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Thailand/China, Pei worth 800 Cowries

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Thailand/China, Pei worth 800 Cowries (obverse) Thailand/China, Pei worth 800 Cowries (reverse)

In the 18th century, Chinese businessmen began to set up a network of gambling houses in the border area between Burma, Laos and Thailand. The "currency" used consisted of porcelain tokens. Most of them were made in China and exported to Thailand. They bore Chinese and Thai characters the two characters on the obverse of the token mean "joy" and "profit." The reverse gives the value of the token it's worth 800 cowries! In other words, the cowrie was still being used as a measure of value at the threshold of the 20th century, some 3,500 years after they were first used as currency.

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