≡ Menu

Chinese coins

Earliest Peasant Rebellion in China to Mint Coins

Earliest Peasant Rebellion in China to Mint Coins thumbnail

Thirty years after the founding of the Song dynasty (宋朝 960-1279), the government was still struggling to consolidate rule.  Economic hardship in the country was so great that peasants formed rebel armies to resist Song authority and kill corrupt officials. The largest uprising took place in Sichuan (四川).  Tea farmers rose up against the government [...]


Southern Song Coin for Jin Army Defectors

Southern Song Coin for Jin Army Defectors thumbnail

In the summer of 1131 AD, the armies of the Southern Song (南宋) and the Jin (金朝) were encamped on opposite sides of the Yangtze River (Changjiang 长江) and engaged in a pitched battle.  General Liu Guangshi (刘光世) commanded the Southern Song army while General Wan Yanchang (完颜昌) led the forces of the Jin. The [...]

Unique Western Xia Coin Written in Seal Script Unearthed in Ningxia thumbnail

The Western Xia (Xi Xia 西夏  1038-1227) was an empire situated between the Song (宋朝) and the Liao (辽朝). Until very recently, Chinese numismatists were aware that the coins of the Western Xia had inscriptions written in the native Tangut script (xi xia wen 西夏文) or one of the calligraphic styles of Chinese with the [...]


Song Dynasty Biscuit Coins

Song Dynasty Biscuit Coins thumbnail

During the reign (998-1022) of Emperor Zhenzong (真宗) of the Northern Song dynasty (北宋), a small quantity of cash coins were minted that had very broad rims and/or were very thick.  Chinese coin collectors refer to these coins as bing qian (饼钱) which translates as “biscuit” coins or “cake” coins. This was not the first [...]


Shun Tian Yuan Bao Charm

Shun Tian Yuan Bao Charm thumbnail

This beautifully engraved and gilded shun tian yuan bao (顺天元寶) charm dating from the Tang Dynasty (唐朝) appeared at an auction in China in 2015. Shun tian yuan bao coins were issued during the years 759-761 by Shi Siming (史思明), a rebel leader who seized control of the Tang dynasty capital of Luoyang (洛阳).  Luoyang [...]


Xin Dynasty Coins Found in Korean Tomb

Xin Dynasty Coins Found in Korean Tomb thumbnail

More than fifty Chinese coins cast 2,000 years ago during the reign of Wang Mang of the Xin Dynasty were recently discovered in a tomb in Gwangju, South Korea according to Korean and Chinese news reports. The discovery is particularly notable since Korea did not begin using or casting its own coins until some 900 [...]


Young Numismatists in China

Young Numismatists in China thumbnail

A cute photograph of several young children sorting through ancient Chinese coins accompanied a newspaper article published in the Guiyang Evening News (guiyang wanbao 贵阳晚报) dated August 12, 2015. Mr. Wang Pinli (王品礼) and his family live in a remote village in Meitan County (湄潭县) which is located in China’s southwest Guizhou Province (贵州省). The [...]


A Thousand Coins Discovered at Cishi Pagoda

A Thousand Coins Discovered at Cishi Pagoda thumbnail

More than a thousand Tang and Song dynasty coins have been discovered during the restoration of the Cishi Pagoda (cishi ta 慈氏塔) located in Yueyang (岳阳), Hunan Province (湖南省), according to an article in the Yueyang Daily (岳阳日报) dated August 21, 2015. The Cishi Pagoda is a seven-story, eight-sided (octagonal) brick pagoda 39 meters (128 [...]


Song Dynasty Coin Moulds Found in Salt Lake

Song Dynasty Coin Moulds Found in Salt Lake thumbnail

Two enthusiasts of the “salt lake culture” were taking pictures of birds at the Yuncheng “salt lake” (运城盐池) when they accidentally discovered a number of clay moulds (模具) used to cast iron coins (铁钱) during the Northern Song dynasty (北宋 960-1127), according to an article published June 16, 2015 by the Yuncheng News Network (运城新闻网). [...]


Villagers Dig for Coins in Grand Canal

Villagers Dig for Coins in Grand Canal thumbnail

Villagers in Linqing (临清), Shandong Province (山动省) dig for old coins in China’s ancient Grand Canal (大运河) when the water level is low, according to an article published July 2, 2015 by linqing zaixian (临清在线). The Grand Canal is the longest canal in the world.  Construction began in the 5th century BC.  The canal runs [...]

12,000 Song Dynasty Iron Coins Unearthed in Shanxi Province thumbnail

More than 12,000 iron coins dating from the Northern Song (北宋 959-1126) have been recovered from ruins located in Shanxi Province (山西省) following 20 months of excavation and research, according to a report by the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology (山西省考古研究所) published January 26, 2015 by the Shanxi News Network (山西新闻网). The archaeological site, situated [...]


Vault Protector Coins

Vault Protector Coins thumbnail

On special occasions in ancient times, Chinese mints would cast an unusually large, thick, heavy and well-made coin. The coin was known as a “vault protector” (zhen ku qian 镇库钱). The coin was not for circulation but occupied a special place at the treasury. The treasury had a spirit hall where offerings could be made [...]