Viking Weights for sale
Before the introduction of a standardized coinage, the balancing of pieces of silver against known weights was an essential part of commercial transactions. The weight system used by the majority of traders in the Viking period was based on standardized Byzantine forms, usually made in the form of a truncated sphere and often bearing a symbol indicating the value. Weights of this kind were used in long-distance trade along the rivers of southern, eastern and northern Europe (Volga, Vistula, Danube, etc.) and formed a common unit for exchange. In the absence of a single, regulated coinage, Viking traders used to accept European and Arabic coins by weight rather than by tale (i.e. as bullion rather than as currency). Silver metal could be recovered from decorative objects by simply cutting an appropriate piece from the item: this ‘hack silver’ gave rise to the practice of cutting coins into halves and quarters, and of wearing rings and arm-rings made from silver rod which could be cut up as needed – the so-called Viking ‘ring-money’. The items offered for sale in these pages form an introduction to the fascinating world of international long-distance trade in the early medieval period.
Customers and site-visitors may have noticed that the Anglo-Saxon site pages have been revised. As part of our ongoing programme of improving the quality and reliability of our site, the ‘Viking’ pages are been amended in the light of further detailed research. We aim to roll this out across the rest of the site in due course. Please check back for updates.
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