Chinese spade money is an interesting look at how important agriculture was to the kingdoms that minted this currency. Spade money evolved from weeding tools used during the Zhou Dynasty, and early types included a hollow area for a handle. Eventually the hollow areas became flat and easy to stack. Different states minted their own spade monies, and there are marked stylistic differences. The feet could be round, flat, or somewhat pointed; the shoulders also could be either rounded or square. This piece, however, was minted under the Xin Dynasty by Emperor Wang Mang. Spade money was out of use by the beginning of the Xin Dynasty, but the Emperor had a deep appreciation of ancient coin styles and reintroduced spade money, knife money, and cowrie shells as currency.
-Constantine Botimer, Class of 2019