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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, Bimetallic Arrowhead, Late Warring States - Qin Dynasty, 300 - 200 B.C.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AA36833. Bimetallic arrowhead; Nat. Geo, 10-96 pp 69, Watson China, fig 16-k; 44 mm long, head 29 mm; bronze head, trilobate solid sides, long shaft, Choice, SOLD

China, Bronze Arrowhead, Chow Dynasty, 5th - 4th Century B.C.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AA36836. Bronze arrowhead; Watson China -; 33 mm long; trilobate head, open work in center, socketed, cut off at angle on base, Choice, SOLD

China, Northern Zhou Dynasty, Emperor Wu, 557 - 581 A.D.

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Zhou_Wu_TangEmperor Wu of Northern Zhou (543578), personal name Yuwen Yong, nickname Miluotu, was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. As was the case of the reigns of his brothers Emperor Xiaomin and Emperor Ming, the early part of his reign was dominated by his cousin Yuwen Hu, but in 572 he ambushed Yuwen Hu and seized power personally. He thereafter ruled ably and built up the power of his military, destroying rival Northern Qi in 577 and annexing its territory. His death the next year, however, ended his ambitions of uniting China, and under the reign of his erratic son Emperor Xuan (Yuwen Yun), Northern Zhou itself soon deteriorated and was usurped by Yang Jian in 581.
CH89208. Bronze 5 wu zhu, Bu Quan (spade coin); Hartill 13.29, Schjoth 245, Fisher 639, Choice VF, nice green patina, light deposits, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, 561 - 576 A.D.; obverse Bu Quan (stroke in the middle of Quan is continuous); reverse plain; SOLD

China, Bimetallic Arrowhead, Warring States Period, 481 - 220 B.C.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AA36840. Bimetallic arrowhead; cf. Watson China fig. 16 h-j; 34 mm long; bronze trilobate head, sharp blades with curved base, trace of iron tang, Superb, very attractive; SOLD

China, Bimetallic Arrowhead, Late Warring States - Qin Dynasty, 300 - 200 B.C.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AA41667. Arrowhead; Nat. Geo 10-96 pp 69, Watson China -; 32 mm long, head 29 mm; bronze head, trilobate solid sides, triangular incuse on one side, iron tang, attractive; SOLD

China, Southern Song Dynasty, Emperor Xiao Zong, 1163 - 1190

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Emperor Xiaozong of Song started his reign in 1162 when his adoptive father and predecessor, Gaozong, abdicated and passed the throne to him. Even though Emperor Gao zong became a Taishang Huang ("Retired Emperor") after his abdication, he remained the de facto ruler, so Emperor Xiaozong only fully took over the reins of power in 1187 after Emperor Gaozong's death. After ruling for about a year, Emperor Xiaozong followed in his predecessor's footsteps and abdicated in favor of his third son Zhao Dun (Emperor Guangzong), while he became Taishang Huang and still remained in power until his death in 1194.Xiaozong
CH89205. Bronze 2 cash, Hartill 17.65, Schjoth 698, Fisher 1172, VF, dark near black patina, weight 7.229 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, 1163 - 1164; obverse Long Xing Yuan Bao, seal script; reverse plain; rare; SOLD

China, Bronze Arrowhead, Shang Dynasty, 16th - 11th Century B.C.

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From the collection of Alex G. Malloy, former dealer in antiquities for 40 years.
AA36837. Bronze arrowhead; Type I, Honan province; cf. Chinese exhibition, Nelson Gallery pp. 42-3, cf. Watson China, fig, 16, Choice, attractive, bilobate head, with deep veins each side of shaft with barbs, medium tang; SOLD

China, Three-Kingdoms, Kingdom of Wu, Ta Huang (Sun Ch'uan), 232 - 237 A.D.

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Eastern Wu (222 - 280 A.D), also known as Sun Wu, was on of the Three Kingdoms competing for control of China after the fall of the Han Dynasty in the Jiangnan (Yangtze Delta) region in southern and southeastern China. Its capital was largely at Jianye (modern Nanjing), but was at times at Wuchang (in modern Ezhou, Hubei).
CH35198. Bronze 500 Cash, Hartill 11.30, Schjoth 193, Fisher 531, Mitchiner ACW -, VF, weight 8.441 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, Nanjing or Hubei mint, 232 - 237 A.D.; obverse Da Quan Wu Bai; reverse plain; scarce; SOLD

China, Qing Dynasty, Sheng Zu, The Kangxi Emperor, 1662 - 1722

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The Kangxi Emperor is considered one of China's greatest emperors. According to tradition, while the Emperor Shen Zu was intimately associated with the European missionaries, he grew contempt for Buddhism and had a set of 18 brass images of the Luo-han Arhat (the 18 "vernerable" attendants of Buddha) melted down and cast into cash. The brass was said to contain a considerable portion of gold. Although analysis has shown that these coins do not contain any gold, great demand for these "Lohan cash" persists in China. Kangxi_Emperor
CH89209. Bronze cash, Lohan (venerable) cash; Hartill 22.91, Schjoth 1443, VF, weight 5.268 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, Board of Revenue mint, 1713 A.D.; obverse Kang Xi tong bao (one dot tong, Xi with no left down stroke); reverse Boo Chiowan, left and right; SOLD

China, Northern Wei Dynasty, Emperor Xiao Zhuang (and Later?), Autumn 529 - c. 543 A.D.

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Xiaozhuang was emperor of China of the Northern Wei (528 - 531). He was placed on the throne by General Erzhu Rong, who refused to recognize the young emperor, Yuan Zhao, who Empress Dowager Hu had placed on the throne after she poisoned her son Emperor Xiaoming. During Xiaozhuang's reign, General Erzhu largely controlled the military. In 530, Xiaozhuang, jealous and believing that General Erzhu might usurp the throne, had him ambushed and killed in the palace. Not long after, Erzhu Rong's cousin Erzhu Shilong and nephew Erzhu Zhao captured and killed Xiaozhuang.
CH19987. Bronze 5 zhu, Hartill 13.23, Schjoth 239, Fisher 608, EF, beautiful natural azurite patina, weight 2.092 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, 529 - 543 A.D.; obverse Yong An Wu Zhu (Yong An [period], five zhu); reverse plain; SOLD


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Catalog current as of Monday, February 17, 2020.
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