been attached.    $95
362b) Copper, 24 coils, 6mm gauge, 8.75" tall, 1.90kg (4 Lb 3 oz). One additional coil with a hammered, bulbous end has been soldered to each end (see red X); one is loose and wiggles.    $95

Mondua   Copper Calabar rod of thick gauge with bulbous ends tightly coiled in legband form. Generally attributed to the Yoruba of Nigeria, whose word for money is Mondua. An impressive item, and one possibility suggested as the inspiration for the bulbous-ended manilla. The asking price on these pieces has been going up sharply lately. Opitz p.215 ( 2 pcs. upper right).
360e) Rounded wire, 20 coils of 9-10m gauge, very bulbous ends, 10.25" tall, 3.05kg (6 Lb, 11 oz). Crusty green surface.   $275
360g) Rounded wire, 15 coils of 12m gauge, bulbous ends, unusually heavy piece, 10" tall, 4.08kg (9 Lb). Brown, some soil.    $300
360h Rounded wire, 23 coils of 7m gauge, bulbous ends, unusually long piece, 11" tall, 5.5 Lb. Mostly brown, some soil.    $250
360j Flattened wire, 17 coils of 10m width, bulbous ends., 10" tall, 3.5 Lb. Mostly brown, some soil. The flattened wire gives the appearance of size with a lower weight.    $200
360k Rounded wire, 24.5 coils of 7m gauge, losenge ends., 9.5" tall, 6 Lb. Mostly brown, some soil. Smaller ends than usual.    $225
360y) Small Mondua? Rough, rounded wire of 9mm gauge, 12 coils, 40 oz, 160 x 70mm for coiled portion. Swollen, rounded ends rather than the typical Mondua losenge end.     $95
360y) Miniature Mondua-like piece, with bulbous ends and loose coils of irregular, flat "wire," though piece was probably cast entire then bent. Brass with such a hard green patina is clearly very old. 5.25 oz, 65x56mm    $45
Repaired? Mondua   Dirty and heavily patinated, but a classic example of the Mondua, except that two spots show old repairs, or possibly joins where shorter segments were put together. One of these joins (below right of penny in scan) is now loose so tht the three end coils "flop" when not lying flat - but do not come loose. Could be soldered, or positioned so the break would not be evident in display.   360L) 17 coils, 10" tall. $125


Yoruba Mondua   My name for this category which uses the Bochie-style intertwined split Calabar rod, rather than a single thick rod, to construct a set of stacked coils with broadly flattened ends. A. Fisher in Africa Adorned page 104 says "formerly worn by the Oba of Ife." (King of the Yoruba). (B2.12a-c), Schaedler p. 328. Denk (1986) shows a piece from Uyo (city). Measurement height x width; Taler shown for size is 40mm. Click on stock number to see specimen.
# Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price    # Diam. Weight
Remarks
Price
63b 115 x 90mm 39 oz 6-coil with swollen Manilla-style ends. One end missing. Brown color. 100.00    63g 185 (7.35") x 100mm 58 oz 6-coil with hugely swollen Manilla-style ends. Thick green patina, Soil crusted. 295.00
63d 100 x 77mm 30 oz 5-coil with swollen Manilla-style ends. One end missing. Green color. 85.00    63f 225 (8.75") x 130mm 73 oz 7-coil with hugely swollen Manilla-style ends. Thick green patina, Soil crusted. 375.00
63p 140 x 100mm 77 oz 8-coil with etched "losenge" ends. Attractive, symmetrical piece, Much nicer than this awful scan. 400.00   



TRADE MANILLAS      MONEY OF THE SLAVE TRADE

      "Manilla" is a term that is often used loosely to refer to several sorts of African bracelet or collar, particularly those that are older or more clearly monetary in function. Below are offered circulating manillas of European manufacture, which were first associated with the slave trade and later became general currency. For more background on trade manillas and a detailed type breakdown with specimens offered for sale see Info-24.

Early British Manilla   Possibly Dutch but likely the first Birmingham type. "Nkobnkob" type as identified by Johansson. Largest manilla found in circulation hoards and visually distinct from later types. Ends sharply flaring producing roughly rounded but asymmetrical footprint. 75-76m across by 77-85m, 11m gauge, 160-225 grams. Nkobnkob are often found roughly cast with flashing at the seams 18th Century or earlier. Green color.   945a) Largest specimens $40.00;   945b) Slightly smaller specimens, 130-160gms $25.00
Middle period British Manilla   "Onoudu" as identified by Johansson. Similar to Nkobnkob, but smaller, 65-71mm across by 72-75mm, under 80-120gm, 8-9m gauge, often showing casting seam. Large, broad footprint. Probably 18th Century. Green color.   946) Larger specimen: $13.50
Late British Manilla   Birmingham. Relatively small, light piece, possibly an Okombo or Atoni as identified by Johansson. Average 55mm across, 60-80gm. Very similiar to type found in the Duoro wreck, dated to 1843. Brown or green color.   970/2) $9.50
   - - - Basic British Set:    Set of early, middle, and late period British, showing decline in size and weight 3 pieces:   997s) $39.95
   - - - Comprehensive set    Grand set of 13 pieces: Two types of early British, 8 types of middle and late British, one miscast piece plus broken fragment, and 2 types of French Manilla, all as described in Info- 24   996T) $180


LARGE MANILLAS & COLLARS      IMPRESSIVE CRESCENT FORMS


      Aside from the smaller trade pieces, "manilla" is used to designate a number of larger pieces, some ceremonial, and others possibly storage units for bullion. The terms King and Queen manilla are applied almost randomly by various authors, but the ceremonial pieces from Nigeria do tend to break down into two categories: Heavier forged copper pieces with simple designs, and lighter cast brass pieces generally with more complex designs which I call respectively King and Queen. From Zaire come faceted, unadorned brass pieces called Onganda.

King Manilla   (Nigeria) Forged copper crescent with rounded body and flared feet, decorated with punched and etched designs. Weight and size are not standardized; most are 2-4 kilos but sometimes specimens with identical designs are found with almost equal weights. Not money in the sense of trade manillas, but likely for wealth display or ceremonial use; many have clearly been buried. There are two basic forms but with intermediate specimens. "Flat" pieces are elongated with near-angular shoulders and flat feet, while "Crescent" pieces are torque-shaped like trade manillas with inward-pointing feet. Flats have simple dot-in-circle punch designs while Crescents are more complex, with etched and punched leaf or wave designs in addition. For atypical pieces see Ballarini #2.8, Opitz (2000) p.215, and Eyo p.49.   1 Kilo = 2.2 Lb.   100mm = 4 inches

PHOTO
STOCK#
SHAPE
KILO
MM
DESIGN
SURFACE
$
  340B.L   Flat 2.30 314 Sharp: Dot-in-circle punches top, sides & foot bottoms Lt. brown; fairly smooth $ 350.00
  340B.a   Flat 2.33 334 Sharp: Dot-in-circle punches top & two at sides Red-brown w. patches of hard green; Large, perfect feet $ 425.00
  340B.n   Flat 2.73 318 Sharp: Dot-in-circle punches top, sides & foot bottoms Red-brown; fairly smooth; Sprue-notch in foot $ 400.00
  340B.g   Flat 2.07 300 Sharp hatched-diamond Top; Less-sharp wave & dot/circle at sides Red/dark brown w. a few green spots; Medium smooth $ 300.00
  340B.p   Flat / Heavy 3.00 275 Clear: Dot-in-circle & stippled waves Top & partly one side; other side blank Mostly green with some brown patches; somewhat rough $ 245.00
  340B.e   Flat 2.57 265 Sharp: Dot-in-circle Top & Cuffs; punched zigzags Sides & Cuffs Lt. brown; smooth $ 350.00
  340B.f   Intermediate 2.00 270 Sharp: Dot-in-circle punches top & two at sides Med. brown, fairly smooth w. rough spots $ 350.00
  340B.h   Intermediate 1.96 233 Sharp: Dot-in-circle in punched box, center Top only Dk. brown, patches of hard green; Notches in feet $ 250.00
  340B.b   Intermed. / Heavy 3.42 258 Clear: Dot-in-circle Top & Cuffs; punched zigzags Sides & Cuffs Red/brown w. spots of grn.; somewhat rough $ 325.00
  340B.d   Intermediate 3.90 270 Fairly weak: Punch & hatched leaf pattern center & Cuffs Dark brown; slightly rough $ 250.00
  340B.q   Intermediate 2.34 243 Weak: Punches Top, Punch & hatch leaf pattern Sides Brown; very porous $ 125.00
  340B.k   Crescent / Heavy 4.05 270 Sharp: Dot-in-circle surr. by hatched leaf Center & extended Cuffs Lt to Dk brown (patchy), grn. areas near cuffs; fairly smooth $ 475.00
  340B.c   Crescent / Heavy 3.90 246 Sharp: Dot-in-circle surr. by hatched leaf Center & extended Cuffs Dk. brown; fairly smooth $ 425.00
  340B.m   Crescent 1.79 222 Clear: Dot-in-circle surr. by hatched leaf Center & extended Cuffs Red-brown; fairly smooth; Sprue-notch one foot. $ 225.00
  340B.j   Crescent / Small 1.19 205 Fairly clear: Dot-in-circle surr. by hatched leaf Center & extended Cuffs Red-brown; rough, green spots $ 150.00
  340B.r   Imitation 0.72 257 None; Calabar rod bent to Flat King shape, one end punded out as foot Green, rough, a very old piece of rod, once buried $ 45.00
  340C.a   Intermediate / BRASS 1.93 240 Faceted body with extensive design. A king-sized Queen manilla. Brown tone over yellow brass with patches of verdigris $ 400.00


Queen Manilla   (Nigeria) With a visible bottom seam, these are Cast (vs forged), bronze or brass (vs copper), faceted (vs round) elongated-C shapes with splayed feet distinguish what I call Queen (vs King) types. Generally lighter and more ornamented than Kings, with four main facets (square) and short bevels between. The harder metal means the designs are generally clearer than with Kings. Johanssen, 1967, cover (both), Eyo p.61 (both?); Ballarini #2.8, Opitz (2000) p. 214 top.

