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Chinese Ancient Coin

Ancient Chinese Spade Coin And Knife Coin

Bronze knives and bronze spades were common barter items in ancient China, but a bit awkward or hazardous to carry around to trade. Some of China's first coins were made to look like a knife or like a stylized spade, so that people would think of them as money, however they were too thin and fragile to be used for anything but money. The knife coin and the spade coin developed in different areas of China about the same time. This knife coin is called the "Ming" after the city where it was made (not the dynasty that was much later). It was used from about 400BC to 225BC. The square foot spade coin, also known as "Pu" money was used from the late 4th century BC until about the mid third century BC. Both are rare and interesting examples of early coinage that was issued while the economy evolved from a barter to an monetary economy.

Rare Ancient Chinese Transiyional Coin

This is an interesting transition coin marking the transition from the knife coin to the more traditional round coin. The issue, dating from about 265BC is one of the first of the long series of round coins with square holes, a design that China used for the next 2100 years. The denomination “yi-tao”, which translates as “one knife" is on the obverse. The reverse is blank. The coin is somewhat crude, being issued in a period of economic hardship during the final collapse of the Chou Dynasty called the warring states period. Until a recent hoard was uncovered, these coins were expensive and extremely difficult to acquire.

Inexpensive Ancient Chinese Coin

The Pan Liang was the standard coin of the realm in ancient China. These Pan Liang coins are from the reign of Emperor Ch'e Wu-ti of the Western Han Dynasty and were minted from about 140BC to 118BC.. The design of the coin, a round coin with a square hole became a standard that China continued to use for over 2000 years, until 1911AD. The coins are remarkably inexpensive considering their age.

The Remarkable Wu-Ch'u Coin

In 118BC Emperor Yuan-shou withdrew the Pan-Liang coin and introduced a new coin, called the Wu Ch'u (Wu Shu or Wu Chu) It had a value of 5 Shu. Unlike the earlier Pan Liang coins it had a raised rim to prevent filing. The coin proved quite popular, and continued to be issued in various versions for the next six centuries! This particular version was issued during the Western Han Dynasty, until it was overthrown by Wang Mang in 7AD.

Wang Mang's Unusual Coins

Wang Mang was appointed regent for the young Chinese Emperor in 7AD. Two years later he killed the boy and usurped the throne. He attempted major reforms of China's economy including the abolition of slavery, introduction of an income tax, redistribution of the land from the land owners to the peasants, instituted price controls, confiscation of gold, demonetized existing coins and instituted new ones based on an unbacked fiat coinage. Though these reforms sound like things that modern governments do, they were revolutionary for the time, too revolutionary in fact. Despite the execution and exile of thousands, most of the reforms were not accepted. There were widespread general strikes. The economy collapsed, there were widespread general strikes and massive starvation. Finally in 23AD Wang was slain by an army of a rival emperor and his "reforms" were abolished. We offer the following two unusual coins issued by Wang Mang: The first is a Ta Ch'ien Wu Shih coin, which he introduced in 7AD. Though only slightly heavier than the old Wu Ch'u coins, it was worth 50 Wu Ch'u. As might be expected the merchants did not take too kindly to this new coin and unrest began to develop. In 14AD the value of the Ta Chi'en Wu Shih coin was reduced from 50 Cash to 1 Cash and a new unusual coin, called the Hou Pu was introduced. The Hou Pu, sometimes called "pants money" or a "spade coin" due to its shape, was modeled after the ancient Chinese spade coins which had not been in circulation for over 200 years. It had a value of 25 Wu Ch'u These remarkably historic ancient Chinese coins are available at quite a reasonable price.

Weird Warlord Coin From China

The Republic of China exerted minimal control over much of Kansu Province, instead local warlords ruled much of the territory. In order to pay their troops and purchase supplies, the warlords made their own coins by making cast copies of the 1914 100 Cash (Y450) coin from neighboring Szechuan Province. The coins were most likely made sometime between 1914 and the mid 1920's when a formal mint was established and province began to issue its own coinage. The coins appear to have been made from brass recovered from melting imperial Chinese 1 Cash coins, which were still in circulation. Since it took about six 1 cash coins worth of brass to make a single 100 Cash coin, the enterprise was quite profitable for the warlord. The coins are crudely cast, with a considerable variation in styles and sizes. This is an unusual and historic Chinese warlord coin that is rarely offered for sale.

Rare Warlord Notes From China

In 1934 Army commander Ma Hushan defeated Islamic separatists in what is now Xiangiang (Singkiang) province in China, - then promptly created his own separatist government with himself as leader. His Khotan (Hotan) Prefectural Government lasted only three years. These notes were issued in order to pay his troops and buy supplies. The crude notes were printed on thick, heavy paper using a series of carved wooden blocks, thus no two notes are exactly alike. We offer both the 1 Tael and the 3 Taels (pictured) notes. Perhaps most unusual, is that we found an original Uncirculated pack of 100 of the 3 Tael notes, however the pack was somewhat waterdamaged which caused some of the ink to run. The notes carry a high catalog, the 1 Tael catalogs $45 in Fine condition and the 3 Taels catalogs $24 in Fine condition. Due to a fortunate purchase, our price is MUCH less. They are unusual notes from a turbulent time and a turbulent region of China.

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