most places there was one item that was valuable to everyone.
The valuable item was almost always something that was hard
to find. These items became early forms of money. All sorts
of things could be used as money if people agreed on their
value and accepted them in trade. In some places you could
always make a trade if you had a cow. Salt was hard to find
and very valuable to people. Everybody wanted salt to flavor
and preserve their food. So salt was used for money. In
ancient Rome the soldiers were paid with salt. Many other
things were used as money. Corn, animal skins, beads, grains,
feathers, tobacco, tools (such as spades and shovels), barley,
tea leaves, and blankets were all used as money. In some
places, people used little shells called cowrie shells for
money. Cowrie shells were supposed to bring good luck. People
put them on strings and wore them around their necks.
were sometimes problems with the things people used for
money. Pigs, goats, sheep and cows could get sick. Corn
or grain could spoil if it was stored too long. Sometimes
salt got wet and was ruined. Shells and tools could get
broken. If these things spoiled or were broken what could
people use for money? Read on and find out about when people
began to use metal for money!