Large and Rare Brass Arch Currency, Used In Transatlantic Slave Trade
Measuring 12.25” x 2.5” x 0.5" before being shaped; the arch is 4.5” long, 4.75” high, and 2.5” wide, and weighs 3.55 lbs. A solid brass currency ingot from West Africa, typically used as payment for major transactions, circa 1600s-1700s. These ingots were cast in a sand mold and then expertly hammered into an arch shape with facets. With a rich, natural patina. Usual wear and tear according to the piece's age and use.
In parts of west and central Africa, metal ingots were widely used as a form of currency, as they could be easily transported and stored. Most were case into bars, arches, or an X or H shape. The arches could be worn around the ankles of both men and women as a symbol of status. They were also used to trade for enslaved Africans, and ingots can be found in shipwrecks involved in the Slave Triangle Trade and Middle Passage. Very few of these have survived as most, due to their size, were melted down for their metal content. This item is similar to the Mbole arch currency found and made by the ethnic group living in the Orientale Province of the Congo. This large currency is a fine example of Transatlantic Slave Trade currency and is consistent with currency from the 1600s – 1700s.
This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.
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