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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, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Tai Zu, 960 - 976 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Tai| |Zu,| |960| |-| |976| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
Emperor Taizu of Song was the founder and first emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 960 until his death in 976. Formerly a distinguished military general of the Later Zhou dynasty, Emperor Taizu came to power after staging a coup d'état and forcing Emperor Gong, the last Later Zhou ruler, to abdicate the throne in his favor.
CH92217. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 01.13, Hartill 16.3, Schjoth 451, Fisher 852, aVF, as found deposits and encrustations, light scratches, weight 3.233 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, 968 - 976 A.D.; obverse Song Yuan ton bao, clockwise, li script, long tong, rounded bei; reverse plain; $8.00 (€7.36)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Tai Zong, 990 - 997 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Tai| |Zong,| |990| |-| |997| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
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
CH92218. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 02.02, Hartill 16.17, Schjoth 460, aVF, as found deposits and encrustations, weight 3.236 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, 995 - 997 A.D.; obverse Tai Ping tong bao, li script, clockwise; reverse plain; $8.00 (€7.36)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Tai Zong, 990 - 997 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Tai| |Zong,| |990| |-| |997| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
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
CH92221. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 03c.13, Hartill 16.28, Fisher 869, Schjoth -, gF, as found patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.179 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, 990 - 994 A.D.; obverse Chun Hua yuan bao, grass script, clockwise; reverse plain; $9.00 (€8.28)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Tai Zong, 990 - 997 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Tai| |Zong,| |990| |-| |997| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
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
CH92223. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 04b.7, Hartill 16.37, Schjoth 467, Fisher 873, F, dark brown patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 4.762 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, 995 - 997 A.D.; obverse Zhi Dao Yuan Bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; $9.00 (€8.28)
 


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|NEW
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
CH92224. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 04c.5, Hartill 16.41, Schjoth 468, Fisher 874, F, as found colorful patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 4.182 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, 995 - 997 A.D.; obverse Zhi Dao yuan bao, grass script, clockwise, characters away from the hole; reverse plain; $9.00 (€8.28)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhen Zong, 998 - 1022 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Zhen| |Zong,| |998| |-| |1022| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
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.
CH92227. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 08.4, Hartill 16.52, Schjoth 474, Fisher 883, F, as found patina, light deposits and encrustations, weight 4.005 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, 1008 - 1016 A.D.; obverse Xiang Fu yuan bao, regular script, dot at the top of yuan, clockwise; reverse plain; $9.00 (€8.28)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhen Zong, 998 - 1022 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Zhen| |Zong,| |998| |-| |1022| |A.D.||1| |cash|NEW
Zhenzong's reign was noted for consolidation of power and strengthening the Song Empire. The empire prospered, and its military might reinforced. However, 1004, the Khitans waged war. Zhenzong struck back but despite initial successes, in 1005, concluded the humiliating Shanyuan Treaty. The treaty brought over a century of peace, but at the price of an inferior position to the Liao Empire, and an annual tribute of 100,000 ounces of silver and over 200,000 bolts of silk. The admission of inferiority would come to plague the foreign affairs of the Song Empire, while the payments slowly depleted the empire's coffers.
CH92228. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 07.08, Hartill 16.52, Schjoth 473, Fisher 883, gF, as found patina, light deposits and encrustations, weight 3.642 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, 1008 - 1016 A.D.; obverse Ziang Fu yuan bao, clockwise, regular script, dot at top of yuan; reverse plain; $12.00 (€11.04)
 


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|NEW
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.
CH92229. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 08.11, Hartill 16.59, Schjoth 477, Fisher 891, aF, as found patina, light deposits and encrustations, weight 3.662 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, 1008 - 1016 A.D.; obverse Xiang Fu tong bao, regular script, clockwise, two dot tong; reverse plain; $12.00 (€11.04)
 


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|NEW
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 bao, regular script, clockwise, two dot tong; reverse plain; $14.00 (€12.88)
 


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|NEW
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.
CH92232. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 09.1, Hartill 16.68, Schjoth 480, Fisher 893, F, as found patina, light deposits and encrustations, weight 4.087 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, 1017 - 1021 A.D.; obverse Tian Xi tong bao, regular script, clockwise, feet of bao closer together; reverse plain; $9.00 (€8.28)
 




  






REFERENCES|

Calgary Coin Gallery. "Chinese Cast Coins Reference and Price Guide" - http://www.calgarycoin.com/reference/china/china.htm.
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Novak, J. A Working Aid for Collectors of Annamese Coins. (Merced, CA, 1989).
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Thierry, F. Monnaies chinoises. I L'Antiquité préimpériale. (Paris, 1997).
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