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Kissi Penny

Kissi Penny

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Description
Kissi pennies are made from iron and take their name from the Kissi people of modern-day Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. It is believed that the shape was intended to display the quality of the iron. The shape shows that the iron can be twisted, hammered, sharpened into a blade, and fashioned into points. Kissi pennies were primarily used in West Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. They could be exchanged for coins and notes circulating in the region. Individual Kissi pennies could be used to make small purchases, but were typically arranged in bundles of 20 for larger payments. In the early twentieth century, a cow could be purchased for 30-40 bundles.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Kissi Penny
Traditional Money
alternative currency
date made
20th century
place used
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Guinea
associated place
Liberia
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
black/brown (overall color)
wrought, hammered, twisted (overall production method/technique)
Measurements
overall: 41 cm x 5.994 cm x.37 cm; 16 5/32 in x 2 3/8 in x 5/32 in
ID Number
NU.79.112.OC42
accession number
1979.1263
catalog number
79.112.OC42
Credit Line
The Chase Manhattan Bank
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
West African Currency
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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