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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, Western Han Dynasty, 206 B.C. - 24 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Western| |Han| |Dynasty,| |206| |B.C.| |-| |24| |A.D.||5| |zhu|
Wu-Shu (5 zhu) denomination was issued from 118 B.C. to 220 A.D., with additional varieties perhaps as late as 600 A.D. Dated molds have been found, and the calligraphy and other features changed over time, making it possible to more precisely date some examples.
CH97941. Bronze 5 zhu, Hartill 8.6, Fair, weight 2.123 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, c. 115 - 113 B.C.; obverse Wu Zhu (5 zhu), hour glass wu, square top to zhu, no inner rim; reverse plain; $2.00 (€1.64)
 


China, Western Han Dynasty, Emperor Wu Di, 141 - 87 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Western| |Han| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Wu| |Di,| |141| |-| |87| |B.C.||5| |zhu|
Emperor Wu of Han ruled for 54 years - a record not broken for over 1,800 years. As a military campaigner, he led Han China through its greatest territorial expansion. At its height, the Empire's borders spanned from modern Kyrgyzstan in the west, to Korea in the east, and to northern Vietnam in the south. He created a strong and centralized state, adopted the principles of Confucianism as the state philosophy and code of ethics, and started a school to teach administrators the Confucian classics. His reforms have influenced the culture of China and its neighbors even to today. His effective governance made the Han dynasty one of the most powerful nations in the world. Emperor Wu is considered one of the greatest Chinese emperors. Wu_Di
CH96837. Copper 5 zhu, cf. Hartill 8.6, weight c. 2.1 g, maximum diameter c. 24 mm, 118 - 115/113 B.C.; obverse Wu Zhu (5 zhu), hourglass Wu, outer rim, no inner rim; reverse plain, inner and outer rims; condition varies, mostly near Fine or Fine, randomly selected from the same lot as the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $6.00 (€4.92)
 


Palembang Sultanate, Java (Indonesia), 1400 - 1821 A.D.

|China|, |Palembang| |Sultanate,| |Java| |(Indonesia),| |1400| |-| |1821| |A.D.||cash|
These coins, starting in the 1400s, were cast in tin alloyed with lead, denominated "pitis," one-sided, and generally inscribed in Arabic script. In 1821, the Dutch took control of Palembang and ended the local sultanate coinage. These coins were cast in "trees" and then broken off the trunks. It is common to find a remnant of the branch (casting sprue) that attached the coin to the tree.
CH96834. Tin cash, aF or better, bumps and scratches, as found patina and light encrustations, 13 - 20mm, obverse Arabic inscription, most with a round whole in center; reverse plain; c. 1400 - 1821 A.D, random selection from the actual coins in the photo, no more specific identification provided, if you order more than one and you want variety of types, ask us in the checkout comments to select the best possible variety, ONE COIN; $5.00 (€4.10)
 


China, Western Han Dynasty, 206 B.C. - 25 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Western| |Han| |Dynasty,| |206| |B.C.| |-| |25| |A.D.||4| |zhu|
The banliang, round with a square hole in the middle, was the first unified currency of China, introduced by the first emperor Qin Shi Huang around 210 B.C. Before that, a variety of coins were used in China, usually in the form of blades (knife money) or other implements, though round coins with square holes were used by the state of Zhou before it was extinguished by Qin in 249 B.C. Banliang coinage was part of a broader Qin standardization plan which also unified weights, measures and axle width. By the time this coin was issued, a full monetary economy had developed, with taxes, salaries and fines paid in coins. An average of 220 million coins were produced each year.
CH96838. Bronze 4 zhu, Hartill 7.16 - 7.17; Mitchiner ATEC 2 5156 (perhaps other varieties in the lot), near Fine or better, as found patina and deposits, weight c. 2.7 g, maximum diameter 24 mm, 175 - 119 B.C.; obverse Ban Liang, no rims; reverse plain, no rims; randomly selected from the same lot as the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $12.00 (€9.84)
 


China, Western Han Dynasty, 206 B.C. - 25 A.D., Lot of 7 Cash Coins

|China|, |China,| |Western| |Han| |Dynasty,| |206| |B.C.| |-| |25| |A.D.,| |Lot| |of| |7| |Cash| |Coins||Lot|
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.
LT96839. Bronze Lot, Lot of seven early cash coins, as found patina and deposits, weight c. 2.2 g, maximum diameter c. 22-24 mm, 175 - 119 B.C.; unattributed to type, no tags or flips, the actual coins in the photograph, as-is, no returns, LOT OF 7 COINS; $14.00 (€11.48)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Hui Zong, 1100 - 1125 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Hui| |Zong,| |1100| |-| |1125| |A.D.||1| |cash|
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.
CH92296. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 32.b, Hartill 16.382, Schjoth 609, Fisher 1018, aF, colorful patina, deposits, and encrustations, weight 3.328 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1101 - 1106 A.D.; obverse Sheng Song yuan 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; $8.00 (€6.56)
 


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|
Zhezong ascended the throne at age 10 under the supervision of Empress Dowager Gao. He was powerless until the Empress' death in 1093. Zhezong was unable to stop the fighting between conservatives and liberals in his government, which would lead to the northern Song's demise in the 12th century.
CH92297. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 31.a, Hartill 16.329, Schjoth 599, Fisher 1005, gF, light deposits and encrustations, weight 3.449 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1098 - 1100 A.D.; obverse Yuan Fu tong bao, seal script, clockwise, small bao; reverse plain; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $10.00 (€8.20)
 


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; $10.00 (€8.20)
 


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; $10.00 (€8.20)
 


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; $10.00 (€8.20)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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