PHOTO
STOCK#
SHAPE
KILO
MM
DESIGN
SURFACE
$
  348.n   8 Facets 1.16 228 Clear: Sharp: Bordered hatching alternates with Dot-in-circle across Top & Sides; striped cuffs. Very dark brown with verdigris; somewhat rough. $ 200.00
  348.b   8 Facets 0.99 213 Partly clear: Crescent punches top & two at sides. Four facets with narrow bevels between. Brown with extensive green patches; rough $ 95.00
  348.c   8 Facets 0.84 207 Mostly clear: Bordered hatching Top & both Sides Brown with extensive green patches; slightly rough $ 125.00
  348.f   8 Facets 1.12 245 Clear: Hatched leaves Top & both Sides + bevels; Stipple pattern on feet Red-brown with bits of green; rough $ 150.00
  348.g   8 Facets 0.86 195 Mostly clear: Etched lines & punches Top & Sides; Dot-in circle punches Feet Red-Lt. brown; rough $ 95.00
  348.h   8 Facets 1.05 235 Mostly clear: Alternating Dot-in-circle punch and etched leaf design on all facets except bottom; Dot-in-circle punches Feet. Different pattern on each side (unusual) Red-brown, bits of green; rough $ 125.00
  348.L   8 Facets 1.06 218 Mostly clear: Double waves top, crosshatch in border with Dot-in-circle above & below Patchy yellow-brown, some green spots; rough $ 135.00
  348.j   Round 0.51 212 Unclear: Hatched leaves? Yellow-brown; extremely rough. Poorly cast. $ 35.00
  348.k   Round 1.32 241 Sharp: Bordered hatching alternates with Dot-in-circle across Top & Sides; Cross pattern on Feet. Unusual round vs 4+4 shape. Patchy yellow & brown, some green or dark spots; mostly smooth $ 225.00
  348.d   4 Facets / Wide 0.66 193 Mostly clear; X & crosshatch pattern both sides Dark brown with patches of green; somewhat rough $ 95.00
  348.m   4 Facets / Wide 0.74 186 Clear: Long double waves in border, punches at sides; Top & other side plain. Round feet Brown, some dark or green spots; fairly smooth $ 110.00
  348.e   4 Facets / Arch 0.61 147 Sharp: Wave / crescent punches Top & Sides, crosshatch one end Red-brown; fairly smooth, side of one leg rough. $ 145.00


"Prince" Manillas   This is my name for smaller, lighter pieces of crescent or arch shape with swollen ends. Most are smaller versions of Queen Manilla shapes.

PHOTO
STOCK#
SHAPE
KILO
MM
DESIGN
SURFACE
$
  346A.a   4 facets 0.37 190 Clear: Etched lines & X's; Top & other side plain Red-brown; somewhat rough $ 85.00
  346A.b   4 facets 0.21 142 Mostly clear: Etched slanted lines Top & one Side Brown with green patches; rough $ 60.00
  346A.c   4 facets 0.42 200 Sharp: Etched straight & slanted lines one side; Top & other side plain Dark brown; smooth $ 125.00
  346A.d   4 facets 0.35 172 Clear: Etched V's one side; Top & other side plain Brown with much green; somewhat rough $ 75.00
  346A.e   4 Facets / Splayed 0.52 178 Clear: Hatched half leaves Top; Paired double waves Side-1; Paired waves Side-2; 4-line cuffs Pale Red-brown; somewhat rough $ 110.00
  346B.a   Faceted Crescent 0.40 190 Plain. Body faceted, cuffs round. Dark brown; fairly smooth. Casting flaw one leg $ 45.00
  346B.b   Crescent 0.65 205 Plain. Body round Pale green corrosion; very rough $ 35.00
  346C.a   Round Arch 0.29 134 Sharp: V's one side Red-brown; fairly smooth $ 45.00


"Working Queen" Manilla   Copper, crimped crescent shape with flared, bulbous ends, eight facets. No etching. Probably the commonest large manilla "type." Opitz p.214.calls it a Prince, worth 50 ordinary manillas, and it appears to be a working bullion piece rather than a ceremonial item. The weight range is just about the average for the Handa ("Katanga") Cross, and I suspect there is some relationship between these two forms. Could these be recast crosses?? Ballarini (1998 p.5) & B5.64 attributes it to the Jonga, Nkutshu & Mongo peoples of the Congo Dem. Rep.   31-35 oz (±8.8-9.9k), 8" across. Usually squared profile, but occasionally bowed, as shown.   355) $100

Onganda Manilla   Jonga & Mongo Tribes, Zaire. B5.59. A small (150m) piece was worth 10 Belgian Francs in 1950. Darkly toned brass with four flat facets and slightly bulging square ends, hatching design along ridges. I have broken into arbitrary categories. Lighter ones are less thick, but do not look much shorter. Due to very little material coming from Congo in the last ten years, I have only a few pieces left. Please INQUIRE.

Nkutshu Bullion Bracelet   Heavy cast copper bars bent to ring shape with numerous hammer marks on surface. These are identifiable among similar crescent forms by the redness of the copper and characteristic black patina, probably the result of burning or oiling. See Der Primitivgeldsammler 1992 vol.2 as Nkutshu (Tetela, Hamba, Onga) or North Kasai, Zaire; B5.60. Weights ranging from 37 to 107 oz. with no pattern indicate they traded by weight rather than unit.   Specimens available: 330d $55;    330f $55;    330h $60;    330k $145 .

Yoruba collars   Circular torque with rounded cuffs and pointed ends, slightly open. Central Nigeria. Ballarini #2.4 shows large and small examples. Available: 327a) Clean brass, 9.75x9.5", 4 Lb, 10 oz. (±2 kilo). Consigned by my supplier, as I was not confident enough of its age to buy it. Has anyone seen a similar piece? Price: $1250 ;    327b) Well-aged brass, body has 8 subtle facets, 79 oz (2.24 kilo), 6.75" across, $400; ;    327e) Thin profile, brass, 6 fluted facets,33 oz (.936 kilo), 8" across, Ballarini lower picture, Dillingham calls Bidda, $200;    327f) Crude lead "counterfeit", 31.4 oz (.89 kilo), 4.75" across, $45-->

MORE heavy Zaire bracelets and collars.

CONGO COLLAR, LEGBAND & ARMBAND MONIES


       Legband monies were worn by married women and represented an important part of their dowry. They demonstrated the husband's wealth both in the sheer metal weight, and in his indifference toward the lowered productivity of his wives in the fields, who were hobbled by wearing them. Some types were apparently removed only upon death, while others (or perhaps more in modern times) could be removed periodically for polishing. They often display some cracking from being opened and reclosed. The large, attractive Konga and Mbole pieces are relatively well documented, and sell readily in the art market. Less collected is a largely unpublished class of bracelet/legband types which transition stylistically from the Konga westward to the lovely Gabonese pieces with multiple bold ridges published by A. Fisher (p.89 #6, Fang) and R. Denk (Der PrimitivgeldSammler 1993 p17-19, Kota, Bamba).
Mbole Hollow Legband    Large, spherical red-copper hollow rings made by the Jonga (incl. Nkutshu, Mongo, Mbole), Congo River region. Ballarini lists five named denominations by size, though observed specimens are quite variable in size and weight. Used in dowry. B5.58; Opitz p.201 The largest "A" size are about the size of a soccer ball. Most specimens have flat spots and/or cracks in the edge from removal, but I do have a few "perfect" specimens.   PLEASE INQUIRE

Konga, Jeanpierre    Heavy legband made by smiths of the Mongo, a large central Congo tribal group in earthen kilns using a wooden press and shapd by a log; worn by women to display husband's wealth. Also called Jambiére meaning shin-guard or legging in French. Toned brass. Larger specimens have a "collar" etched at each end,. B5.35, Opitz p.201-02. Extensive article in "Der Primitivgeld-sammler" 32/2, 2011    Available specimens:
PHOTO Length Weight Color Ends etched Body etched Flaws Price
347a 4.5" 2 Lb 10 Oz Lt brn No No Lg open crack top/side; tear in edge $ 45
345c 9" 9 Lb 1 Oz patchy red, grn, brn No No moderate hole nr. edge, ragged edges, patchy surface $ 125
345m 9" 6 Lb 13 Oz Dk brn, patchy lt brn 2 "BONGO"; lg decorative pattern few nicks $ 200
345p 10.5 9 Lb 14 Oz brn 2 60x45m, worn sm tight crack & 3 ragged spots edge $ 265
345q 10 8 Lb 7 Oz brn 2 70x17mm x 2 top; 80x20mm bot.; edge "toothed" nick edge; tight crack bottom $ 245
345y 9.75 8 Lb 4 Oz brn 2 strip top No $ 245

Congo Legband: Mongo (small)   Small versions of the heavy Jeanpierre cuffs of the Mongo peoples. Apparently unpublished in this size. Ends are irregular from removal, but could be fixed with gentle pressure in a vise.   350b) 1 Kilo (35.5 oz), 95 x 100 x 86mm Symmetrical with bends in edges $75;   350c) .9 Kilo (31.5 oz), 95 x 100 x 86mm Asymmetrical from removal with bend in one edge $65

Congo Legband: Bokonga (Konga)   Roughly cast brass open crescents with textured flat interior and (usually two) prominent recessed ridges. Following DeBoer, B5.27 attributes to Konda, Kundu, Ntomba, and Bobangi tribes. Normlly found open rather than crimped as Ballarini's example. Ugly, and unpopular with collectors. 120-140mm, 13.5 - 19 oz.    354a) $22.50;   354p) Less usul 3 or 4 ridges $35.00

Congo Legband: Likonga (Konga)    Cast & forged brass closed crescents with flat interior. Exterior with edge rims and two very prominent recessed ridges. Following explorer accounts of the 1920s, B5.29 attributes them to Ngata, Kutu, and Kela tribes. Usually found with green patination, they look like copper.    356C) Large, 16.2 Kilo (3 Lb, 4 oz), 135 x 120 x 45mm Some nicks, casting roughness, soil, bits of green patination $125.00;   356D) Medium-size specimes, 31, 34, 42 oz., Generally 115 x 100 x 45mm Specimens available: a, b, c Each: $75.00

