Interesting Facts about Ancient Chinese Coins

Published: 12th March 2009
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Ancient Chinese coins date back to 2000 BC during the Xia dynasty. There are still coins used today, but then they varied in size and shape and were used for many different things.

The Western Zhou and Shang eras brought us several ancient Chinese coins. In the beginning, the first coins were known as cowry money. When they first came out, the were only made of shells, but eventually they were made from bone. In 221 BC, the cowry was made illegal.

Other types of coins were used during the Spring-Autumn and Warring States. One of these was the hollow-shaft spade. Some other types of coins resembled knives. They were large and had a hole at the top so they could be stringed up. These types of coins were called "The Ming" after the city not the dynasty. Another type of coin was the "Bu" spade coin. This era also produced some of the first round coins.

The Qin dynasty was from 221BC to 207BC. During this time both gold and bronze coins were used. However, The first metal coins were made somewhere during the Pre-Chou dynasty and the Chou dynasty. This was somewhere between 600-300 BC.

The Pan Liang coins were around a very long time. Possibly up to 2000 years. They were even still in use around 1911 AD. The coins were most likely made between 140 and 118 BC. These are round coins that have a square in the middle.

Over 220,000 strings of 1000 coins each were made during the first century of the Han dynasty. This is because minting coins was turned into a state monopoly. Casting coins in bronze started in the Western Han. This made it easy to standardize coins.

A coin much like the Pan Liang was introduced under Emperor Yuan-shou. This was called the Wu-Ch'u. The only difference between the two coins was really that the Wu-Ch'u had a rim to protect it from wear. For hundreds of years this coin was duplicated.

One coin used during the Mongol period between 1280-1368 was a round coin with a square in the middle. It had many intricate designs. This coin was stopped from use very quickly due to people hoarding them. They were given a time period to return them or be punished.

Ancient Chinese coins very old, very detailed history. There have been so many unique unusually shaped coins. The coins have had many different materials. Many of the coins eventually became formed metal. The coins details all came from the current dynasty's rulers.

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