Moneta Gallery Coin Museum

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Inca Trade Currency

[ Ecuador ]
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Inca Trade Currency 800-1400 AD


Registered: August 2005
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 1,911
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This is a very scarce example of the original type of New World hoe money from Ecuador. As early as 800 A.D. the Sican culture of Ecuador and N. Peru made dramatic advances in metallurgy that resulted in copper and copper-arsenic alloys that were used as money. These were exported to Central America through maritime trade in exchange for such things as thorny oyster shells. These were the source for the later development of hoe money there. These early 'coins' are often called 'axe' or 'Aztec Hoe', or scraper money. Like the Chinese origins of 'spade' money, these originate from a tool that transformed into a medium of exchange. Like the later 'mushroom' types of Mexico, this one has had the edges of the shaft hammered into a strengthening ridge, however, the blade edge show no signs of sharpening.
Please see an example of an 'Aztec Hoe' money listed under Mexico. There is also an illustrated article in the Moneta Library at:
To read more about ancient money of the Americas see the article in the Moneta Library by Don Bailey on 'Spanish Colonial Mexico' below.
Hoe Money of the Americas - Martin: [ link ]
Spanish Colonial Mexico - Bailey: [ link ]
· Date: May 5, 2006 · Views: 9,714 · Filesize: 41.0kb · Dimensions: 539 x 500 ·
Keywords: Ecuador Axe Ax or Hoe Money odd curious
Denomination: Hoe
Reference #: NA
Date/Mintmark: ND (800-1400 A.D.)
Condition: VF+ w/corrosion
Weight: 13 gm; length 75 x 70 mm
Metal: Copper (or alloy)


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