On February 20, 2013 workers digging at a construction site in Chenzhou City (郴州市) located in Anren Prefecture (安仁县) in the southeastern part of Hunan Province (湖南省) unearthed a money pit dating back some 700 years according to Chinese newspaper reports.
The money pit contained approximately 7.5 kg of coins from the late Song (960-1279) and early Yuan (1280-1368) dynasties.
The construction site can be seen in the photo at the left. The oval shows a close-up of the money pit and the arrow points to where the discovery was made.
According to the newspaper reports, most of the coins are from the late Song dynasty. More than 20 types of Song dynasty coins were recovered including chong ning tong bao (崇宁通宝), chong ning zhong bao (崇宁重宝), zheng he tong bao (政和通宝), huang song tong bao (皇宋通宝), and xian ping zhong bao (咸平重宝).
On February 22nd, the China News Service dispatched a news team to Chenzhou City to cover the story.
The video broadcast includes commentary in Chinese. But even if you do not understand Chinese, you will see images of the construction site where the coin hoard was unearthed. The video shows archaeologists cleaning and examining the coins. There are also short interviews with Mr. Cai Ning (蔡宁) of the Anren Prefecture Cultural Relics Administrative Office (安仁县文物管理所) and Mr. Duan Bangqiong (段邦琼) of the Anren Prefecture Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting and the Press (安仁县文广新局).
The print media, as well as the China News Service, mention that some of the coins in the cache are considered to be fairly scarce. Among these are the jing yuan tong bao (景元通宝) and the chun hua tong bao (淳化通宝).
What would definitely be the greatest find from the money pit, however, would be chun hua tong bao (淳化通宝) and xian ping zhong bao (咸平重宝) coins.
During the reign of Emperor Tai Zong of the Northern Song Dynasty, a large number of chun hua yuan bao (淳化元宝) coins were cast during the years 990-994. As far as I have been able to determine, however, there are no historical records documenting a chun hua tong bao (淳化通宝) version of this coin and no authentic specimens are known to exist.
Emperor Zhen Zong of the Northern Song issued coins with the inscription xian ping yuan bao (咸平元宝) during the years 998-1003. However, I am not aware of any historical records of a xian ping zhong bao (咸平重宝) coin ever being cast during his reign. This coin is not included in the major Chinese coin catalogs.
Nevertheless, another major coin cache unearthed in 2010 in Shaanxi Province (陕西省) also claims to have discovered a xian ping zhong bao (咸平重宝) coin.
Images of the chun hua tong bao (淳化通宝) and xian ping zhong bao (咸平重宝) coins reportedly recovered from the Hunan money pit have not yet been published.
If the reports turn out to be true then this would certainly be considered a significant new discovery in Chinese numismatics.