Congo Legband: Ngombe & Budja    Cast (& forged?) brass closed crescents with rough, flat interior (tho may be found opened after removal). Exterior bulged ridge with numerous fine ridges. Smaller examples could be armbands / bracelets. B5.109 & see B5.135; Ngam p.27. Usually found with green patination, they look like copper.    360c) Large, 2.32 Kilo (82 oz), 105 x 95 x 60mm Attractive, symmetrical example $150.00;   360d) Large, 2.18 Kilo (77 oz), 115 x 98 x 63mm Symmetrical example but wuth metal (solder?) adhesions one side (looks like soil) $75.00;   360e) Medium, .85 Kilo (30 oz), 90 x 80 x 52mm Symmetrical with open gap, but well worn, so lines at top of ridge are blurred $50.00;   361a) Variant: Narrower body and ridges diverging at ends. See B5.136. 1.09 Kilo (38.5 oz), wide 122 x 105 x 48mm Slightly asymmetrical with open gap, and casting crack. Stands up nicely on longer end. $85.00

Budja Armband    Forged brass rod beaten to crescent form with rounded top and flattened, elongated ends bearing etched parallel lines. B5.149 attributes it to this tribe along the River Itimbiri. Six specimens seen are asymmetrical indicating removal from long-term wear, probably as armbands.    365c 25.5 oz, 115mm tall $85;   365f 15 oz, 113mm tall Nearly symmetrical $65

Unattributed Types    Information sought. Click on thumbnail for larger photo.
PHOTO#L x WBreadthWeightDescriptionPrice
358a117 x 105 48 38 oz (1 k)Brass. Heavy piece with rough interior, humped exterior with pattern of fine parallel lines branching to V at ends. Slightly asymmetrical with crack in side. $75

Ngelima / Mbole Arch   Heavy, impressive brass pieces cast as rounded arches, thick in the center and thinner at the ends. Ballarini (1998, #75 & B5.150) attributes them to the Ngelima of the lower Ituri and the Mbole of the Lomami, and peoples in between (Zaire). These are harder to find now. 339n) 7 Lb. (3.2 kilo) 7.5" (192m) across Usual seven facets across top. Crack in end and side (scan shows) plus another much smaller other end, mentioned for completeness as neither affects integrity of piece. 225.00    339p)     6 Lb 10 oz, 6.5" (165mm) across. Significant engraving on top and cuffs and highlighting the faceted top. $325    339q)    7 Lb 5 oz, 6.75" (175mm) across. Significant engraving on top and cuffs. $325
Congo Squared Collar / Legband   A distinctive, heavy type with fairly consistent form, size, and weight. Ballarini (5.34) attributes to Mongo and Ngandu, " . . . come from Ingende and Bokatola, two villages (south of) Mbandaka city, situated along the . . . Congo at the Equator . . . ", while Africaandmore.com call it Mbole. Brass, about 5.5-6" across, about 8 Lbs; four of seven specimens have a ridge-&-circles pattern on exterior, 3 are plain. Could be a legband or collar, but none show interior wear so probably intended as a bullion object. Size given across/height/width.
335a) 125 oz, 145/120/60mm Grooves & circles design, ends thick $200
335c) 129 oz, 145/130/66mm Grooves & circles design, ends thick $250
335e) 109 oz, 137/135/67mm Heavy file marks; ends filed to taper, ends skewed $175
335g) COPPER, 107.5 oz, 163/145/58mm Slightly concave back. Ends roughly cast, tapered, with wide gap. $200
335p) SMALLER, 49 oz,105/96/38mm Very beat-up specimen with most design details gone. $65

Iron Bell Anklet    Large circular piece with two (larger) or three (smaller) hollow enlargements containing an iron ball clapper, circular iron rings dangle between enlargements. Produces a lively clatter when shaken. Dillingham (D23#62, $65) attributes it to the Welle Tribe, Middle Congo, ca. 1880. Blandin (FN p.160 #1) to the Kafo people of Burkina Faso for the "Going of the Masks" ceremony. As with any functional object, one must question the extent to which it served as a monetary item. 395) Larger pieces 120-170m. Some rust, nicks.    $37.50;     395s) Set of 3 different sizes, number of bells, etc., chosen for variety & quality:   $85


BRACELET FORMS


The bracelet is the most common money form in Africa. It served the important monetary functions of portability and wealth display.Variants of this form were accepted virtually everywhere in Africa, with the result that today it is often difficult to know where a particular type originated or was used, and to what extent it was either money or jewelry. My essay African Bracelet Money: Unanswered Questions surveys what we do know about bracelets and manillas. For purposes of this listing I have somewhat arbitrarily sorted out the Calabar rod pieces (perhaps earliest bracelet forms), the manillas (best documented as money), and legbands (differently worn) as separate categories.    Detailed Offering of Bracelet Money is under construction.

Fulani Bracelets   Attractive copper or bronze Bracelets with faceted ends similar to the old tuareg manillas. Mostly 115-120mm wide, around 24 oz.    239) Rounded ends: $55.00;   238) Faceted ends, raised copper plugs inserted in facets. Scan shows worst piece with missing plug and graffiti "AL" (which is present on two specimens!). Will send you best available: $85.00
Biu Division Bracelet   NIGERIA, Bidda Tribe. Well-cast, consistent fancy manilla-like brass bracelet. Wide crescent, flared ends with distinctive ornamented cuffs. Johansson Nigerian Currencies p.44a, Opitz p.280, D24#45. One of the most attractive of cast bracelet types and one of the few attributable to a tribal group.   206a) 85-105m x 9-11m thick, 150-256gm $27.50   206c) 63-77m x 8-10m thick 85-150gm $17.50
Senufo Boat Anklet   BURKINA FASO, Senufo Tribe. Shaped like a high-prowed, broad canoe, smooth and well made brass with knotlike design on one side. Fisher Africa Adorned p.127 shows it on the ground in front of a Senufo soothsayer with two coins during a consultation with the spirits. Blandin Bronzes et autres alliages p.78-9 notes that it is worn by both men and women as an anklet. I've been lucky in obtaining a large quantity of this type and can offer it for less than Dillingham did in the 1970's. (D23#84, D19#48, etc.) Opitz p.281.    194a) Large: (shown) 160-200m long ±570-900gm $45   194b) Medium: 140-180m long ±350-500gm $35   194c) Small: 120-160m long ±60-200gm $24.50   194d) Set of three sizes in roughly 1:2:4 weight ratio, though I don't think any denomination sequence was intended $89.50
Fancy Bracelet   Possibly from the Gurunsi cultural region of Ghana & Burkina Faso (See Glar 4/60). Hollow cast brass with raised design elements at ends, ridged wheat or leaf pattern one end, other end plain. Diameter 80-100m (outer), 65-90+ (inner). Most are dirty, and slightly asymmetrical with small interior cracks. Being hollow they are somewhat flexible and can be bent a bit to fit over hand or wrist.   172) Each: $23.50; Set of 3, different designs & sizes: $59
Iron "Elephant Hair" Bracelet   Thin gauge iron cast in a "wrapped" pattern with true wire wrappings forming the double knot typical of elephant hair bracelets. Supplier says the elephant bracelets imitate these but I would guess it's the other way around. Old-looking, light rust. ±70mm across. Wearable by small hands    378) $7.50

Dorome Token   Cast brass ring used as fare tokens for donkey carts, Dorome Tribe, Nigeria. According to Dillingham (D26#28) the drivers turned them in to the chiefs, who held the concession, and were paid in bracelets. Thus an ethnographic token rather than an ethnographic money, and possibly unique as such? Rings joined together by a leather strip with cloth running through the interior, forming a belt served as a badge of office for the cart drivers. From a large purchase I sorted out varieties. The ridged type I have never seen on belts, so this could be from a different area, or unrelated to the Dorome tokens. Discount available for quantity.
226a)   Stippled Cross-hatching produces tiny raised diamonds on top surface. Largest, heaviest, best made variety, usually unworn, so perhaps most modern. Avg. 16.5gm, most 28-31mm $5.50
226c)   Patterned Mixed stipples and oblique cuts, a pattern seen on some bracelets. Some casting roughness & wear. Avg. 12.75gm, most 25.5-30mm $5.00
226e)   Hatched Simple oblique cuts. Thinner, lighter & often well-worn, possibly oldest variety. Avg. 9.25gm, most 27-31mm $5.00
226ce)   Worn Well-worn examples of Patterned and Hatched varieties, y;our choice. $4.00
226h)   Plain Generally smaller than the patterned types & usually worn-looking. Some showing casting roughness. Possibly the oldest? $4.00
226n)   Ridged Undecorated with pointed top & wide sides. Never found on the belts, so possibly not Dorome, but similar casting technique. Avg. 13gm, most 29-33mm $ 6.50
226r)   Tiny Donuts Plain, thick ringlets, look well-worn. Possibly unrelated to Dorome. Avg. 4gm, most 13-16mm $2.50
226s)   Mini-collection One each of a, c, e, ce, n & r, and 2 different of h (8 pcs.) $34.50

Dorome Belts Rings joined together by a leather strip forming a belt served as a badge of office for the cart drivers. Belts: About 40 pieces 226Aa    226Ab    226Ac    226Ad $80 each;    Long Belts: 80+ rings: 226ARa $165

FAKE Yoruba Collar   This is an absolutely ridiculous copy of the much-sought Yoruba collar - roughly cast, squared, and partly hollow it barely resembles the originals. See B2.4, Opitz p.281. Purchased as part of an Africa Trader's entire stock.     323X) 9" diameter $50

Ivory Bracelet   Quiggin (p.98-100) mentions Ivory, along with slaves and cows, as the main money in the Uganda - Lake Victoria region but suggests that only the tusk form was money. Ivory workers were in the employ of the King and ivory objects were usually owned by royalty. Ivory, gold, and slaves were the main commodities sought by Europeans and the impetus for much of the exploration of Africa. The bracelets of elephant ivory below were made by cutting cross-sections of the tusk.     400P3) Old well-worn bracelet, sawn in two places (for removal or to allow for arm growth), closed with metal staples, since removed, scraped to remove browning caused by sweat & oil. 91.7gm, ±73x65x44mm, tapered thickness, $95;     402C3) Large, thick, 195gm, 110x128x22mm, 14-16mm thick, $225;    404E1) Medium, thin, 36.5gm, 94x81x20mm, 4-6mm thick, browned from sweat & oils, $75;    406.1) Small ringlet , ±8gm, 63x55x4.7mm, 5-6mm thick, $40

CONGO COPPER BULLION MONIES

      Quiggin (p.93) speculates that metal rod currencies may have been the standard in XVIIIth dynasty Egypt. In any case, from antiquity, drawn copper rods, both Arab-import and of Congolese copper, were the basic money from the Sahara to the Congo, later supplemented by copper or brass rod from seafaring Europeans (Herbert P.195-200). Various lengths and gauges of rod or wire were standard in a given place and time, and the metal was often coiled into simple bracelets. Cast "mock stack" bracelets of later times imitate this look. Narrow- gauge metal used in Nigeria is usually called Calabar rod (Johansson p.43), while in the Congo the term Mitako served for a variety of local straight and bent forms used as currency (Quiggin pl. 2 #1-3, Opitz "Calabar rod" & "Mitako"). Lately some unpublished forms have shown up, so please forgive the made-up names and lack of specific attributions. Of course the best-known copper bullion object, neither drawn wire, beaten rod, nor a bracelet, is the Katanga cross, which is a cast bar. However, note the basic similarity of the wire/rod currencies despite regional variations in thickness (gauge) and bent form.

