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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Asian Coins| ▸ |Vietnam||View Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of Vietnam

Vietnam was the only region to rival China in the production of cash coins, issuing a vast variety over a 1000 year period, from 960 A.D. to the early 20th century. The coins of Vietnam relate to historically relevant people, places, and events, and include coins issued by rebels and competing political factions.


Kingdom of Quangnam (Southern Vietnam), The Nguyen Lords, Nguyen Phuc Khoat (Vo Vuong), 1738 - 1765

|Vietnam|, |Kingdom| |of| |Quangnam| |(Southern| |Vietnam),| |The| |Nguyen| |Lords,| |Nguyen| |Phuc| |Khoat| |(Vo| |Vuong),| |1738| |-| |1765|, |cash|
In 1744 Nguyen Phuc Khoat proclaimed the southern region a kingdom and took the regnal name Vo Vuong. Although he listened to music by western missionaries, Vo Vuong banned both missionaries and Christianity. He expanded his territory, taking parts of Cambodia. The Vietnamese-Cambodian border established by the end of his reign remains the border today. After declining availability of coins became a serious problem, in 1746 he purchased zinc from Dutch merchants to cast coins. He also allowed over 100 private mints. Unfortunately, some of these mints mixed cheaper black lead (lead) with the white lead (zinc). In 1776, Le Quy Don wrote in Phu Bien Tap Luc ('Miscellaneous records in the border area'), "There was one kind of coin called Thien Minh Thong Bao, which had black lead mixed in and became very fragile. People refused to accept it because of its ugliness; therefore the trade did not go smoothly, coins were not circulated well."Vo Vuong
VN83965. Zinc cash, Barker 85.1, Toda 285, VF, earthen deposits, weight 1.703 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, 1746 - 1765; obverse Thien Minh Thong Bao; reverse plain; $20.00 SALE |PRICE| $18.00


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Unknown King or Rebel, c. 1600 - 1700

|Vietnam|, |Dai| |Viet| |(Vietnam),| |Unknown| |King| |or| |Rebel,| |c.| |1600| |-| |1700|, |cash|
A number of cash coin types bearing the names of princes, of rebel chiefs, or of various mints have not been classified. Their Annamese origin is established, but no precise dates or other information. Many are from the Quang-nam Principality, the rulers of which were de facto kings and issued coins at various times. The names of these rulers are unknown. Some rebels who issued coins are otherwise entirely unrecorded by history.
VN83970. Bronze cash, Toda 264 (unclassified), Barker -, aVF, dark green patina, light dusting of chalky earthen deposit, weight 1.263 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, c. 1600 - 1700; obverse Thien Nguyen thong bao, regular script, nguyen in seal script; reverse blank; $18.00 SALE |PRICE| $16.20


Vietnam, Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen The To (Gia Long), 1 June 1802 - 3 February 1820

|Vietnam|, |Vietnam,| |Nguyen| |Dynasty,| |Nguyen| |The| |To| |(Gia| |Long),| |1| |June| |1802| |-| |3| |February| |1820|, |Cash| |(7| |Phan)|
A nephew of the last Nguyen lord who ruled southern Vietnam, at age 15, Nguyen The To (also known as Nguyen Anh) was forced into hiding when his family was slain in the Tay Son revolt. After several changes of fortune in which his loyalists regained and again lost Saigon, he befriended the French Catholic priest Pigneau de Behaine. Pigneau recruited volunteers to help him take the throne. From 1789, he advanced north, defeating the Tay Son, reaching the Chinese border 1802, and reuniting all Vietnam, from China down to the Gulf of Siam, after centuries of feudal warfare. He took the regnal name Gia Long, moved the capital from Hanoi to Hue, and reinstated Confucian education and civil service. In return for French support, he tolerated Catholic missionaries, which was increasingly restricted under his successors. Using French expertise, he modernized Vietnam's military, gained dominance in Indochina, and made Cambodia into a vassal state.Gia Long
VN84043. Zinc Cash (7 Phan), Barker 99.11, Toda 213, SCWC KM 173a, Schroeder 441, VF, thin patina and earthen deposits, weight 2.625 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, 1 Jun 1802 - 3 Feb 1820; obverse Gia Long Thong Bao; reverse That phan (right to left, seven phan); $18.00 SALE |PRICE| $16.20


