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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Asian Coins| ▸ |China||View Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of China

The earliest Chinese proto-coins, as early as 770 - 476 B.C., were imitations of the cowrie shells used in ceremonial exchanges. The first metal coins, also introduced in this period, were not initially round; instead, they were knife shaped or spade shaped. Round metal coins with a round hole, and then later a square hole, in the center were first introduced around 350 B.C. The beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 B.C.), the first dynasty to unify China, standardized coinage for the whole Empire. At first, coinage was limited to use around the capital city district but by the beginning of the Han Dynasty, coins were widely used for paying taxes, salaries, and fines. Ancient Chinese coins are markedly different from coins produced in the west. Chinese coins were cast in molds, unlike western coins which were typically struck (hammered) or, in later times, milled. Chinese coins were usually made from bronze, brass, or iron. Precious metals like gold and silver were uncommonly used. The alloys of the coin metals varied considerably. Most Chinese coins were produced with a square hole in the middle. At the mint coins were threaded on a square rod so that the rough edges could be filed smooth on a lathe, after which they were threaded on strings for ease of handling. Official coin production was sometimes spread over many mint locations throughout the country. Aside from officially produced coins, private coining was common during many stages of Chinese history. At times private coining was tolerated, sometimes it was illegal. Some coins were produced in very large numbers. During the Western Han, an average of 220 million coins a year were produced. Some other types were of limited circulation and are extremely rare today.

China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ying Zong, 1064 - 1067 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ying| |Zong,| |1064| |-| |1067| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
In 1055 Emperor Renzong fell ill and as he had no surviving sons there was a threat to the succession. Prompted by court officials, Renzong agreed to bring two boys, sons of Imperial clansmen, into the palace. Yingzong was the son of Zhao Yunrang the most important clan official and a first cousin of Emperor who also had been raised in the Palace as a potential heir before Renzong was born. Yingzong's reign is remembered for bitter controversy within the bureaucracy over ritual and symbolic honors posthumously bestowed on his biological father.
CH92264. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 22.a, Hartill 16.156, Schjoth 519, Fisher 937, F, green patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1064 - 1067 A.D.; obverse Zhi Ping yuan bao, seal script, clockwise, large script; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $9999.00 (€9199.08)
 


Lot of 29 Coins of Japan, China, Hong Kong, Etc.

|Medieval| |&| |Modern| |Bulk| |Lots|, |Lot| |of| |29| |Coins| |of| |Japan,| |China,| |Hong| |Kong,| |Etc.|
 
LT97475. Lot of 29 coins of Japan, China, Hong Kong, etc., ex Numismatik Naumann auction 96 (1 Nov 2020), lot 950; as-is, no returns; $325.00 (€299.00)
 


China, Qing Dynasty, De Zong, The Guangxu Emperor, 1875 - 1908

|China|, |China,| |Qing| |Dynasty,| |De| |Zong,| |The| |Guangxu| |Emperor,| |1875| |-| |1908||10| |cash|
The Guangxu Emperor, De Zong, was the tenth emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898. He initiated the Hundred Days' Reform, but was abruptly stopped when the empress dowager launched a coup in 1898, after which he was put under house arrest until his death.
CH89424. Bronze 10 cash, Coins in the Collection of Shanghai Museum, Vol. 6, 2169 (5.0g, 25mm, similar thick rims); cf. Hartill 22.1275 (smaller), VF, rough fields and file marks (normal for the type), weight 4.565 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Bejing, Board of Revenue mint, c. 1875 A.D.; obverse Guang Xu tong bao, protruding head boo, thick outer rim; reverse Boo Chiowan (Board of Revenue), thick outer rim; this is the only example of this type handled by FORVM; rare; $98.00 (€90.16) ON RESERVE


China, Warring States, Chu Kingdom, c. 476 - 221 B.C., Ghost Face Money

|China|, |China,| |Warring| |States,| |Chu| |Kingdom,| |c.| |476| |-| |221| |B.C.,| |Ghost| |Face| |Money||cowrie|
This cowrie form is nicknamed Ant Nose Money and the specific type is nicknamed the Ghost Face Coin. The "face" is actually the characters "Gui Lian Qian." David Hartill notes, "They have been found in areas to the south of the Yellow River corresponding to the State of Chu in the Warring States period. One hoard was of some 16,000 pieces. Their weight is very variable, and their alloy often contains a high proportion of lead."
CH96425. Bronze cowrie, Hartill 1.4, Schjoth 15-17, Fisher 4, Fair, light brown mottled patina, weight 1.944 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, c. 476 - 221 B.C.; obverse Gui Lian Qian; reverse plain; $28.00 (€25.76)
 