Sanga Cross   Shaba Kingdom. Small, early copper cross money very irregularly cast in a rough H-shape excavated at Sanga, north of Katanga, reliably dated to 15- 18th Century. Herbert Red Gold of Africa p.186 notes that copper objects were money in this region from the 9th C., with crosses known from the 9th-12th C and this type standardized by 1400 and found through the 17th C. . This is her type "B," p.188; Denk Der Primitivgeld-sammler 1985#3, p.3-28 Type II - III.    SAMPLES shown. 383) Smallest: avg. 1.5g, 14-19mm $27.50

Handa Cross   Best-known Katanga cross type, Angled-X-shaped, top (front) side textured from cooling metal, bottom side smooth with a ridge at the juncture. "Puddle cast" from a sand mould in the ground. Produced for the Lomami & Kasai & traded as far as the Angola coast, probably ca. 1800s-1920s. Both a currency unit, unit of account, and an ingot for casting bracelet money (Herbert p.191). Length (by longest axis) runs from about 7.5-10" (190-205mm) and weight 500 - 1000+ gms (1-2+ Lb.). See the "working Queen" manilla for an intriguing weight relationship. What I call half units are much rarer and are symmetrical 90° angled with length 160-180m (6.5-7") and weight 340-400 gm (12-14 oz). Whether they are intentional half units or just from another location or period, I don't know.

PHOTO
STOCK#
TITLE
KILO
MM
COMMENTS
$
  395A.a   Large / Heavy 1.15 247 Prominent bulge center top, otw. typical but for high weight example $ 225.00
  395A.d   Large / green 0.70 230 More worn than usual, with stable verdigris, suggesting an older piece. $ 150.00
  395A.g   Large / bubbled 0.91 240 Prominent cooling bubbles one leg. Circulated with light, stable verdigris. $ 150.00
  395A.h   Large / Newer? 1.10 259 Large, smashed seam, rough, unfinished edges, and lack of wear. Unusually large & heavy with more rounded large angles. My guess is this is a late (1920s) piece. I had several pieces from from the same mould with nearly identical weights. $ 225.00
  395A.k   Large / Cut (0.80) (220) Two ends removed, probably to bring it down to a lower weight standard $ 125.00
  395C.a   Medium / Large 0.82 215 Typical, but covered with tarry substance, perhaps to protect metal $ 135.00
  395C.d   Medium / Large 0.69 226 Smooth casting with long, prominent seam $ 135.00
  395C.h   Medium / Large 0.66 208 Broad, thin with squared ends and casting flaw. Unusual $ 135.00
  395E.a   Medium 0.71 201 Thick for its size. Bottom crudely cast $ 95.00
  395E.b   Medium 0.58 191 Typical example $ 100.00
  395E.f   Medium 0.50 189 Clear pattern on top, light verdigris. Superior specimen $ 125.00
  395H.a   Half Unit 0.37 182 Rough casting $ 95.00
  395Q.a   Oddity 1.37 249 Large, heavy &90deg; cross with squared edges and irregular rim on bottom. Clearly something different is going on here! $ 225.00
  395Q.b   0.56 170 Small, heavy, fluidly &90deg; angled piece with sides rounding to bottom. Red and green patination suggest age. $ 175.00


Mukuba Wa Matwi   Copper bar with flared ends produced, along with the crosses, by the Sanga at Katangan mines, though much scarcer. Herbert quotes the explorer Livingstone (1858-64) as having seen pieces in the 50-100 Lb range . Opitz p.232; Herbert p.190. Ballarini (B5.110) says they are used by the Ngombe and notes that a 1925 work shows a brass trade imitation made in Belgium; B5.99 illustrates rare, early forms. SAMPLES shown.   380D) 75 oz, 21.5" long $250.00;    380F) 36 - 48 oz, 19-21.5" long $165.00

Ngelima? Snake Copper    Thick-gauge copper rod in broad, loose coils with a blunt or pointed tail and a bulbous head. Red copper, slightly rough surface with brown to black patina, about 11-13m gauge, 5 to 6.5 coils, weight 3.5 to over 5 Lb, standing about 22-32" as found. Ballarini (B5.39) says from Iyembe tribe in Lake Leopold II region, called Kongo. See Opitz p.222- 23. A rather practical way of carrying and storing copper rod, as pieces will nest together, and are flexible enough to be pulled or compressed to variable length. Typical SAMPLES shown full length are often asymettrical, but after some simple adjustment, light brushing and oiling as in main photo (head only) these are mounted standing on lucite bases as big ticket items in galleries.   425) $145

Boloko   (a.k.a. Konga or Okanu). Heavy, U-shaped copper bar with round feet. "They were made by the Nkutshu smiths who gave them to the Songo-Meno in exchange for copper in its raw state . ." B5.65; Ballarini (1998, #68) and Opitz. (p.89) have much more info on this well-documented money item. Quiggin p.68, Der Prim 1985/1. At least 33x18cm, 2 lbs. Little variation among specimens. SAMPLE shown. 435W Some chips on feet. 45.00;    Almost no chips (as inset) 435) 65.00

"Swollen Dowells"   Songo-Meno, Zaire. Red-copper dowel with rough hammer marks and a slight swelling at center, sometimes a slight "lip" at ends. For 35 pieces: Length 20-25cm (8-10"); Weight 11-12 oz (310-350gm) clustering closely at 11.7 oz (332gm) suggesting a definite weight standard. B5.63 as Tetela & Nkutshu; Althoff & Lux, 1995, p.26 #5; Opitz (p.134). SAMPLES shown.   430s Set of long/heavy and short/light 55.00;    430) Single piece: $30.00

Congo Figure-8s   Unpublished? My supplier says they are from Zaire and are published in a French-language book as money, but I have not been able to track it down. Local name is "monnaie d'huites" or money eights. They do show wear on the outside surfaces, and are a logical shape for carrying small bits of bullion wire. Brass (I have seen copper also). Three sizes shown SAMPLES: 422a) 39-44m tall, 4m gauge, about 14g $8.50;   422b) 50-66m tall, 5m gauge, about 25.5g $12.50;    422c) 39, 41.5, 44g SOLD

CONGO HOE / SPADE MONIES

     Although far more poorly researched than Nigerian hoe and spade-derived monies, there are a number of distinctive types found in Zaire.


Ikonga   (a.k.. Dikonga dia mpunga) Nkutshu Tribe, Zaire. Thin iron spear blade with socket, but too thin to be functional. Written up by C. deBoer on page 53 of Der Primitivgeldsammler 1992/2. B5.75; Westerdijk (1975) p.131 #H publishes a similar piece as speren-geld, also from Nkutshu and related tribes. Another seller calls it an "ekie" from the Bene of S. Cameroun, used until the 1920's. See Opitz p.203 (Likonga), Kimpel p.30 #16. While hoe-derived general-purpose currencies are common in Africa, spear-derived ones are uncommon. 9.5-10.5" long. Note some variation in size and shape among specimens.   410) Best available, each: 40.00;   410) Rust-damaged specimens, each: 25.00
Bakwele Dupa   Iron hoe-like piece, part of the well-studied Zong/Mandjong currency system of the Bakwele peoples, Congo, called "Dupa." This piece broader than those illustrated in Ballarini (B4.30) and Opitz (p.168 as Jembe).    407) 12.5" (320mm) tall. Deep, stable rust, some chips $90
Lokongo Spade   Ntomba& Ekonda, middle Zaire basin. Spade- derived iron money item in triangular shape, used along with the better-known Shoka. Opitz p.205. See Kriger p.98-104 for a discussion of these triangular Congo spades and their variability by region. B5.166 calls it Shoka of the Mangbetu and Zande.   412c) 10x8", rusty with ragged bottom, (closed) crack in body 80.00

Anchor or Lance Money   Well-known and impressive Zaire money item, attributed to Bangala (Opitz p.102, Althoff p.30) and Lobala and Banja groups of the Ngbaka people (Ballarini B5.145, Westerdijk, 1984, #123). Specimens with fully complete "points" are very hard to come by.    470e) 53.3cm (long handle), Patchy rust and portions of "points" gone (see scan enlargements) $135

Anchor Money variant   Well-known and impressive spear-derived money item, attributed to Bangala, Ngbaka, Lobala and others in Zaire. As Ballarini (B5.146) notes, this distinct variant is longer in both head and shaft, and the points at bottom are not curled. Specimens appear more rusted, suggesting this is an older form; it is definitely scarcer. 471a) 15.5" head and 15.75" shaft for overall 28.25" length. Chip in one side, otherwise intact but heavily rusted. $175

NIGERIA HOE MONIES

      Tool-derived monies are best known from the knife and spade coins of Chou China. Every major area in Africa has local hoe-derived money variants, but nowhere is the more variety in these than in the agricultural regions of N. Nigeria. These iron pieces are described and pictured by Eyo (p.51), Johansson (P.37-38 & foldout), and Opitz (2000) p.158-159. About 1998 Africa Traders began bringing out these formerly-rare items.

