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Chinese Coins

Chinese coins for sale at Forum Ancient Coins.

The earliest Chinese proto-coins, used as early as 770-476 B.C., were imitations of the cowrie shells used in ceremonial exchanges. The first metal coins were also introduced in this period. They were not initially round, instead they were knife shaped or spade shaped. Round metal coins with a round, and then later 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 such as when paying tax, 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 mixtures of metals such copper, tin and lead, from bronze, brass or iron: precious metals like gold and silver were uncommonly used. The ratios and purity 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, and then 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 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. Other coins were of limited circulation and are today extremely rare. -- Wikipedia

References


Coole, A., et al. An Encyclopedia of Chinese Coins. (1967 - 1976).
Fisher, G. Fisher's Ding. (1990).
Gorny, N. Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide 2016. (Morrisville, NC, 2016).
Gorny, N. Northern Song Dynasty Cash Variety Guide, Volume 1: Fugo Senshi. (Portland, 2001).
Gratzer, H. & A. Fishman. One Thousand Years of Wu Zhu Coinage 118 BC - AD 958. (2016).
Gratzer, H. & A. Fishman. The Numismatic Legacy of Wang Mang, AD 9 - 23. (2017).
Hartill, D. A Guide to Cash Coins. (Victoria, BC, 1987).
Hartill, D. Cast Chinese Coins. (Victoria, BC, 2005).
Hartill, D. Qing Cash. RNS Special Publication 37. (London, 2003).
Jorgensen, H. Old Coins of China. (1944).
Kann, E. Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Coins. (Hong Kong, 1954).
Krause, C. & C. Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. (Iola, WI, 2010 - ).
Mitchiner, M. Ancient Trade and Early Coinage. (London, 2004).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2: the Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values, Vol. 3: Non-Islamic States & Western Colonies. (London, 1979).
Novak, J. A Working Aid for Collectors of Annamese Coins. (Merced, CA, 1989).
Peng, X. A Monetary History of China (Zhongguo Huobo Shi). Trans. Edward H Kaplan. (Bellingham, WA, 1994).
Schjoth, F. Chinese Currency. (Oslo, 1929).
Scott Semans World Coins, The Daniel K.E. Ching Sale, Seattle, 2 June 1991.
Coins in the Collection of Shanghai Museum. (Shanghai, 1994 - 1995).
Thierry, F. Monnaies chinoises. I L'Antiquité préimpériale. (Paris, 1997).
Thierry, F. Monnaies chinoises. II Des Qin aux Cinq Dynasties. (Paris, 2003).
Tye, R. Wang Mang. (South Uist, UK, 1993).
Von Glahn, R. Fountain of Fortune: Money and Monetary Policy in China, 1000-1700. (Berkley, 1996).
Yuanjie, Z., ed. Xinjiang Numismatics. (Hong Kong, 1991).
Yuquan, W. Early Chinese Coinage. (New York, 1951).

Related NumisWiki Articles

China and the Orient
Coinage and History in Ancient China
Rome and China

Links

Calgary Coin, Chinese Cast Coins Reference and Price Guide
Gary Ashkenazy's, Chinese Coins
Primal Trek, Chinese Coins
Wikipedia, Cash (Chinese coin)
Zeno - Oriental Coins Database