Japan, Nagasaki Trade Coins, 1659 - 1685, For Trade with Vietnam

|China|, |Japan,| |Nagasaki| |Trade| |Coins,| |1659| |-| |1685,| |For| |Trade| |with| |Vietnam|, |cash|
From 1641, under the Sakoku isolationist policy, Nagasaki was the only Japanese port open to trade with Vietnam. Japan traded silver and copper for raw silk, sugar spices and sandalwood. Nagasaki Trade Coins were cast from 1659 to 1685. By law, they could not bear the officially issued Kanei Tsuho inscription. The inscription on this type copies Chinese Northern Song Dynasty cash coins, inscribed Yuan Feng Tong Bao, issued 960 - 1122. The clerical script style on these imitatives is quite different from the Song coins. A string of these trade coins was worth 1 liang of silver in Japan but 10.5 liang of silver in Vietnam! Copies of this type were also cast in Vietnam; their style is even further removed from their Song prototypes.
JA93024. Bronze cash, Hartill EJC 3.176 (copies Northern Song, Yuan Feng Tong Bao, Hartill 16.234), gVF, very light highlighting deposits, edge crack, scratches, weight 2.589 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, Nagasaki mint, 1668 - 1685; obverse Gen Ho Tsu Ho (Vietnamese: Nguyen Phong Thong Bao), li (clerical) script, clockwise, one dot Tsu, large characters; reverse plain; $14.00 SALE |PRICE| $12.60


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

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

During the reign of Minh Mang a substantial quantity of zinc coins were issued. They are of the same general style and calligraphy as the copper coins.
Minh Mang
VN84010. Zinc cash, Barker 101.27, Toda 228, VF, thick patina, weight 2.616 g, maximum diameter 2.35 mm, 1820 - 1841; obverse Minh Mang Thong Bao, large closed Minh; reverse plain; $10.00 SALE |PRICE| $9.00


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Tay Son Dynasty, Nguyen Nhac (Thai Duc), 1778 - 1788

|Vietnam|, |Dai| |Viet| |(Vietnam),| |Tay| |Son| |Dynasty,| |Nguyen| |Nhac| |(Thai| |Duc),| |1778| |-| |1788|, |cash|
Tay Son and Tay Son Dynasty, refer to the period of peasant rebellions and decentralized dynasties established between the end of the figurehead Le dynasty in 1770 and the beginning of the Nguyen dynasty in 1802. The name of the rebel leaders' home district, Tay Son, came to be applied to the leaders themselves. Nguyen Nhac was the oldest of the three Nguyen brothers from Tay Son village and the founder of the Tay Son rebellion. He proclaimed himself emperor in 1778 and took the reign title of Thai Duc. Nguyen Nhac and his brothers, the leaders of the Tay Son rebellion, conquered Vietnam, overthrowing the imperial Later Le dynasty and the two rival feudal houses of the Nguyen in the south and the Trinh in the north.
VN86936. Bronze cash, Barker 91.6, VF, dark patina, porous and pitting, edge cracks and sand hole, weight 2.638 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, 1778 - 1788; obverse Thai Duc thong bao; reverse dot (star) above hole, crescent (moon) below hole; $9.00 SALE |PRICE| $8.10


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Le Kings under the Trinh, Le Hien Tong, 1740 - 1786

|Vietnam|, |Dai| |Viet| |(Vietnam),| |Le| |Kings| |under| |the| |Trinh,| |Le| |Hien| |Tong,| |1740| |-| |1786|, |cash|
Le Hien Tong, born Le Duy Hieu, was the second-last emperor of Vietnamese Le Dynasty and ruled for 36 years. During his reign, large numbers of coins were issued in many varieties. The Le Emperors were considered just figureheads (puppets) for the ruling Trinh Lords, from 1573 - 1788 after the Trinh Lord, Trinh Kiem, defeated the Mac Dynasty leaders.
VN86942. Copper cash, Barker 68.44, aVF, golden and light green patina, casting mark on reverse, weight 3.450 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, 1740 - 1776; obverse Canh Hung Thong Bao, small bird Canh; reverse plain; $8.00 SALE |PRICE| $7.20


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Le Kings under the Trinh, Le Hien Tong, 1740 - 1786

|Vietnam|, |Dai| |Viet| |(Vietnam),| |Le| |Kings| |under| |the| |Trinh,| |Le| |Hien| |Tong,| |1740| |-| |1786|, |cash|
Le Hien Tong, born Le Duy Hieu, was the second-last emperor of Vietnamese Le Dynasty and ruled for 36 years. During his reign, large numbers of coins were issued in many varieties. The Le Emperors were considered just figureheads (puppets) for the ruling Trinh Lords, from 1573 - 1788 after the Trinh Lord, Trinh Kiem, defeated the Mac Dynasty leaders.
VN86946. Copper cash, Barker 68.15, aVF, attractive green patina, earthen highlighting deposits, pitting, weight 4.033 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1740 - 1776; obverse Canh Hung Thong Bao, one dot square head Thong, small field, broad rim; reverse plain; $8.00 SALE |PRICE| $7.20