Narrow Hoe   Crenelated interior with smooth top, tang for attachment of wooden handle. B2.42 cited as Chamba people of Nigeria; Opitz (2000) p.159 top. I have several specimens, average 43cm (17") long. They tend to be rather uniform as a type, but I can select a group of three for varying lengths and form. 445) Rusty, but no flaws.   (three different for $125); Each: $45
Spade Hoe   Fairly smooth both sides, and much like a spade- shovel. B2.49 as Mambila and Chamba peoples of Nigeria; Opitz p.158,    448) 25x17 cm Iron, rusty, but no flaws. $50

Round Hoe   Round, bowl-shaped hoe with tang at 90° angle, 5.5-8" wide, tang about 4" high. B2.57 as Tangale & Hausa peoples of Nigeria; Eyo (p.52) says, "Iron hoe currency called sabow patanya (Hausa) used in contracting marriage in Bauchi State.". Johansson (p.37 #6) says "Kwasunting used by the Tangale tribe in Kaltungo. 50 Kwasunting were the normal bride-price. 5 Kwasunting were equal to a small roll (4 inches wide) of cloth Kabadir-strip." One of the better-documented hoe monies, though first I have seen on the market.    449) Rusty, soil encrusted, but no flaws. (Note: Scan shows tang flat for visibility)   $45

CLICK!      Hoe Set   Set of three distinct hoe types: Narrow, Round, and Spade- shaped (triangular), #445, 448, and 449 as described below.   448S) All three: $115

Scoop Hoe   Smooth interior and top with long tang, and scoop-like appearance. B2.41 as Chamba group i Nigeria; Eyo p.53 to "Kafanchan" in Nigeria. I have several specimens, average 37+ cm. (17") long. 446) Iron, rusty, but no flaws.   $50
Ladle Hoe   Spoon or ladle-shaped hoe with socketed handle and striations on inner hoe surface as the "narrow hoe" type (can't catch this on a scanner). Both Eyo and Johansson show similar types, but without the sockets. Typical examples shown.    454a)  Handle about 11-12" (27-30cm), ladle about 6.5-7" $60   454c)  Handle about 11-12" (27-30cm), ladle about 4- 4.5" and less angled $50;    Pair: $95

Kwanja Hoe   Opitz (p.158) top calls it a double hoe money and cites it as an example of a clearly non-functional object used as money. The most specific attribution is to the Kwanja of western Cameroun by Bravmann, though it was used by other tribes as well. B2.40, Opitz p.158, Schaedler (p.326), Johanssen (p.37 #5). Typically 26" tall, 4.25-5 Lb. and very similar in shape. (Scanned in sections, please ignore the lines!) ALL specimens are rusty. I do not have a digital camera to make photos of individual specimens.   463) Best condition: All four "points" intact, only very minor edge cracking and at most very minor surface flaking. These are not modern, mass-produced objects, so if you are seeking an absolutely perfect specimen, you are seeking a forgery. Rest assured that a specimen in this class is as nice as you will find. Price: $175   Second Quality: Minor blunting OR chipping on ONE point OR one or more edge cracks extending no great distance into the piece. These are still superior specimens and much more representative of the technology. Price: $125   Third Quality: One point blunted or chipped AND more serious or numerous edge cracks, OR a crack or rust hole that shows light through the piece. Still superior specimens selected from a much larger group. Price: $95

Affo Shield Hoe   Huge iron "hoe" money possibly modeled on European heraldic shield. Attributed to the Affo (Afo) people in NE Nigeria and SE Niger (F. Farr), while Johansson (p.38) notes the Jos museum attributes it as "Ceremonial Hoe. Customary gift for a bride's father. 1 hoe and 2 goats = 1 wife; 1 hoe = 1 slave. used by the Angas tribe in Wokos village, Pankshin Division, Plateau Province. Made of locally melted iron."
Variety 1 B2.64, B2.65 shows specimens with rounded bottom and broad, slightly sloping shoulders and squared points. Possibly a region-specific design, though the fact that all specimens I have seen have been large, and usually well preserved, may indicate it was made strictly as a monetary item.   464d) 450mm (17.75") tall including tang; 372mm (14.75") across points; 3.17 kilo (7 Lb). Two extremely small chips at bottom (barely show in scan) otherwise intact with deep, red-brown rust, $200;    464m) 26.5" tall including tang; 19.5" across points; 15.75Lb. Fully intact with deep, red-brown rust, $450
Variety 2 B266 shows two examples differing from the "classic" type, one with a pointed bottom, the other with more strongly sloping neck and smaller points. More varied specimens I have handled tend to be smaller and more rusted, with wear at the bottom edge. They could be regional variants, but one suggestion is they are functional hoes which also were usable as dowry, predecessors to the "classic" form which served solely for this purpose.   464g) 25.5 tall including tang; 18" across points; 10.2Lb. Sloping neck with upturned points. Some erosion at bottom, a side nick and a hole, $225;    464L) 27.5 tall including tang; 21.5" across points; 14.5Lb. Some erosion at bottom and a side crack, showing mainly from front, $375

Bamileke Hoe   (Cameroun) Large iron hoe, spade shaped, tang at 90° with folded arrow shape at end. B2.93 notes it was used by the Bamileke and Widekum of W. Cameroun; see also B2.49 without bend in handle Note the folded arrow is the same twist as the "Bangala Lance".   456) 30 oz.,blade 7.5x9", tang 5" long $95.00
Purr Purr Blowout   B2.63; Used by the hill pagans around Gwosa, Plateau State, Nigeria, and worth 3d. in 1939 according to Johansson p.41; Eyo p.54, Opitz p.273.. Other Nigerian hoe monies are substantial; this is the most abstracted form. Thin sheet iron of 6.5-9" lengthwith a cloth-like textured pattern, crimped and angled to represent blade and socket.     326) Selected piece: 27.50;     326s) Three pieces differing slightly in size, shape: $59.50;     326w) Ten pieces including some rough or imperfect specimens $150
Unknown Ladle Hoe   Nigeria?, Large iron hoe or ladle, squared in rear, rounded in front, 12 oz., blade 7.5x5.5", tang 11" long, anagled from blade and looped at top. A functional utensil?   457) $85.00


IRON MONIES

   Kissi pennies have always been common, but around 1990 some larger iron types that had never been on the market before began showing up: Dubil, Tajere, Pur Pur, and Idoma The Dubil and Tajere, in addition to being the "Dollar" of the Kissi-penny series, must also have served as an iron source for smaller currencies, just as the Katanga cross was an ingot as well as a money item itself. Although these Nigerian forms are best known, iron was valued in Central Africa (such as throwing knives) and the Congo as well. See Quiggin p.52 on the importance of iron as money in Africa. See bottom of page for modern concoctions and forgeries of more complex iron forms.

Kissi Penny   Twisted iron rod with flattened ends, made by the Toma of Guinea, used by them and the Kissi of Liberia. Demonetized in British areas in 1940. One of the best-known & affordable odd & curious monies. 10-13"    B1.1, Opitz. p.179, Quiggin p.92, etc. Free info sheet #105 with more history.    300) Selected for length & completeness $3; 10 pcs, as they come: $17.50; Inquire for larger quantities.   300C) From a different hoard, much heavier, longer specimens 16-17" $9.50   300D) 14-15" $6.50   300s) Set of 3 different lengths (10-15") plus a broken piece which according to belief has lost its soul, but could be restored by an ironsmith $11

Sombe Penny   Grooved iron rod with flattened ends of the Guro, Baule, and Bete peoples, Ivory Coast. Shorter than the familiar Kissi penny, with blunted, asymmetrical top, about 220mm (9") tall; B1.3, Opitz p.92 ("Buji"), Blandin, Fer Noir p.163 (in bundle).    307a) Classic form: bend at top prior to flattening leaves a stub at left: $30;    307b) Squared bend: little or no stub on left side $25;    307s) Set of varieties a and b (2 pieces) $47.50;   307c) Small bottoms: Most of the flattened bottom has been removed(?), leaving specimens about 10mm shorter than classic variety. Probably done during their period of use, as no fresh-metal breaks are evident, and tops are undamaged $15.00

Dubil   Squared iron bar with slightly flattened ends, rough, hammered texture, 14-15", 9-17 oz. Attributed variously to the Sukur, Gulak, and Yoruba. Johansson reports the introduction of iron currency bars by Europeans as early as the 16th century and a value of 13 for a male slave in 1704; also their recent use in the Madagali area (called Dubil, Duval or Li) as bride price. For blacksmiths they served as a form of ready bullion for making other objects.    B2.30; Eyo p.54; Johansson p.36, 41-42; Opitz p.135   320) Selected specimen 32.50;    321) Flat Dubil Mixed indiscriminately with the Dubil were a few smooth, flattened pieces with splayed ends, resembling pry-bars (B2.31). A regional variant? 37.50

Tajere   (Losol, Sasoreng, Saka or Taje). Iron bar with rough diamond-shaped swelling at center & long, squared, textured ends, (not truly twisted as Quiggin p.87 specimen) 15-16", most 10.5-13 (range 8-20) oz. Made by the Fulani subjects Batta and Mumuye, this was a tradable ingot form for recycling worn out iron tools. Johansson p.41 copies Quiggins' drawing (p.87) & plate 1 #6, Eyo p.52 #2-4 from right, Opitz p.332, B2.23; see also B5.86 for a Congo piece with bicone shape vs. diamond.   323) 35.00

Idoma    Tall, flat, tapered iron piece with textured surface, squared at the end and flared to a triangle at top. Something like a giant Kissi penny. About 30+" tall. B2.50; Eyo (p.50) as "iron currency from Dutsi District, Kaduna State (Nigeria)." A supplier says it is used by the Hausa of Gongola (Yola) State, Nigeria. Kimpel (Althoff p.31) says Liberia. Regional variant published by Rivallain (pl. VI) from the Ubangi River (north Zaire). See closeup scan of tops showing variation in triangle shape and front vs back texturing, and photo of bottom variants, "A" being by far the commonest. (Color in main photo is inaccurate.) Apparently a widely used item which seldom came on the market until the 1990s. Though rather plain, these bring around $200 in galleries when creatively mounted.   329A) Flat end $69.50   329B) Twisted end $80   329C) Twist and socket $80   329E) Twist and arrow $100   329G) Twist and socket, bent to curve $145

Cicili   Mali, Bambene Tribe, iron arrow-like object about 10". Supplier says a currency object. Published in Fer Noir by Andre Blandin, p.180-181 as belonging to the Mwaba of N. Togo, a human-form statuette for religious or divination purposes. Just as his p.181 #4. After finding the Blandin listing I contacted a customer who had purchased one advising that the divination use cast doubt on currency use, but his own African contact confirmed they were Bambene and that he had purchased a large group in a Nigerian village where they were acknowledged as money.   327) $55

WEAPON MONIES

   While cowries, lengths of copper and brass wire in various shapes called Mitako, and apparently King/Queen manillas, served as general-purpose currencies in the Congo area, iron knife and spear, and ax monies were associated with a specific transaction: dowry payment (see Quiggin p68-70). No doubt many types were used for other transactions, particularly between tribes, though "anthropological accident" may determine which are recorded; Quiggin's Plate 1 specimens probably reflect this. All knives (all metal objects, in fact) had magical properties and may have seen ceremonial use; many were insignia of rank and served as a store-of-wealth for those whose status entitled ownership. The throwing knives, and some of the dowry knives, are functional weapons. Opitz's coverage and the discussions in Ballarini, Zirngibl, and Fischer show how inextricably monetary and other functions are interwoven in Congo weapons. Basic shape, handle, markings, and type of center seam (blood channel) are important for attribution. The Poppe Collection provides a nice online reference for Zaire status knives.
   The lawless situation in Zaire today has brought forth quantities of these weapon monies at very cheap prices compared to what weapons dealers were asking - compare to the Fagan catalogs, for example! Length including handle given in cm. Blades & handles may have minor defects; anything significant will be noted.
   Recently a number of novel manform iron knives have entered the market.

