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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 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; $8.00 SALE PRICE $7.20
 


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.
CH92248. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 13.b.26, Hartill 16.105, Schjoth 499, aF, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.810 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; $5.00 SALE PRICE $4.50
 


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; $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.
CH98383. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 27.b, cf. Hartill 16.235, Schjoth 547, Fisher 963, near Fine or better, as found patina and deposits, weight c. 4.4 g, 1078 - 1085 A.D.; obverse Yuan Feng tong bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; randomly selected from the same lot as the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $4.00 SALE PRICE $3.60
 


China, Xin Dynasty, Wang Mang's Interregnum, 7 - 23 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Xin| |Dynasty,| |Wang| |Mang's| |Interregnum,| |7| |-| |23| |A.D.||5| |zhu|
Wang Mang was a Han Dynasty official and consort kin who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin Dynasty, ruling 9-23 A.D. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow, and his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty (before Xin) and Eastern Han Dynasty (after Xin). Some historians have traditionally viewed Wang as a usurper, while others have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos. In October 23 A.D., the capital Chang'an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Wang Mang died in the battle. The Han dynasty was reestablished in 25 A.D. when Liu Xiu (Emperor Guangwu) took the throne. Xin_Dynasty
CH98379. Bronze 5 zhu, Hartill 9.32, Schjoth 149, Gratzer-Fishman C5.46, 14 - 23 A.D.; obverse Huo Quan (wealth/money coin); reverse plain; condition varies, mostly near Fine or Fine, randomly selected from the same lot as the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40 Out of Stock!


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|
Semi-cursive script is a partially cursive style of Chinese calligraphy. Also referred to in English both as running script and by its Mandarin Chinese name, xíngshu, it is derived from clerical script, and was for a long time after its development in the first centuries A.D. the usual style of handwriting.
CH98314. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 28.b, Hartill 16.274, Schjoth 567, Fisher -, aF, weight 3.711 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1086 - 1093 A.D.; obverse Yuan You tong bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; $5.00 SALE PRICE $4.50
 


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|
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.
CH98316. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 05, Hartill 16.43, Schjoth 469, Fisher 876, Fair, weight 3.536 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, 998 - 1003 A.D.; obverse Xian Ping yuan bao, clockwise, regular script; reverse plain; $5.00 SALE PRICE $4.50
 


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.
CH98363. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 27.b, Hartill 16.235, Schjoth 547, Fisher 963, aVF, light deposits, weight 3.894 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, 1078 - 1085 A.D.; obverse Yuan Feng tong bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; $8.00 SALE PRICE $7.20
 


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.
CH98270. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 27.a, Hartill 16.210, Schjoth 545, Fisher 964, aVF, highlighting deposits, weight 4.089 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, 1078 - 1085 A.D.; obverse Yuan Feng tong bao, seal script, clockwise; reverse plain; $8.00 SALE PRICE $7.20
 


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.
CH98275. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 13.b, Hartill 16.105, Schjoth 499, aF, weight 4.013 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1038 - 1040 A.D.; obverse Huang Song tong bao, tong in li script, other characters in regular script; reverse plain; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40
 




  






REFERENCES|

Calgary Coin Gallery. "Chinese Cast Coins Reference and Price Guide" - http://www.calgarycoin.com/reference/china/china.htm.
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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).
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Scott Semans World Coins, The Daniel K.E. Ching Sale, Seattle, 2 June 1991.
Thierry, F. Monnaies chinoises. I L'Antiquité préimpériale. (Paris, 1997).
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