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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 Tai Zong, 976 - 997 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Tai| |Zong,| |976| |-| |997| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Known by his temple name Taizong after his death, Zhao Jiong was the second emperor of the Song dynasty in China. Taizong was a hardworking and diligent emperor, notable for reunifying China by conquering the Northern Han and for caring for the well-being of his people. He personally led the campaign against the North, increased agricultural production, organized encyclopedias, expanded the courts and the examination system, and further limited the military power of the jiedushi. He personally wrote the inscriptions on his coins.Taizong_of_Song
CH96835. Bronze 1 cash, cf. Hartill 16.35 ff., aF or better, as found patina, light encrustations, weight c. 3.6 g, maximum diameter c. 24.9 mm, 995 - 997 A.D.; obverse Zhi Dao yuan bao, clockwise, various scripts; reverse plain; randomly selected from the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $3.00 SALE PRICE $2.70 Out of Stock!


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|
Emperor Zhenzong's reign was noted for the consolidation of power and the strengthening of the Song Empire. The empire prospered, and its military might was further reinforced. However, it would also mark the beginning of a foreign policy towards the Khitan-led Liao dynasty in the north that would ultimately result in humiliation.
CH92226. Bronze 1 cash, Hartill 16.49, Schjoth 471, Gorny NS 06.01, Fisher 881, aF, colorful patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.399 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, 1004 - 1007 A.D.; obverse Jing De yuan bao, regular script, clockwise; reverse plain; $4.00 SALE PRICE $3.60


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Renzong was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty. He reigned for about 41 years and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. Despite his long reign, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92235. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 10.b.17, Hartill 16.76, Schjoth 486, Fisher 895, aF, as found deposits and encrustations, scratches, weight 3.092 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, 1023 - 1031 A.D.; obverse Tian Sheng yuan bao, regular script, clockwise, feet of bao spread, small hole; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $4.00 SALE PRICE $3.60


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Renzong was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty. He reigned for about 41 years and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. Despite his long reign, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92238. Bronze 1 cash, Hartill 16.73, Schjoth 484, Fisher 896, aF, as found deposits and encrustations, weight 4.006 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, 1023 - 1031 A.D.; obverse Tian Sheng yuan bao, seal script, clockwise, wide inner rim; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Renzong was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty. He reigned for about 41 years and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. Despite his long reign, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92242. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 12.b.06, Hartill 16.89, Schjoth 494, Fisher 901, aF, as found dark patina, light deposits and encrustations, weight 3.832 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, 1034 - 1038 A.D.; obverse Jing You yuan bao, regular 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; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Renzong was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned for about 41 years from 1022 to his death in 1063, and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. Despite his long reign of over 40 years, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92249. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 13.b.26, Hartill 16.105, Schjoth 499, F, deposits and encrustations, weight 2.942 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1039 - 1054 A.D.; obverse Huang Song tong bao, tong in li script, other characters in regular script, small hole; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Renzong was the fourth emperor of the Song dynasty. He reigned for about 41 years and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. Despite his long reign, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92251. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 13.a.02, Hartill 16.93, Schjoth 497, Fisher 904, aVF, deposits and encrustations, weight 2.625 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1039 - 1054 A.D.; obverse Huang Song tong bao, seal script, tall tong; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $7.00 SALE PRICE $6.30


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Despite his long reign of over 40 years, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92252. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 13.a.25, Hartill 16.93, Schjoth 497, Fisher 904, F, light deposits and encrustations, weight 2.488 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1039 - 1054 A.D.; obverse Huang Song tong bao, seal script, smaller coin; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Ren Zong, 1022 - 1063 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Ren| |Zong,| |1022| |-| |1063| |A.D.||1| |cash|
Despite his long reign of over 40 years, Renzong is not widely known. His reign marked the high point of Song influences and powers but was also the beginning of its slow disintegration that would persist over the next century and a half.
CH92253. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 13.a, Hartill 16.98, Schjoth 496, F, deposits and encrustations, weight 2.976 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1039 - 1054 A.D.; obverse Huang Song tong bao, seal script, dot in Huang; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $7.00 SALE PRICE $6.30


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|
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.
CH92268. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 24.b, Hartill 16.184, Schjoth 531, Fisher -, aF, light deposits and encrustations, weight 4.032 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1068 - 1077 A.D.; obverse Xi Ning yuan bao, regular 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; $5.00 SALE PRICE $4.50




  






REFERENCES|

Calgary Coin Gallery. "Chinese Cast Coins Reference and Price Guide" - http://www.calgarycoin.com/reference/china/china.htm.
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.
Thierry, F. Monnaies chinoises. I L'Antiquit primpriale. (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).
Zhen Yi Wei. T diǎn zhōng gu huā qin. (Shanghai, 2010).

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