Liganda   Famous sheet-iron spear-money of the Topoke on the Lomami River, Zaire, well documented in Quiggin (p.64, Plate 1 & 4), Ballarini #66b, and here. There are three denominations, of height and width at bottom as follows: 585) Dihunga (Value-1) 150cx24c usual light rust, but no damage. From a 1970s purchase of 25+ pieces, similar to these, but I have not done photography, so you save money: $125.00 each;   586) (Name unknown) (Value-2) 163cx32c fully intact, light rust SOLD   587) Doa (Value-3) 177cx37c. Viewing on-site only. Shipment to US & Canada only, $15 special boxing charge, about $30 priority mail (more if combined with other items).
Kota Ax   Gabon, 19-20th Cent? Long-bladed iron axe with iron handle & iron wrap at base with projecting loop. ± 35-45c (14-18") tall. Ballarini (1998 p.16) May be currency item, or "status weapon" (carried in parades & dances to show rank of owner)   485) (shown reduced) $49.00
Throwing Knife   Descended from the Tronbash of Sudan (itself a currency item) the true throwing knife as weapon developed a characteristic and deadly form among the peoples of plain and savannah, but served as a prestige and currency item in the forests, beginning just above the Ubangi River, where knife-throwing is impractical. Among some tribes they acquired breakable wooden handles and underwent a "devolution" of form to a straighter shape, as neatly illustrated in Fisher & Zirngibl #176-178. As Quiggin notes (p.69, top) they were a true multi-function currency between the Congo and Ubangi Rivers, among the Ngbaka, Ngbandi and their neighbors (collectively "Bangala"). M. Felix in Kipinga locates this distinctive and early type of knife at the confluence of Chad, Nigeria, Cameroun, and C.A.R. but notes that exact tribal identification is difficult. He speculates that the "arm" added to the earlier I-shape was to stabilize flight in the open grasslands. Art collectors prefer fancier throwing knives, hence this type is still inexpensive. Typical example shown. Usual length about 24 inches.  577) SPECIAL: $65
Variant: Curved top   "Bird head" variety. Specimens available: 577c.3) 25" length, cloth-wrapped handle. Nicely shaped head but rough ontop $75
Variant: Hook Middle   "Long curved blades with hook protruding from center. Specimens available: 579a) 28" length, rhook is attached to center $125   579b) 26" length, patterned handle, central hook grows out of shaft, not separately attached. $125

Kipinga Throwing Knife   Descended from the Tronbash of Sudan (itself a currency item) the true throwing knife as weapon developed a characteristic and deadly form among the peoples of plain and savannah, but served as a prestige and currency item in the forests, beginning just above the Ubangi River, where knife-throwing is impractical. Among some tribes they acquired breakable wooden handles and underwent a "devolution" of form to a straighter shape, as neatly illustraed in F&Z #176-178. As Quiggin notes (p.69, top) they were a true multi-function currency between the Congo and Ubangi Rivers, among the Ngbaka, Ngbandi and their neighbors (collectively ".Bangala"). This shape is a variation on the the "true" Kipinga (Felix Region VIII, Thomas chart "N"), Zande region of C.A.R. & Zaire, south east portion of throwing-knife usage area.

571) 18" (460m) tall. Grass fibre handle. Two significant chips.. $225

575E) 15.5" (395m) tall. Handle appears (from scales!) to be fish or shark skin. $185

Trombash   Status and currency knife of the Mangbetu, Bushongo and other N.E. Zaire tribes, its form shows influence of throwing knives. Iron blade with fluid topknot and large circular holes. Felix #95, 96; Opitz p. 357-8; Quiggin p. 86; Ballarini #44-46.   526e) Waved top,, offset angle bottom, 3 holes. 13" (330m) tall. (Felix #95) $150
Kapsiki Axe   Cameroun, Iron hatchet form with concave edge, topknot; welded-on iron handle with enlarged end. Likely a derivitive of the throwing knife or Trombash; Ballarini (B2.86) says represents a rooster head, sacred to the Fali tribe. Westerdiijk (Mabel #56-57) and Zirngibl (1983) describe as a status weapon.   527a) Typical piece, 15-16" (400m) tall. Sample shown. $65.00;   527f) Smaller piece, 14" tall, with leather-wrapped handle $65;   527p) Aluminium blade & handle, handle wrapped in leather. Aluminium was a valued metal before the extraction proces became cheap, and versions of other currency items in copper and iron turn up in this metal. 15.5" (400m) tall. $75
Symbolic Sword Monies   Thin iron strips with slightly bulging "hilts" separating decorated handles from plain blades with rounded bottoms. Ballarini (B5.7) attributes to Lele, Kuba, and Bushoong tribes. Closeup of TOPS.   491b) 12" $45

Luba Zapozap   As Quiggin (p.63-64) notes, Congo axes were used more to denote rank or office than as wealth display, though there are accounts of their use as brideprice. Opita p.18, 20; See also Eyo p.33. This group Luba style, though less fancy than the types published in collections. Elsen #443-445 & Fischer & Zirngibl #296-299 for similar types.   479) Zapozap, about 15" tall, no serious defects Specimens available: ;479b)    ; ;479c)    ; ;479jd    ; Each: $50
Kirdi Scythe Money   From the Cameroun grasslands of the Kirdi come thin iron imitations of scythes, money according to my suppliers' contacts there. Angela Fisher in Africa Adorned p.135 has a great photo of Podokwo Kirdi women displaying broad and narrow varieties in a harvest dance. Note also similarity of the head to a throwing knife variant, the twisted shaft to Kissi Penny and Idoma and the pseudo-socket end to an Idoma variant.   465) B2.85. 38cm (15") long. (Sample piece shown) $55;     466) Variant Blade shorter, narrower, and shaft longer, flat. Average 26" (66cm) Sample shown $55 (SPECIAL: both types $85)

CONGO "DOWRY SPEARS"     This is a class of spear heads that are both functional weapons and dowry items, though some may be strictly currency items. There are numerous tribal variations. Ballarini in Perfect Form includes most, along with the more exotic Liganda, and Mbole lance which are clearly too fancy to be functional weapons - and plain, abstracted forms such as the Ikonga, Adjenge, and Kundja. Ijzerwerk van centraal-afrika by H. Westerdijk, chapter VII "Ijzergeld" (Iron money) shows some types, and classifies others as status weapons. Jean Elsen mentions currency and status uses for various types in his Beaute Fatale: Armes d'Afrique Centrale.

Decorative elements on the shafts and shaft ends also distinguish tribal types, but they are often switched or replaced before reaching the collector. I offer the shaft accoutrements separately, with tentative attributions to the spearhead types.

Photos: Click on the stock # or thumbnail for photo. Made by scanner in three parts, the breaks you see are in the scan, not the spearhead. The poorer side of each piece is shown.

Topeke-Olombo-Lokele   Elongated leaf shape, distinguished by blood grooves, an uncommon feature. This specimen with hole at base, typical of Nkutush-Tetela types.   (B5.53), Westerdijk p. 112, lower left.   591a) 22.75", ragged edges. Scarce. $75.00
Ngbaka   Elongated leaf shape with rounded (vs. angled) approach at base and subtle spine.    (B-nl), Westerdijk p.109 #G, Elsen p.72 #26.   592a) 32.25", $100.00
Ngombe & Others   Simple leaf-shaped iron blade with long haft. Blade and haft run 24-31 inches. Commonest type of dowry spar, also used by Ngbandi, Bati, Benge, Ngala, and Poto.   (B5.117, 5.103?), Opitz p.313, right; Ballarini p.104 #61b; Westerdijk p.109-110 #H, J; Elsen #28, 202
# Blade
Haft
Price    # Blade
Haft
Price
590a 12.5" 11" 45.00    590b 14.75"12.5" 60.00
590c 13" 13.25" 60.00    590d 8.5"13+3.5" 60.00
590e 11.75" 21.5" 75.00    590f 20"6.75" 75.00
590g 19.5" 7" 75.00    590h 33"7.5" 125.00

Sakara-Ngando   Elongated, triangular with rounded bottoms tapering at 90° angles. Also used by Kutu, Bole & Yela.   (B5.117d, misplaced), Westerdijk p. 113 #G, Elsen p.212 #377
# Length
Remarks
Price    # Length
Remarks
Price
594a 22.75" 65.00    594b 24.75" 75.00
594c 25" 75.00    594d 27" 100.00

Nkutshu-Tetela (Rounded bottom)   Vase-shaped with two circular holes at bulge in bottom, broad squared spine. Some with copper-wrapped shaft fragments. Blade length (19-25") given below with "+" dimension for partial shaft.   (B5.76c), Opitz p.313v, Westerdijk p. 114 #I (3rd from left, bottom row)
# Length
Remarks
Price    # Length
Remarks
Price
596a 19+2" Small but nice 65.00    596b 21"Rust-pocked 50.00
596c 22+3" copper wrappings 80.00    596d 21" 60.00
596e 24.5" damaged 35.00    596e 17.5+4"Serrated bottom 80.00

Nkutshu-Tetela (Pointed bottom)   Complex shape with atenuated tip, points at side, four (or two) circular holes at bottom, and broad, squared spine. Some with copper-wrapped shaft fragments. Blade length (22-30") given below with "+" dimension for partial shaft. Note: The side projections are usually a bit blunted.   (B5.76a,b,e), Opitz p.313, Westerdijk p. 114 #I (bottom left)
# Length
Remarks
Price    # Length
Remarks
Price
598a 24" Haft: etched design 110.00    598b 24.5"Blunted points 50.00

Unattributed   Simple leaf shape with prominent squared central seam, six holes at bottom, and concentric blood grooves (hard to see in scan). Most resembles the Nkutshu-Tetela types (B5.76) and Sakara-Ngando (B5.117d, misplaced).   604L) 9" blade, 3.5" haft plus partial shaft with copper wrappings. $85


TRADE BEADS

Selected offers below, or check my TRADE BEADS page.


