Ring-Money in the Ancient Period

The distinction between rings and ring-money, coins shaped like rings used during the ancient period in Egypt, Ireland and Britain

In examining ancient rings, care must be taken not to confound them with coins made in the shape of rings. The fresco paintings in the tombs of Egypt exhibit people bringing, as tribute, to the foot of the throne of Pharaoh, bags of gold and silver rings, at a period before the exodus of the Israelites. Great quantities of ring-money have been found in different countries, including Ireland.

The ancient Britons had them. That these rings were used for money, is confirmed by the fact that, on being weighted, by far the greater number of them appear to be exact multiples of a certain standard unit. Layard mentions that Dr. Lepsius has recently published a bas relief, from an Egyptian tomb, representing a man weighing rings of gold and silver, with weights in the form of a bull's head; and Layard also gives a seeming outline of the subject, (although its description speaks of "weights in the form of a seated lion.") It is presumed that these rings are intended for ring-money; the fact of weighing them strengthens this idea; and see Wilkinson's Popular Account of the Ancient Egyptians, (revised,) ii. 148-9.

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