Liberia/Sierra Leone/Guinea, Kissi People, 3 Kilindi

The Kissi people produced such hand-wrought iron rods with a tail and a wing on either end as means of exchange. In the border land of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, these Kilinid – or Kissi pennies – circulated as money until the middle of 20th century. In 1920, two Kissi pennies bought a hand full of cola nuts, a bunch of bananas or 20 oranges. Kissi pennies were more than just money, however: they had a soul. Only a medicine man could mend a broken penny – for a fee, of course. If broken, the soul escaped and the coin was no longer current. Kissi pennies also plaid an important part as ritual symbols. When an important person died some broken rods were buried with the corpse. Also bride prices were, and still are to some extent, paid with iron money.