   The beads made in Venice, elsewhere in Europe, and Asia for trade make up a huge category of "traditional" monies. See Quiggin p.36-44, though much has been learned about the manufacture and dispersion of trade beads since her day.

Fulani Money Necklace     The Fulani of Nigeria have a number of traditional necklace styles. This one features cowries and B.W.A. 1/10 Pennies, both small monies, along with "cosmos bells" and small cane-cut beads. Perhaps a wealth theme? Necklaces are newly strung; their components older; length usually 18+". Available: 711a    711b    711c    711d    711e    711f    711g    711h    711j    711k 22.50 each, or $17.50 each for 3 or more similar ones not photographed.
Trade Bead "Collection" Strings   Mixed strand of trade beads. A good way to build a collection of types which would be costly in full strings. Look them up in Dubin or other references. Strands about 25" circumference, variable number of beads. Multiple orders: I can select "different" strings, but there will be some overlap of bead types. 2+ strands either type, take 10% discount. Scans show multiple strings as samples.   651) Medium-value Trade Beads 24.50
Hebron Beads   The heyday of trade beads was the 15th-16th centuries when Venice produced a wide variety for overland trade to Africa and Asia, and later the sea trade to a wider world. Bead expert Peter Francis in Beads of the World p.78 describes a more primitive bead produced during the Crusades "in Hebron near Jerusalem sometime after the twelfth century. They made beads there, using the salts of the Dead Sea as their alkali. Their glass was opaque yellow and green, sometimes blue and black. The beads were furnace-wound and were popular in Egypt and in sub-Saharan Africa." Nowadays, well pitted and often filed down, these beads can still be found in the Sudan.    536T) Colors set Yellow are commonest, green scarcer, and dark colors much scarcer. Set of nine beads, including 3 sizes/shapes of Yellow, a Green, a Blue, and a small cut-down bead, plus (not shown) three baby and "infant" sized beads: $22.50;   536S Yellow & Green beads alone $8.50;   536) Yellow bead $3.50;   Graduated 24" strand of 49-52 yellow beads $77.50    536B) Baby Hebrons Shown with full-sized beads for comparison. Strand 25-26" of either baby or smaller "infant" size $29.50 per strand

Djenne Terracotta    Djenne, Mali (S. of Timbuctoo), a trading center at its height c. 1200 AD, these beads have been excavated in large quantity and reliably dated to 1200-1500 AD, preceding the use of glass beads in the region. Not known to be a trade item. Strands include both tiny beads and longer tubes faceted as beads, v arious earth colors. Hundreds on 18-19" (doubled) strand.   200) 7.50;    Tied hank of 100 17" strands, as sold in Africa, $250
"Dig" Beads    Djenne, Mali (S. of Timbuctoo), a trading center at its height c. 1200 AD, they are called "dig" because they are excavated. Tiny beads usually 3-4mm across, some glassy but most very rough, some appear to be stone or shell. Not known to be a trade item.    544) Strand about 12" long. $24.50   544m) Graduated strand of 2-10mm beads, cleaned to brightness $45
French Cross    Called Bodoum in Africa, yellow with cross of red, white & black, similar to a King bead. Supplier says these were "used to buy gold.". Similar Dubin 70a. Similar strand brought $41 in my recent ebay offering.   519a) Strand about 10" with 40+ beads   $32.50 / strand
Padre Beads    Chinese bead which travelled all over the world as part of the Spanish silver trade. Best known in North America where they were popular with Southwest US Amerinds, especially the turquoise blue color. Made ca. late 18th-early 19th C. by the primitive winding process.    531tw) Strand of 11-12" turquoise blue or white $15 Each;   531rgby) red, green, yellow, or translucent blue $16.50 each, or take three or more strands any color except rarer ones below, $14.50 each. .   531pnm) Scarcer purple & black, pitch black, or translucent brown beads, each: $27.50
White Hearts    Venice, 1800s, one of the most widely traded bead types - Americas, Africa, S.E. Asia. Early varieties were called Cournalene d'Aleppo and Hudson's Bay Trade Beads. Named for the white core beneath (usually) red outer shell. Numerous varieties (left to right in scan): 250) Early, large round 17m, rough, may have chips, per bead: 6.50;    251) Dark red, rounded, rough surface. Seen offered as Hudson Bay trade beads dated to c. 1836. Strand 12" long SOLD;   253) Cane-cut (barrel-shaped) red & yellow. Strand 12" long 17.50;  255) Small cane-cut, about 2mm. Type traded to Thai Hill Tribes. strand 12" long. 12.50;   257) "Seed-bead"-sized, rounded, square-cut, 2-3mm (not shown) 7.50;    258a) Rounded orange or red (your choice, red shown) beads about 4-5mm. Type traded into Africa. Strand 10-12" long. 12.00   258b) Rounded blue beads, mixed 2-5mm. Less common type traded into Africa. Strand 10" long. 12.00;    250s) Historical set with examples of above types, and more, as shown in scan (but without "core"): 24.50; 250T) Same set, with the "core" bead $29.50
Massai Beads    A Venice-made small bead favored by the Massai of Kenya. Strands 10" each, mixed bead sizes, average 200 beads/string. Two typical strings shown.   559) $17.50
Millifiore Beads    Venice, late 1800s. Tubular with "multi-flowered" pattern. Probably best known of the trade beads, they come in a variety of colors, lengths, variations of pattern, and even shapes. Quiggin p.39, Opitz p.57-58, Dubin #55. Set 0f different lengths, patterns, including long 50+m, and square piece.    210s) 7 beads: 17.50
209)   Elbow bead, most valued Millie shape, Yellow with brick red "flowers," as shown, 50-55m long.   $15
Snake Beads    Made in Bohemia, late 1800s, cleverly made to imitate real snake vertebrae which are used throughout Africa for divination. Bead width 9mm. Strand length 11". Available either pink or purple or mixed (as shown).   663) 12.00;   664) Smaller beads, 6mm width, available in a variety of colors & mixtures. Requests OK, but I can not supply particular strands as shown. $10.00
Iron Beads    Nigeria, where any iron item is potentially money, these are too ugly for adornment! Beads have large central holes, strung on thick fibre, Strand length about 12"   644a) Beads 13-15mmn, quite rough and variable. $65;   644b) Beads 5-9mm (shown in scan), some bicone shape $35
Bauxite Beads    Rough earth-red beads from clay rich in aluminium ore, a distinctive African bead. Nigeria & region. Strands 12+".    626s) Small 4-6m wide, strand 22" $11.50   626M) Medium Beads 8-10mm wide, strand 28" $14.50;   626L) Large Beads 10-12m wide, and much longer, strand 26-28" $23.50

