CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze Chuan "bead" or "string" money, etc..
    These used to remind me of an abacus column, but now that I've seen 7-bead strings the analogy seems less obvious.  I've been dealing with them for several years now and new varieties continue to appear.  I've chosen to divide them into two main types based on shape and to further divide one type into three subtypes based on size of the beads.  To make things either more or less complicated (depending on your point of view), I've chosen to number both types and subtypes consecutively.

There is also the matter of how many beads make a complete object.  My friend Bob Boddy swears he's never seen a complete "string," but my examination of these things leads me to the conclusion that most of them are complete.

See also "wawa" or "cicada money," "moon money," "swirl money," etc. and "shield" money.

Several in stock, you probably won't get the ones in the pictures.

Type 1: beads are ovoid, ~8x5mm, hollow back, on a (usually) continuous spine

 1a) 5 beads, ~3.5g, ~33mm long, $32.00 sold 3/5/2012

 1b) 6 beads, ~4.5g, ~46mm long, $38.00 sold 3/5/2012

 1c) 7 beads, ~5g, ~50mm long, $40.00 sold 3/5/2012
 
 
 
 
 

27168. CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze chuan "bead" money, 7 half beads on spine, 5g, 54mm long, $33.00 sold 6/5/2009
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Type 2: beads are ovoid, ~9x7mm, hollow back, on a continuous spine

 2a) 6 beads, ~6g, ~50mm, $40.00
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Type 3: beads are more oblately ovoid, ~9x8mm, hollow back but more shallow than types 1 & 2, on a (usually) continuous spine

 3a) 3 beads, broken off of a longer string, $18.00 sold 5/31/2010

 3b) 4 beads, broken off of a longer string, $24.00 sold 5/31/2010
 
 
 
 
 
 

Type 4: beads are very oblate, ~18x5mm, flat back with round loops on back
27169. CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze chuan "bead" money, 7 wide flat "wings" with 3 loops on back, ~55mm, ~9.5g, VF $33.00 sold 6/5/2009
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 4a) 7 beads, ~9.5g, ~54mm long, 3 loops on back, appears to be complete, as one end is free and the other is broken, I assume off of the base sprue, intact specimens $40.00 sold 4/15/2008

 4b) same, but defects or missing pieces $24.00 sold
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About 40mm long.  My supplier calls this item "special bead money."  I think Jeff Young calls them "dragon's jaw money."  To me they look like pull broaches for silk scarves.  Ancient Chinese money?  Sure, why not?
"F," any of these @ 28.00 each sold
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CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze chuan "bead" money, 3 half beads, 19x6mm, flat back, F $16.00
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CAB13) CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze Chuan "bead" money, pair of 11mm half beads, bit of sprue on end of one, no bar on back, this is probably the entire object, not the normal kind of bead money, F $24.00 sold 6/26/2015
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CAB14) CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze Chuan "bead" money, pair of 11mm half beads, F $24.00
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CAB15) CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze Chuan "bead" money, pair of 11mm half beads, 9mm half beads, F $21.00
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CAB16) CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze Chuan "bead" money, pair of 12mm half beads with with pointy centers & edge decoration of curved radial lines, connected by 3x5mm bar, no bar on back, F $44.00 sold 5/11/2009
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CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, bronze "stick" money, 68x5mm, 8.2g, a rod, pierced at top, roughly triangular in section, the lower 2/3 divided into 3mm segments, F $56.00sold 5/31/2010
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