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June 2011

Old Korean Charm

Old Korean Charm

Korean charms are much scarcer and frequently much more elaborate than Chinese charms. A visitor to my website recently asked if I could provide any information on this old charm which was purchased in Shanghai in the 1930’s. This is a traditional Korean charm fully embellished with tassels, ribbons and old Korean coins.   This [...]

Tons of Chinese Coins Found in Sunken World War II Japanese Ship thumbnail

According to a report in the June 8, 2011 edition of the Korea Joongang Daily, a Korean underwater excavation company has recovered 3.3 tons of foreign coins from a Japanese freighter that was sunk by an American warplane off the west coast of Korea during World War II. The coins number about one million with [...]


Sun Yat-sen “Memento” Coin

Sun Yat-sen “Memento” Coin thumbnail

One of the most easily recognized silver coins from the early days of the Republic of China displays the profile of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the first president, with the English inscription “Memento Birth of Republic of China” on the reverse side. An earlier version of the coin had been struck in 1912 to commemorate the [...]


1,000 Coins Discovered in Han Dynasty Grave

Han Dynasty Grave

During the excavation of a recently discovered Eastern Han Dynasty grave, the Guangzhou Cultural Relics Archaeological Research Institute has discovered a pile of more than 1,000 bronze coins. The coins have the inscription “da quan wu shi” (大泉五十) which means “large coin fifty”. These large coins were worth the equivalent of 50 cash coins.  They [...]


Four Happiness Boys

Four Happiness Boys thumbnail

One of the most commonly seen Chinese “good luck” pictures is the “Four Happiness Boys” (si xi wa 四喜娃).  This is the image of two boys which are connected in such a way as to give the illusion there are four boys. This motif dates from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). A picture of the [...]


200,000 Ancient Chinese Coins Found in Old Well

200,000 Ancient Chinese Coins Found in Old Well thumbnail

Approximately 200,000 ancient coins dating from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD) were recently unearthed from an old well in eastern China. The Xinhua News Agency reported on June 4, 2011 that a construction crew building a road in the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province uncovered the old well on June 1st.  The opening [...]


Ancient Chinese “Piggy Banks”

Ancient Chinese “Piggy Banks” thumbnail

China has been using “piggy banks” for thousands of years.  While these ancient coin banks were not actually in the shape of a pig and were not primarily used by children, they did serve the purpose of storing coins. Coin banks, known as puman (扑满), were originally created as a means to enforce the laws [...]


Taiping Rebellion Coins Saved from Furnace

Taiping Rebellion Coins Saved from Furnace thumbnail

A recent Chinese newspaper article describes how some valuable coins from a popular peasant uprising at the end of the Qing Dynasty were saved from being used as scrap iron for a backyard furnace during the Great Leap Forward campaign of 1958-1961. The article entitled “Grandfather Saved Iron Coins from the Taiping Rebellion” was published [...]