Aluminium Beads   (Ethiopia) In the late 19th Cent. before a cheap extraction process was invented, aluminium was as or more valuable than silver. These look like tarnished silver and may have been worn by Ethiopians as a light-weight substitute. Africans generally ascribe healing properties to metals based on color, and examples of currency objects and bracelets of forms known normally in copper occasionally turn up in well worn aluminium. Bead size ranges 5-7mm square, strands 30-32"    741a) "Soft" square beads, filed or worn $15;    741b) "Hard" square beads, less worn, sharper edges $15;    741s) One strand each $25    (Note: there are strays in each strand.)
Ostrich Eggshell Beads    Rough roundish disks of tough eggshell made by the 39,000 year-old "heishi" process of drilling and grinding. One of the oldest bead types and a well-known trade item, asociated in modern times with the Turkana, Samburu, Ovambo tribes of East Africa. Opitz p.246, Quiggin p.100,107    They range from 6-10mm, about 250-500/strand. Degree of uniformity and cleanliness varies also.    Show Variants    .638s Set of 10 beads mixed sizes, surfaces, etc. $3.00    638a) Strand: Usual semi-polished with variable sizes; $25.00   638c) Strand: Recent hoard of excavated pieces, matte surfaces and uniform, small size. $25.00
Talari Beads    From Ethiopia, small loops of drawn wire ("hishi") made from nickel-silver. The name comes from the Maria Theresa Taler (Maria Teresa Thaler), an .855 fine silver coin favored in Arabia and northern Africa (& origin of the word "Dollar"). These modern strands are still hand-crafted, but just like the Coptic crosses, are now made of silver alloyed with nickel. Strand length 14+ inches. Tarnished, but will brighten with silver dip.     523a) Hishi beads $12.50; 523b) Barrel beads $12.50; 523s Set of both types, or two strands Hishi type $21.50
    Munshi Beads The Tiv (a.k.a. Munshi) tribe of Shima, northern Nigeria used looped brass beads of average 12mm imitating a seed, valued at 1/4 silver Dirhem of the Mediterranean caliphates. Quiggin illustrates them (p.60) and discusses them (p.59) as exceptions to the non-monetary status of African-made beads. In 1968 Johanssen Nigerian Currencies considered them rare. I got one string in the 1980s and until now have not seen another, but just purchased several from a Trader. See B2.14, Opitz p.41, Quiggin p.60 fig.9, Johansson 50, 54, supl14 #65, PS1987/3.    223s) Each: $2.50, 3 diff sizes $6.00; Mini-string of 12 pieces $17.50; Unusual offering: Full 26-27" string of about 400 beads: $250.00
Moulay Beads Derived from older Munshi beads of the Tiv, but used farther south. Varieties: a) Basic; c) Larger; e) Larger & rounder; v) a filed down; x) crude, likely modern.     224S) Set of two each variety, 3 each of Munshi and a variant Seed-type bead (16 total) $18.50
Singles: 224e) Large, round, well-made, moderate wear. From a unique strand purchased years ago $2/bead, minimum 5;     224M Mixed a, v, and a few c as they normally come in strands: $10 / 10+, $20 / 25+ ;     Strand 224Ad) Over 250 beads as 224M $135
Shipwreck Beads   Tubular, milk-white beads of variable size, these are collected as they wash up on the beaches of the Casamance district of Senegal, along with Green-hearts, another crude, early Venetian trade bead. The circulating beads of the same type are called "Goombah".   649a) Strand (24") of circulated Goombah beads $8.50;    649s) Long strand (32") of sea-damaged Goombah beads, called Casamance beads. Rough, crazed surfaces with a crude charm. ($10 each per 5 strands) Single strand: $11.50
Krobo Beads   In Ghana there is a long tradition of imitating European trade beads by sand-casting them from used glass; they are often called pop-bottle beads. This group shows roughness and wear (though not soil, as ALL beads are cleaned before export) so I think they are "somewhat" old. Quite a lot of variation in this lot; samples shown. 12" strings. I will provide good variety if you order multiples.   682c) Single strand $13.50; 3 strands $11 each; 5 strands $10 each; 10 or more $7.50 each
Togo Stone Money    White quartz disc with drilled hole, rubbed in reddish earth. Found in hoards, they are likely a very early bead money, though both their original and modern uses are unclear. The Akhan & nearby tribes would find them exposed after heavy rains, and called them "thunderstones," believing they had come from the sky and had healing properties. Rivallain pl.32, Opitz p.275, Quiggin p.60 & pl.3 #3; Der Primitivgeld-sammler 1992/2 p.61   263) "Togo Stone:" size 35-50m, 33-80gm $14.50, or 3/$37.50    263a) STRING of 40 stone-size pieces on native fiber, as obtained from the Africa Traders. An amazing necklace at a great price. $225
263D) "Mauritania" About 2000 a group of smaller 14-30mm bead-sized pieces came on the market, said to be from Mauritania $5.00 each , or $4 / 3+ mixed sizes     263Da) STRING of Mauritania pieces $90    
263L) HUGE, ±70-80mm across, over 200gm This size I can see being foot-gripped & drilled, spark falling through the hole to tinder below - truly a valuable and trade-worthy object. 263La    263Lb    263Lc    263Ld $40 each;    263Lm 90mm, 384gm $85
263s) Set of five sizes, plus a rough "Mali" piece, as photo): $37.50
720) European glass trade bead imitating the bead-sized stone. Apparently rare as my experienced bead supplier has only seen one strand. Per bead: $3, or five beads with some variety in size $12
"Mali" Stone     Ancient(?) Quartz, chipped & drilled, similar to the "Togo stone" but much rougher. Three groups / strands purchased:    817S Set of five showing range of sizes within each group $22.50;    817A Uniform 17-19mm with orange soil $3.50 / bead;     817E Quartz often has some red veining, chipped with narrower ridges, range 15-30mm $4 for larger example, or $3.00 each per 3+ mixed sizes; 817Ea Full 28" strand $90;    817H Translucent quartz, very roughly chipped, mostly 35-45mm $11.00 for larger example, or $8.50 each per 3+ mixed sizes
Talhakimt Pendants: Glass    Large, flat European-made (ca. 1930s?) glass pendant-beads imitating earlier stone and metal currency objects of the Tuaregs of the northern Sahara. Also called tanfouk, Niger glass, and Zinder beads. See Der Primitivgeldsammler 1989/1 p.23 #IV1,3. Opitz p.38, 64, A. Fisher Africa Adorned page 186., and beadazzled site.. Range 47-54m high. Your choice of color / style if in stock. Presently only red and green available.    212) Per 3+ at $10.00 each; Singles: $12
Talhakimt Pendants: Agate    Lovely agate specimens made at Idar-Oberstein, Germany, almost certainly older than the glass. The scans can not show the bands and swirls of orange, brown, and off-white visible when held to the light. Best history I've found is at the beadazzled site.    Priced by size: 218ab) (avg. 110x42mm) $45; 218ae-ak) (avg. 85x37mm) SOLD; 218am-as) (avg. 80x35mm) $30; 218bb-bm) (avg. 67x32mm) $25. SECOND CHOICES PLEASE Take 15% discount for 2 or more.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

Cowrie Shells    (Cyprea Moneta) Used in the Orient, India, Africa, etc; the most universal coin of all time. These are from Africa and "broken backed" (flattened) for easier handling. Groups of mixed size, including Cyprea Annulis, a related but slightly more angular shell    200) 10 pieces $3.50
Kuba Cloth (Mbal)    Congo, Kuba Kingdom, Lele tribe. Sundstrom reports the use of Kuba cloth for everyday local purchases, major purchases such as slaves, cattle or ivory, loans, tolls, and for destruction at funerals as "conspicuous consumption." Opitz p.109-111 shows many examples of larger cloths made from original units, and discusses specific uses. Squares of cloth woven from raffia palm leaf fibres, they were called mbal. Today these former monetary units are found sewn into larger compositions and decorated. The decorations (raised plush, sewn-on angular patches, eyelets, etc.) were originally added to hide fraying or holes, but soon evolved into meaningful symbols. Each culture group within the Kuba region had its own style and pattern of decoration. I have divided them into categories by form and style. Still made, the modern (non-monetary) cloth is single-panel. These are attractive decor items and can be used as backgrounds to display other money objects. Check Google for art and textile sellers who charge much more!
Squares: Single Pattern: One corner is shown reduced, but the pattern is more or less the same throughout. Usually 15-17" square. Your choice, or I will send the largest. GIVE SECOND CHOICE!! 295) 22.50 each
Squares: Multiple Pattern: Smaller units sewn together. One corner is shown reduced, atempting to capture two panels Usually 15-17" square. Your choice, or I will send the largest. GIVE SECOND CHOICE!! 295) 22.50 each
Rectangles: Tukula Tint: Different type of mat with a pinkish-red tint from tukula, a redwood oil. Simpler designs with less plush, more plain background; NOT as attractive as the regular Kubas. Old pieces, composed of smaller segments sewn together. A different subribe's product? Average 22" square; shown reduced. Sorry, no full-item photos are available. Your choice, or I will send the largest. GIVE SECOND CHOICE!!    296) 21.00    296x) Same quality, but not photographed, saving me time & effort: 19.50
Rectangles: Multi-panel: Different type of mat consisting of clearly different sewn-together panels in dark brown and khaki-white. What looks like an irregular faded spot in the upper left of the scan is a deliberate technique and may represent a cowrie. All specimens in stock are very similar to the scan example. Large rectangles, average 14x50"; shown rreduced. Sorry, no full-item photos are available.    297) 37.50    297t) Tukula tinted example $42.50
Rectangles with Patches: Different type of mat consisting of large sewn-together sections of khaki cloth with bold, angular black, dark brown, and light brown designs sewn on. Four large panels form a very long 21x92" piece; scan shows the join area. Sorry, no full-item photo is available. Compare   298a) 85.00
Rectangles with Cowries: Small Product of yet another locality within the Kuba domain, two rectangular mbal units are sewn together, usually with a border, and flat or openwork stitching plus another former monetary item added: cowrie shells. Most are 11-18" wide x 38-43" long.   284) Scan (about 1/3 size) shows upper ends, but designs are consistent throughout. Each: $25.50;   284x) Same quality, but no scans to choose from, Each: $22.50
Rectangles with Cowries: Large As above but four square units sewn together resulting in wider and much longer pieces. Most are 18-22" wide x 72-90" long.   285) Scan (about 1/3 size) shows one corner Each: $37.50;   285x) Same quality, but no scans to choose from, Each: $34.50
Kuba Cloth Object Consists of two very large central panels with black-stitched interlocking designs, surrounded by a large black border with stitched holes, a narrow red boder, and a thick outer border of rolled cloth. A smaller, plain panel extends beyonded the bordered portion at the bottom end. Overall size, including bottom panel, 5'5" x 2'4". The stitched eyelets and plain panel suggest it is worn in some way. Sorry, no full-size photo available. A couple of join spots are loose and could be fixed by someone handier with thread and needle than myself, and there is some soiling.   299a) $175

Raphia Cloth Money   Cataracts region, Congo. Bolt of 96cm consisting of a central woven rafia mat locked in place by the long end fibres multi-knotted at either end. Apparently the item discussed in Quiggin (p.56), and pictured in Le Tissage du Raphia au Congo Belge by Helene Loir (Annales du Musee du Congo Belge Ethnographie Serie III, 10/1935). Just the knotted end and a bit of the mat are shown in the scan.    292) $39
Jonga Gong Money    Tall, gracefully waisted iron gong with raised point decoration at bottom, made by Jonga smiths as a badge of office for the Nkumi Soc. (regents and judges). Generally 50cm (20") tall including stem. Quiggin (p.74-75) calls the iron gongs from the middle Congo and Welle-Ubangi region to the North "doubtful" as currency but notes palm oil, wives, and slaves purchased for specific numbers of gongs. B5.62; Ballarini (1992, #70) notes currency and ceremonial uses among the Jonga. Westerdijk p.141 #30 (Tetela & Knushu).    I have used Ballarini's illustration; the ones in stock are very similar with no flaws, though not polished & without raffia dangle.   367) $145

TALL Double Gong    Somewhat like this piece for overall shape but bells are broader and overlap, and protruding lips at bottom.    372B) 24" tall x 18.5"x wide (60x 47cm), 15 Lbs, moderate rust, some closed cracks, ragged edge one bell (shown), and handle is fragile from old repair. Still an impressive piece that would bring $400-500 if undamaged.     $195
Double Gong    Opitz p.81, Ballarini (1992) #71 (left), Westerdijk p.140 #23; see also Quiggin p.75, fig. 15, and for an extensive discussion, Rivallain LesCollections Monetaires p.17-18.    370F) 210m tall x290mm wide    Nice surface with no serious flaws: $125
Single Gong    Simple shape with tang at top. Generally similar to Westerdijk p.139 #12-13, 22 which he attributes to the Tetela and Nkutshu of the Congo. 340mm (13.5") tall x 120m,    374C) Three small rust holes; toward bottom lips there appear to be iron plugs inserted, both sides - whether to repair holes or affect the sound quality, I am not sure. $100;    374D) Flattened piece with long tang, and clapper. 22mm (9") tall x 90mm wide, lip on one side very chipped and ragged $45
Noisemaker    Ballarini (B2.71, 2.72) covers this as a Chamba iron money item, but I suspect its primary purpose is musical. 330mm (13") tall, consists of ring with flat, unclappered gong, and seven trough-shaped clappers (2 short); flaw in gong.    Full view of clappers.   375a) $100



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