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Chinese coins

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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Two Rare Coins Discovered in Ningxia

Two Rare Coins Discovered in Ningxia thumbnail

Two rare ancient Chinese coins were recently discovered in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (宁夏回族自治区) according to an official government website. According to an article on the Pengyang County (彭阳县) website published May 11, 2015, one coin is from the Western Xia (西夏 ) and the other coin is from the Northern Song dynasty. [...]

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Chinese “Laid to Rest” Burial Charm

Chinese “Laid to Rest” Burial Charm thumbnail

There is a certain Chinese bronze "coin" that is not included in Chinese coin catalogues. It is sometimes referred to as a "charm" but is not included in Chinese charm catalogues either. It seems that no one wants to have this coin in their collection. At the left is an example of the "coin". The [...]

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Kingdom of Chu “Tian Ce Fu Bao” Gilt Bronze Coin

Kingdom of Chu “Tian Ce Fu Bao” Gilt Bronze Coin thumbnail

Among the rarest of ancient Chinese coins is the tian ce fu bao (天策府宝) coin which was minted by Ma Yin (马殷) of the Kingdom of Chu (楚 907-951) during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Both bronze and iron specimens exist. At the left is an example of a bronze tian ce fu [...]

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State of Qin Silver Banliang Coin

State of Qin Silver Banliang Coin thumbnail

During the 1950's, a number of banliang (半两) coins were unearthed at a site near Xian (西安).  Among the coins was one unusually large and very heavy banliang coin. While banliang coins cast in Qin (秦) during the Warring States period typically have a diameter of 32 - 34 mm and weigh about 8 grams, [...]

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Tang and Song Dynasty Coins Dug Up in Yancheng

Tang and Song Dynasty Coins Dug Up in Yancheng thumbnail

A large quantity of coins dating to the Tang and Song dynasties was recently unearthed by a large excavator removing silt from a river in Yancheng (盐城市), Jiangsu Province, according to media reports. At approximately 10:00 AM on March 21, the excavator was dredging a small 6-meter wide river that runs through Longgang Town (龙冈镇) [...]

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Chinese Burial Money

Chinese Burial Money thumbnail

Beginning in very ancient times, the Chinese included money among the objects buried with the deceased. This burial money was referred to as yi qian (瘗钱), meaning "buried money", or ming qian (冥钱), meaning "dark money". The money was to be used by the deceased in the afterlife to make life more comfortable.  It was [...]

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Horse in Armour Horse Coins

Horse in Armour Horse Coins thumbnail

Horse coins (ma qian 马钱) originated in China during the Song Dynasty (宋朝 960 - 1279).  They were not used as money, however, but as game pieces. There are a great variety of horse coins.  Some display only a horse while others show both a horse and rider. Some horse coins have inscriptions which identify [...]

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‘Kai Yuan Tong Bao’ Clay Mould

‘Kai Yuan Tong Bao’ Clay Mould thumbnail

The world's only known specimen of a Tang Dynasty clay mould used to cast kai yuan tong bao (开元通宝) coins is now on public display according to Chinese news reports dated January 6, 2015. This very rare clay mould (钱陶范), which is classified as a "national treasure" (国宝级), was unearthed in Shutang on August 17, [...]

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Qi Xiang Tong Bao Engraved Mother Coin

Qi Xiang Tong Bao Engraved Mother Coin thumbnail

A very rare qi xiang tong bao (祺祥通宝) engraved mother coin (雕母) was recently auctioned in Beijing. The Qixiang coins were cast for the shortest period of time and in the smallest quantity of any reign of the Qing Dynasty. Upon the death of the Xianfeng Emperor (咸丰帝) in 1861, his young son Zaichun (载淳) [...]

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State of Qi Six Character Knife Money

State of Qi Six Character Knife Money thumbnail

Knife-shaped money (daobi 刀币) was an early form of currency that circulated in the states of Qi (齐国), Yan (燕国) and Zhao (赵国) until the end of the  Warring States Period (战国时代 475 BC - 221 BC). The shape of these "coins" evolved from an ancient bronze scraper knife, known as a xue (削刀), which [...]

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