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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, Yan State, Ming Knife Money, 400 - 220 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Yan| |State,| |Ming| |Knife| |Money,| |400| |-| |220| |B.C.|, |knife| |money|
Ming knives are identified by a character that looks like an eye on the obverse. Traditionally this character has been identified as ming, hence the name for the type. Others identify the character as Yi. A mint for Ming knives was unearthed at Xiadu, to the south west of Beijing. This was the site of Yi, capital of the State of Yan from 360 B.C., so the reading of yi has found favor recently. Molds have also been discovered in Shandong. The coins have been found, often in great quantities, across much of northern China and even as far as Korea and Japan. A wide range of characters are found on the reverses. There are two different Ming knife shapes. The first, presumably the earlier, is curved like the pointed tip knives. The second has a straight blade and often a pronounced angled bend in the middle. This shape is known as qing, a chime stone. The alloy contains around 40% copper and they weigh around 16 grams.
AS96175. Bronze knife money, Hartill 4.43, Schjoth 51-61, Fisher 342, Paohua DCD 577, VF, weight 15.863 g, maximum diameter 137.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ming mint, 400 - 220 B.C.; obverse Ming (bright) or Yi; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.00 ON RESERVE

China, Qing Dynasty, De Zong, The Guangxu Emperor, 1875 - 1908

|China|, |China,| |Qing| |Dynasty,| |De| |Zong,| |The| |Guangxu| |Emperor,| |1875| |-| |1908|, |10| |cash|
The Guangxu Emperor, De Zong, was the tenth emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, under Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898. He initiated the Hundred Days' Reform, but was abruptly stopped when the empress dowager launched a coup in 1898, after which he was put under house arrest until his death.
CH89424. Bronze 10 cash, Coins in the Collection of Shanghai Museum, Vol. 6, 2169 (5.0g, 25mm, similar thick rims); cf. Hartill 22.1275 (smaller), VF, rough fields and file marks (normal for the type), weight 4.565 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Bejing, Board of Revenue mint, c. 1875 A.D.; obverse Guang Xu tong bao, protruding head boo, thick outer rim; reverse Boo Chiowan (Board of Revenue), thick outer rim; rare; $85.00 SALE |PRICE| $76.50

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
CH89421. Copper 5 zhu, Gratzer-Fishman Wu Zhu B1.33, Hartill 8.9, weight c. 2.8 g, maximum diameter c. 25.8 mm, 113/90 - 87 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 SALE |PRICE| $5.40 Out of Stock!

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|
Minted during the lifetime of Jesus!

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.
CH89719. Bronze 5 zhu, cf. Hartill 9.32 ff., Gratzer-Fishman C5.46 (g) ff., 7 - 23 A.D.; obverse Huo Quan (wealth/money coin); reverse plain; 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 Hui Zong, 1101 - 1126 A.D.

|China|, |China,| |Northern| |Song| |Dynasty,| |Emperor| |Hui| |Zong,| |1101| |-| |1126| |A.D.|, |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.Huizong
CH87038. Iron cash, Hartill 16.502, Schjoth -, Fisher -, weight c. 3.6 g, maximum diameter c. 25.5 mm, 1119 - 1125; obverse Xuan He Tong Bao, Slender Gold script; reverse plain; aF or better, quality varies, some with edge chips, some with thicker rust, similar to the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $5.00 SALE |PRICE| $4.50

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.
CH89423. Bronze 4 zhu, Hartill 7.16 - 7.17; Mitchiner ATEC 2 5156 (perhaps other varieties in the lot), Fine or better, some edge chips, corrosion and other flaws, weight c. 2.5 g, maximum diameter c. 23.5 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; $5.00 SALE |PRICE| $4.50 Out of Stock!

China, Warring States, Yan State, 476 - 221 B.C.

|China|, |China,| |Warring| |States,| |Yan| |State,| |476| |-| |221| |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
CH87043. Bronze 1 hua, Hartill 6.17 - 6.19, Fisher 382 - 383, Schjoth 77, Zhongguo Qianbi DCD 608, weight c. 1.5 g, maximum diameter c. 19 mm, probably Ji (Beijing) mint, 300 - 222 B.C.; obverse Yi Hua (one hua); reverse plain or Ji (Beijing); worn, earthen encrustations, rough patina, similar to the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $4.50 SALE |PRICE| $4.05 Out of Stock!


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