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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 Zhe Zong, 1086 - 1100 A.D.

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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.
CH86020. Bronze 2 cash, Yuan Fu tong bao, running script, clockwise; Hartill 16.349, Schjoth 605, Fisher 1009, VF, earthen deposits, weight 7.588 g, maximum diameter 31.18 mm, 1098 - 1100 A.D.; $34.00 (€28.90)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhe Zong, 1086 - 1100 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
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.
CH86023. Bronze 2 cash, Yuan Fu tong bao, running script, clockwise; Hartill 16.349, Schjoth 605, Fisher 1009, VF, earthen deposits, encrustations, weight 8.742 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, 1098 - 1100 A.D.; $34.00 (€28.90)
 


China, Southern Song Dynasty, Emperor Gao Zong, 1127 - 1162 A.D.

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The reign title Jian Yan was changed in 1131 because of severe fires in the capital city. The character "yan" contains two "fire" elements -- thought to be unlucky in this case.
CH86071. Bronze 2 cash, Jian Yan tong bao, regular script, long characters; Hartill 17.26, Schjoth 676, Fisher 1148, VF, weight 8.987 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, 1127 - 1130; scarce; $30.00 (€25.50)
 


China, Southern Song Dynasty, Emperor Gao Zong, 1127 - 1162 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
The reign title Jian Yan was changed in 1131 because of severe fires in the capital city. The character "yan" contains two "fire" elements -- thought to be unlucky in this case.
CH86072. Bronze 2 cash, Jian Yan tong bao, regular script, long characters; Hartill 17.26, Schjoth 676, Fisher 1148, VF, weight 6.955 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, 1127 - 1130; scarce; $30.00 (€25.50)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhe Zong, 1086 - 1100 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Seal script, Zhuan Shu in Mandrin Chinese, is a formal style of Chinese calligraphy, closest to the archaic form of the charicters.
CH86067. Bronze 2 cash, Yuan Yu tong bao, seal script, clockwise, round bao; Hartill 16.270, Schjoth 575, Fisher 983, VF, weight 7.055 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, 1086 - 1093 A.D.; $28.00 (€23.80)
 


China, Southern Song Dynasty, Emperor Gao Zong, 1127 - 1162 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
The reign title Jian Yan was changed in 1131 because of severe fires in the capital city. The character "yan" contains two "fire" elements -- thought to be unlucky in this case.
CH86070. Bronze 2 cash, Jian Yan tong bao, regular script, long characters; Hartill 17.26, Schjoth 676, Fisher 1148, VF, weight 6.923 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, 1127 - 1130; scarce; $28.00 (€23.80)
 


China, Southern Song Dynasty, Emperor Gao Zong, 1127 - 1162 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
The reign title Jian Yan was changed in 1131 because of severe fires in the capital city. The character "yan" contains two "fire" elements -- thought to be unlucky in this case.
CH86073. Bronze 2 cash, Jian Yan tong bao, regular script, long characters; Hartill 17.26, Schjoth 676, Fisher 1148, VF, earthen deposits, weight 5.710 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, 1127 - 1130; scarce; $28.00 (€23.80)
 


China, Southern Song Dynasty, Emperor Gao Zong, 1127 - 1162 A.D.

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The Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) refers to the period after the Song lost control of northern China to the Jin Dynasty. The Song court retreated south of the Yangtze River and established their capital at Lin'an (now Hangzhou). Although the Song Dynasty had lost control of the traditional birthplace of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River, the Song economy was not in ruins, as the Southern Song Empire contained 60 percent of China's population and a majority of the most productive agricultural land. The Southern Song Dynasty considerably bolstered its naval strength to defend its waters and land borders and to conduct maritime missions abroad. To repel the Jin, and later the Mongols, the Song developed revolutionary new military technology augmented by the use of gunpowder. In 1234, the Jin Dynasty was conquered by the Mongols, who took control of northern China, maintaining uneasy relations with the Southern Song. In 1271, Kublai Khan was proclaimed the Emperor of China. After two decades of sporadic warfare, Kublai Khan's armies conquered the Song Dynasty in 1279. China was once again unified, under the Yuan Dynasty. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_Dynasty
CH86024. Bronze 2 cash, Shao Xing yuan bao, regular script, clockwise, reverse: crescent above, dot below; Hartill 17.47, Schjoth 688, Fischer 1161, VF, weight 6.420 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, 1131 - 1162; $26.00 (€22.10)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhe Zong, 1086 - 1100 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
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.
CH86021. Bronze 2 cash, Yuan Fu tong bao, running script, clockwise; Hartill 16.349, Schjoth 605, Fisher 1009, VF, earthen deposits, weight 7.669 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, 1098 - 1100 A.D.; $24.00 (€20.40)
 


China, Northern Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhe Zong, 1086 - 1100 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Seal script, Zhuan Shu in Mandrin Chinese, is a formal style of Chinese calligraphy, closest to the archaic form of the charicters.
CH86066. Bronze 2 cash, Yuan Yu tong bao, seal script, clockwise, round bao; Hartill 16.270, Schjoth 575, Fisher 983, VF, weight 8.317 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, 1086 - 1093 A.D.; $24.00 (€20.40)
 




  



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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, Volume 1: Fugo Senshi. (Portland, 2001).
Hartill, D. Cast Chinese Coins. (Victoria, BC, 2005).
Hartill, D. Qing Cash. RNS Special Publication 37. (London, 2003).
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'Antiquité préimpériale. (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).

Catalog current as of Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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