China, Yan State, Early Round Coins, 300 - 220 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Yan| |State,| |Early| |Round| |Coins,| |300| |-| |220| |B.C.
||1| |hua|NEW
Zhou was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty from 1050 to 771 BC. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, 790 years. During the Zhou period small round coins, a precursor of the later cash coins, had round holes from some regions and square from other regions.
CH94405. Bronze 1 hua, Hartill 6.17, Schjoth 77, Fisher 382, F, dark patina, weight 1.186 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, obverse Yi Hua; reverse Plain; $15.00 (€13.80) ON RESERVE


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Shen Zong, 1067 - 1085 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Shen| |Zong,| |1067| |-| |1085| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
Instead of the usual square, the shape of the hole on this coin resembles a flower. The Chinese referred to this type of hole as a flower hole, rosette hole, or chestnut hole. Westerners sometimes refer to them as a star hole. The Chinese call similar hexagon holes as turtle shell holes. These whole variations were created by mint workers doing final detail work, using a chisel or a file to remove excess metal that flowed into the center hole during casting. Creating these fancy holes was certainly intentional but the purpose is unknown.
CH92275. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 27.b, Hartill 16.235, Schjoth 547, Fisher 963, F, flower hole, colorful encrustations, weight 3.045 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, 1078 - 1085 A.D.; obverse Yuan Feng tong bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $14.00 (€12.88) ON RESERVE


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Shen Zong, 1067 - 1085 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Shen| |Zong,| |1067| |-| |1085| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
Shenzong implemented Wang Anshi's famous reforms aimed at improving life for the peasantry and unemployed. He was initially successful against the Tangut Empire but Shenzong's forces were defeated at the City of Yongle battle of 1082. As a result, the Xixia forces grew more powerful and would be a thorn on the side of the Song dynasty in the ensuing decades.
CH92277. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 27.a, Hartill 16.211, Schjoth 545, Fisher 964, aVF, dark brown patina, light deposits and encrustations , weight 4.125 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 0o, 1078 - 1085 A.D.; obverse Yuan Feng tong bao, seal script, clockwise, large characters; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $14.00 (€12.88)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhe Zong, 1086 - 1100 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Zhe| |Zong,| |1086| |-| |1100| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
Semi-cursive script is a partially cursive style of Chinese calligraphy. Also referred to in English both as running script and by its Mandarin Chinese name, xíngshu, it is derived from clerical script, and was for a long time after its development in the first centuries A.D. the usual style of handwriting.
CH92293. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 31.b, Hartill 16.343, Schjoth 602, Fisher 1004, gF, colorful patina, light deposits, weight 3.674 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1098 - 1100 A.D.; obverse Yuan Fu tong bao, running script, clockwise, claw feet bao; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $14.00 (€12.88)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Hui Zong, 1101 - 1126 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Hui| |Zong,| |1101| |-| |1126| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
Huizong, one of the most famous Song Dynasty emperors, spent most of his life surrounded by luxury, sophistication, and art, but ended in tragedy. An artist, Huizong neglected the army, and Song China became increasingly weak. On Jan 18, 1126, after the forces of the Jin had crossed the Yellow River and came in sight of the Song capital, Kaifeng, Huizong abdicated in favor of his son Emperor Qinzong. The Jin entered Kaifeng on Jan 9, 1127, and many days of looting, rapes, and massacre followed. Huizong and Qinzong were captured and demoted to commoner. Huizong was deported to northern Manchuria, where he spent the last eight years of his life as a captive.Huizong
CH92306. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 36.a, Hartill 16.428, Schjoth 633, Fisher 1070, aVF, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.651 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1111 - 1117 A.D.; obverse Zheng He tong bao, seal script, large characters; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $14.00 (€12.88) ON RESERVE


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhen Zong, 997 - 1022 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Zhen| |Zong,| |997| |-| |1022| |A.D.||1| |cash|
This type is read clockwise - top, right, bottom, left.

Zhezong ascended the throne at age 10 under the supervision of Empress Dowager Gao. He was powerless until the Empress' death in 1093. Under Zhenzong the country prospered. But after the Khitan attacked, despite initial successes, he concluded a treaty agreeing to an inferior position and an annual tribute of 100,000 oz. of silver and over 200,000 bolts of silk. The treaty brought over a century of peace, but the admission of inferiority would plague foreign affairs and the payments slowly depleted the empire's coffers. Zhezong died in 1100 in Kaifeng and was succeeded by his younger brother. He was only 24.
CH92231. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 08.09, Hartill 16.59, Schjoth 477, Fisher 891, gF, as found patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.788 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, 1008 - 1016 A.D.; obverse Xiang Fu tong bao, regular script, clockwise, two dot tong; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $13.00 (€11.96)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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