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These forged iron shapes were symbols of wealth and prestige. They were typically used as dowry items as well as being used as a medium of exchange or barter for goods. In some instances those obtaining the currency through barter in an area lacking iron would get their local smith to melt down the currency blades to make into implements, weapons or ornaments. There are several different shapes of such currency blades, including hoe or spade shapes, hide shapes and spears.