According to a televised report by China Central Television (CCTV 中国中央电视台) on August 18, 2012, what may be the smallest Chinese coin ever discovered has been unearthed in Zaozhuang (枣庄), a city in China’s eastern province of Shandong (山东省).
The coin is described as being paper-thin with a rough edge and no larger than a fingernail.
The coin has no inscription but is believed to have been privately cast about 1500 years ago during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (557-589 AD) which was a particularly chaotic time in Chinese history.
The report states that “money-mad governors and greedy landlords” privately minted these coins to “squeeze poor peasants”, and that 10,000 of these coins would not have been enough to buy even one bowl of rice.
The CCTV video in English, which shows an image of the coin, may be seen here.