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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. - 9 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Western| |Han| |Dynasty,| |206| |B.C.| |-| |9| |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.Western_Han
CH98352. Bronze 5 zhu, Gratzer-Fishman B1.2, Hartill 8.7, F, colorful deposits and encrustations, weight 2.641 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, c. 115 - 113 B.C.; obverse Wu Zhu (5 zhu), curving wu, outer rim only; reverse plain, inner and outer rim; $15.00 (€12.30)
 


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, Warring States, Yan State, 300 - 220 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Warring| |States,| |Yan| |State,| |300| |-| |220| |B.C.||1| |hua|
The history of Yan began in the Western Zhou in the early first millennium B.C. After the authority of the Zhou king declined in the 8th century B.C., Yan survived and became one of the strongest states in China. Its capital was Ji (now Beijing). During the Warring States period, the court was also moved to another capital at Xiadu at times. Despite the wars, Yan survived through the Warring States period. In 227 B.C., with Qin troops on the border after the collapse of Zhao, Crown Prince Dan sent an assassin to kill the king of Qin, hoping to end the threat. The mission failed. Surprised and enraged by such a bold act, the king of Qin determined to destroy Yan. The Yan army was crushed at the frozen Yi River, Ji fell the following year and King Xi fled to the Liaodong Peninsula. In 222 B.C., Liaodong fell and Yan was totally conquered by Qin. Yan was the third to last state to fall, and with its destruction the fates of the remaining two kingdoms were sealed. In 221 B.C., Qin conquered all of China, ending the Warring States period and founding the Qin dynasty. Yan experienced a brief period of independence after the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 207 B.C., but was eventually absorbed by the victorious Han.Yan State Map
CH98338. Bronze 1 hua, Hartill 6.17, Fisher 382, Schjoth 77, Zhongguo Qianbi DCD 608, gF, weight 1.339 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, probably Ji (Beijing) mint, 300 - 220 B.C.; obverse Yi Hua (one hua); reverse plain; $14.00 (€11.48)
 


China, Warring States, Yan State, 300 - 220 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Warring| |States,| |Yan| |State,| |300| |-| |220| |B.C.||1| |hua|
The history of Yan began in the Western Zhou in the early first millennium B.C. After the authority of the Zhou king declined in the 8th century B.C., Yan survived and became one of the strongest states in China. Its capital was Ji (now Beijing). During the Warring States period, the court was also moved to another capital at Xiadu at times. Despite the wars, Yan survived through the Warring States period. In 227 B.C., with Qin troops on the border after the collapse of Zhao, Crown Prince Dan sent an assassin to kill the king of Qin, hoping to end the threat. The mission failed. Surprised and enraged by such a bold act, the king of Qin determined to destroy Yan. The Yan army was crushed at the frozen Yi River, Ji fell the following year and King Xi fled to the Liaodong Peninsula. In 222 B.C., Liaodong fell and Yan was totally conquered by Qin. Yan was the third to last state to fall, and with its destruction the fates of the remaining two kingdoms were sealed. In 221 B.C., Qin conquered all of China, ending the Warring States period and founding the Qin dynasty. Yan experienced a brief period of independence after the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 207 B.C., but was eventually absorbed by the victorious Han.Yan State Map
CH98340. Bronze 1 hua, Hartill 6.17, Fisher 382, Schjoth 77, Zhongguo Qianbi DCD 608, aVF, center hole not filed, weight 1.298 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, probably Ji (Beijing) mint, 300 - 220 B.C.; obverse Yi Hua (one hua); reverse plain; $14.00 (€11.48)
 


China, Warring States, Yan State, 300 - 220 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Warring| |States,| |Yan| |State,| |300| |-| |220| |B.C.||1| |hua|
The history of Yan began in the Western Zhou in the early first millennium B.C. After the authority of the Zhou king declined in the 8th century B.C., Yan survived and became one of the strongest states in China. Its capital was Ji (now Beijing). During the Warring States period, the court was also moved to another capital at Xiadu at times. Despite the wars, Yan survived through the Warring States period. In 227 B.C., with Qin troops on the border after the collapse of Zhao, Crown Prince Dan sent an assassin to kill the king of Qin, hoping to end the threat. The mission failed. Surprised and enraged by such a bold act, the king of Qin determined to destroy Yan. The Yan army was crushed at the frozen Yi River, Ji fell the following year and King Xi fled to the Liaodong Peninsula. In 222 B.C., Liaodong fell and Yan was totally conquered by Qin. Yan was the third to last state to fall, and with its destruction the fates of the remaining two kingdoms were sealed. In 221 B.C., Qin conquered all of China, ending the Warring States period and founding the Qin dynasty. Yan experienced a brief period of independence after the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 207 B.C., but was eventually absorbed by the victorious Han.Yan State Map
CH98342. Bronze 1 hua, Hartill 6.17, Fisher 382, Schjoth 77, Zhongguo Qianbi DCD 608, Fair, weight 1.688 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, probably Ji (Beijing) mint, 300 - 220 B.C.; obverse Yi Hua (one hua); reverse plain; $14.00 (€11.48)
 


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, 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.
CH92225. Bronze 1 cash, Hartill 16.43, Schjoth 469, Gorny NS 05.01, Fisher 876, gF, green patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.661 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, 998 - 1003 A.D.; obverse Xian Ping yuan bao, clockwise, regular script; reverse plain; $12.00 (€9.84)
 


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|
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; from a collection of 90 different Chinese cash coin types (no duplicates) all selected from a single hoard found on Java; $12.00 (€9.84)
 


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.
CH92243. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 12.a.01, Hartill 16.87, Schjoth 492, Fisher 902, F, as found colorful patina, deposits and encrustations, weight 3.57 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, 1034 - 1038 A.D.; obverse Jing You yuan bao, seal 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; $12.00 (€9.84)
 


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.
CH92244. Bronze 1 cash, Gorny NS 12.a.04, Hartill 16.87, Schjoth 492, Fisher 902, F, as found deposits and encrustations, weight 3.629 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, 1034 - 1038 A.D.; obverse Jing You yuan bao, seal 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; $10.00 (€8.20)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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