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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, Qing Dynasty, Emperor Gao Zong, 1736 - 1795 A.D., Board of Revenue

|China|, |China,| |Qing| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Gao| |Zong,| |1736| |-| |1795| |A.D.,| |Board| |of| |Revenue||1| |cash|NEW
The Great Qing, was a Manchu-led imperial dynasty of China (16361912) and the last imperial dynasty in Chinese history. The dynasty was officially proclaimed in 1636 in Manchuria (modern-day Northeast China and Russian Manchuria). It seized control of Beijing in 1644, then later expanded its rule over the whole of China proper and Taiwan, and finally expanded into Inner Asia. The dynasty lasted until 1912 when it was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution.
CH112336. Bronze 1 cash, Hartill 22.416, aVF, light earthen deposits, weight 4.166 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Board of Revenue mint, posthumous issue, 1878 - 1883; obverse Qian Long tong bao; reverse Boo chiowan (Board of Revenue); $12.00 SALE PRICE $10.80


China, Qing Dynasty, Xuan Zong, 1821 - 1850 A.D., Board of Revenue South Branch

|China|, |China,| |Qing| |Dynasty,| |Xuan| |Zong,| |1821| |-| |1850| |A.D.,| |Board| |of| |Revenue| |South| |Branch||1| |cash|NEW
Zuan Zong (Daoguang) inherited a declining empire with Westerners encroaching upon the borders of China. He was an amiable but ineffective ruler who led a highly unstable reign, marked by the First Opium War and the early Taiping Rebellion. The opium trade caused millions of silver liang to be taken out of the economy so that the value of copper cash decreased rapidly. By 1845, over 2,000 cash equaled one silver liang. Most of the provincial mints closed during his reign as the cost to produce the cash was higher than it's value.
CH112346. Bronze 1 cash, Hartill 22.579, Fisher 2384, Schjoth 1512, VF, flan adjustment marks, weight 4.456 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Board of Revenue, south branch mint, 1824 - 1850 A.D.; obverse Dao Guang tong bao, cross reading, square head 2 dot tong with straight bottom; reverse Boo Chiowan left and right; $12.00 SALE PRICE $10.80


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
CH112358. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 03b, Hartill 16.28, Schjoth 464, Fisher 868, aVF, highlighting deposits, weight 3.577 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 990 - 994 A.D.; obverse Chun Hua yuan bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40


Vietnam, Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen Thanh To (Minh Mang), 14 February 1820 - 20 January 1841 A.D.

|China|, |Vietnam,| |Nguyen| |Dynasty,| |Nguyen| |Thanh| |To| |(Minh| |Mang),| |14| |February| |1820| |-| |20| |January| |1841| |A.D.||cash|
Minh Mang was the second emperor of the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 14 February 1820 until his death, on 20 January 1841. He was well known for his opposition to French involvement in Vietnam and his rigid Confucian orthodoxy. He banned missionaries from Vietnam and seven missionaries were sentenced to death. Although he disagreed with European culture and thinking, he studied it closely and was known for his scholarly nature. In 1820, Captain John White of the US Navy was the first American to make contact with Vietnam, arriving in Saigon. Minh Mang was interested in purchasing artillery, firearms, uniforms and books, but a deal was not made. In 1833 the south revolted. Saigon was put under siege in December 1834 and fell nine months later in September 1835.Minh Mang
VN112368. Bronze cash, small flan (6 phan), Barker 101.10, Toda 228, VF, golden patina, weight 2.345 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1822 - c. 1830/1840; obverse Minh Mang Thong Bao, open Minh and Bao; reverse plain; $10.00 SALE PRICE $9.00


Vietnam, Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen Thanh To (Minh Mang), 14 February 1820 - 20 January 1841 A.D.

|China|, |Vietnam,| |Nguyen| |Dynasty,| |Nguyen| |Thanh| |To| |(Minh| |Mang),| |14| |February| |1820| |-| |20| |January| |1841| |A.D.||cash|
Minh Mang was the second emperor of the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 14 February 1820 until his death, on 20 January 1841. He was well known for his opposition to French involvement in Vietnam and his rigid Confucian orthodoxy. He banned missionaries from Vietnam and seven missionaries were sentenced to death. Although he disagreed with European culture and thinking, he studied it closely and was known for his scholarly nature. In 1820, Captain John White of the US Navy was the first American to make contact with Vietnam, arriving in Saigon. Minh Mang was interested in purchasing artillery, firearms, uniforms and books, but a deal was not made. In 1833 the south revolted. Saigon was put under siege in December 1834 and fell nine months later in September 1835.Minh Mang
VN112369. Bronze cash, small flan (6 phan), Barker 101.10, Toda 228, VF, light pitting, weight 2.366 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, 1822 - c. 1830/1840; obverse Minh Mang Thong Bao, open Minh and Bao; reverse plain; $9.00 SALE PRICE $8.10


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
CH112355. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 03b, Hartill 16.28, Schjoth 464, Fisher 868, aVF, colorful patina, deposits, weight 4.631 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, 990 - 994 A.D.; obverse Chun Hua yuan bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; $6.00 SALE PRICE $5.40


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.
CH112345. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 27.a, Hartill 16.210, Schjoth 553, VF, earthen deposits, weight 3.707 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1078 - 1085 A.D.; obverse Yuan Feng tong bao, seal script, clockwise, regular characters; reverse plain; $12.00 SALE PRICE $10.80


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.
CH112347. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 11.a, Hartill 16.82, Schjoth 489, Fisher 900, VF, light deposits, weight 3.720 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1032 - 1033 A.D.; obverse Ming Dao yuan bao, seal script, clockwise; reverse plain; $16.00 SALE PRICE $14.40


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|
Ren Zong reigned for about 41 years from 1022 to his death in 1063, and was the longest reigning Song dynasty emperor. 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. Renzong was considered to be merciful, tolerant, modest, lenient, and frugal, and seldom revealed his feelings on expressions, according to the records of History of Song.
CH112348. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 11.a, Hartill 16.82, Schjoth 489, Fisher 900, VF, blue green patina, light deposits, weight 3.858 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1032 - 1033 A.D.; obverse Ming Dao yuan bao, seal script, clockwise; reverse plain; $16.00 SALE PRICE $14.40


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
CH112342. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 04b, Hartill 16.37, Schjoth 467, Fisher 873, aVF, light green and blue patina, weight 4.331 g, maximum diameter 25.32 mm, die axis 0o, 995 - 997 A.D.; obverse Zhi Dao yuan bao, running script, clockwise; reverse plain; $10.00 SALE PRICE $9.00




  






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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