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This type of spade money is characterized by an arched or rounded crotch between the two legs.
This spade money was cast approximately 400-300 BC during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty.
Please see "Three Hole Spades" and "Rare 'Three Hole Spade' Sold at Auction" for a detailed discussion of "the king of ancient coins".
Displayed below is an example of knife money from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) of the Zhou Dynasty.
This type of spade money may have been cast during the late Warring States period in the States of Qin and Zhao.
It is also possible that these coins were cast in the 4th century BC in the State of Zhong Shan.
China was among the first countries in the world to use money as documented by historical records and actual artifacts dating back 4,000 years.
By the time of the Shang Dynasty (16th ~ 11th century BC), sea shells (cowrie) were already circulating as a major form of currency.
In order to facilitate their research, I am providing links on this page to the Chinese coins scattered throughout the website.These coins are believed to have been patterned after jade rings or, perhaps, a spinning wheel.One additional type of bronze money from this time period consisted of small oval pieces cast in the State of Chu.The obverse side at the far left has the archaic Chinese character (蔺).The reverse side of the spade coin is shown at the near left and appears to be inscribed with a number(s).