Dai Nam (Vietnam), Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen Thanh Thai, 2 February 1889 3 September 1907

|Vietnam|, |Dai| |Nam| |(Vietnam),| |Nguyen| |Dynasty,| |Nguyen| |Thanh| |Thai,| |2| |February| |1889| || |3| |September| |1907|, |Cash| |(10| |Phan)|
At the age of ten, Nguyen Thanh Thai became the tenth Nguyen emperor after being taken from prison, along with his mother, by the a French. Thanh Thai was the first Vietnamese monarch to cut his hair in the French style and learn to drive a car. He encouraged French-style education, but maintained bitter feelings over their control of his country. He also supported numerous building projects and took an interest in the everyday lives of his subjects, holding "Town Hall meetings" where the Emperor sat on a mat with his subjects in a circle around him, discussing the issues of the day. When he realized his palace had been thoroughly infiltrated with French spies, he feigned insanity to escape constant scrutiny. Seen as a harmless lunatic, Thanh Thai was able to work for Vietnamese autonomy while waiting for the right time to throw off colonial rule. He was on his way to join a resistance movement in China when he was arrested by the French who declared him insane and exiled him to Halong Island in 1916. In 1945, he was allowed to return home but was kept under house arrest in Vung Tau. Thanh Thai died in Saigon on 24 March 1954.Thanh_Thai
VN84018. Bronze Cash (10 Phan), Barker 107.7, Toda a13, Yeoman 2, Novak 107, Lecompte 23, F, earthen encrustations, weight 3.384 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, 2 Feb 1889 - 3 Sep 1907; obverse Than Thai thong bao; reverse Van shi (a great number, ten) left and right; $8.00 SALE |PRICE| $7.20


Japan, Nagasaki Trade Coins, 1659 - 1685, For Trade with Vietnam

|Japan|, |Japan,| |Nagasaki| |Trade| |Coins,| |1659| |-| |1685,| |For| |Trade| |with| |Vietnam|, |cash|
From 1641, under the Sakoku isolationist policy, Nagasaki was the only Japanese port open to trade with Vietnam. Japan traded silver and copper for raw silk, sugar spices and sandalwood. Nagasaki Trade Coins were cast from 1659 to 1685. By law, they could not bear the officially issued Kanei Tsuho inscription. The inscription on this type copies Chinese Northern Song Dynasty cash coins, inscribed Yuan Feng Tong Bao, issued 960 - 1122. The clerical script style on these imitatives is quite different from the Song coins. A string of these trade coins was worth 1 liang of silver in Japan but 10.5 liang of silver in Vietnam! Copies of this type were also cast in Vietnam; their style is even further removed from their Song prototypes.
JA93040. Bronze cash, Hartill EJC 3.176 (copies Northern Song, Yuan Feng Ton Bao, Hartill 16.234), weight c. 3.1 g, maximum diameter c. 23 mm, Nagasaki mint, 1668 - 1685; obverse Gen Ho Tsu Ho (Vietnamese: Nguyen Phong Thong Bao), li (clerical) script, clockwise, one dot Tsu, large characters; reverse plain; many varieties in the lot, Fine or better, quality and patina varies, some with minor flaws, bumps, scratches, encrustations, similar to the coins in the photograph, ONE COIN; $8.00 SALE |PRICE| $7.20




  



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REFERENCES|

Barker, A. The Historical Cash Coins of Viet Nam. (Singapore, 2004).
Greenbaum, C. The Nguyn Ho Era Coins of Vietnam (1533-1548 AD). (Nantes, 2013).
Krause, C.L. & C. Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. (Iola, WI, 2010 - ).
Krisadaolarn, R. & V. Milhailovs. Siamese Coins: From Funan to the Fifth Reign. (Bangkok, 2012).
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).
Mitchiner, M. "Some Early Annamese Cash" in NC XI. (London. 1971).
Novak, J. A Working Aid for Collectors of Annamese Coins. (Merced, CA, 1989).
Schroeder, A. Albert Schroeder's Gold and Silver Coins of Annam. (London, 1968).
Toda, E. Annam and its Minor Currency. (1882).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, February 25, 2020.
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