Featured Another Wang Mang hoard analysis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TypeCoin971793, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    While I was at FUN, a dealer friend bought a large hoard of about 200 Da Quan Wu Shi coins. This hoard was intact, never picked through, and never cleaned. Since I love going through hoards, I looked through all of the coins, and presented here are my observations. I bought 24 of the coins.

    The vast majority were nice official issues. Many were rather crusty or had problems such as cracks, holes, etc. Pictured here are the nicest. Notice how bold the inscriptions and rims are, and how symmetric the characters are. These all weighed over 5 grams, with the heaviest being about 9.7 grams.

    6820AEB9-CFD2-4C84-9772-A16269F4DB59.jpeg C0440B05-360B-4970-A9D4-9F12297F458A.jpeg

    Closeup of the two nicest from the hoard so that the style is clear:

    DDF06D30-05D0-47E5-BF3D-A9749661CA51.jpeg 0EFEF8A2-851D-4140-953D-BEE23BF152F2.jpeg

    Wang Mang’s rule was quite turbulent and marked by rampant counterfeiting. With several of his spade types, there are more extant contemporary counterfeits than official issues, which makes finding official issues for my collection quite difficult. The value-50 coins were not immune from the counterfeiting. I picked out the most obvious contemporary counterfeits from the hoard (there happened to be 10), though there could have been more that I glanced over. This means that 5-10% (or more) of the circulating cash at the time was counterfeit, which is an incredibly high number.

    The contemporary counterfeits are identified by soft, low-relief characters/rims, or characters that have poor symmetry.

    I also bought a single lightweight issue (bottom-right). There were less than 10 lightweight issues (<4 grams) in the entire hoard, maybe less than 5 (I was in a hurry, so I did not keep a detailed inventory). While it is possible that these were also contemporary counterfeits, it is also possible that they were pseudo-Wu Zhu coins (the populace was desperate for a trusted coinage). Between 11 and 14 AD, Wang Mang had given up on his utopian fiat currency and started issuing pseudo-Wu Zhu coins in the form of Bu Quans.

    Well-styled 2.5-4g Da Quan Wu Shi coins are possibly official issues meant to serve as coins with a value equal to a Wu Zhu. This is supported by the fact that they traded as Wu Zhus after 14 AD. The well-styled 2.5-4g Da Quan Wu Shis are quite common and very consistent in style, which strongly suggests that they are official issues.

    The low number of lightweight coins and the complete absence of Huo Quans in the hoard suggests a burial date between 11 and 14 AD, likely earlier in that date range.

    82A1A1D0-38E5-4D56-9FA5-AAC0B63052ED.jpeg B30F9C49-7D85-4961-A140-192D727CC6DB.jpeg

    Closeup of 4 contemporary counterfeit Da Quan Wu Shis. Note the weak/soft characters on the top two and the asymmetric characters on the bottom two.

    17AA1889-82AE-4070-9EAF-0FF9C7566742.jpeg 964B3FAB-752C-4807-B3A5-0CBC8647D5A7.jpeg
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  3. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Very informative post, thanks.
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  4. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    This looks like an interesting group. Should provide many hours
    of fun researching them. Will you be conserving any of them, if
    so how?
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  5. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    Studying a hoard is a lot of fun, and a rare opportunity. It would've been hard for me not to pass up buying the whole lot, even if the price was steep.
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  6. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Interesting group. Nice bronze patina.
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  7. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    Great writeup, I'd love to get my hands on a hoard like this someday.
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  8. AnYangMan

    AnYangMan Well-Known Member

    An awesome and thorough break-down, well done once again!
    tibor and TypeCoin971793 like this.
  9. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    I won’t for most of them. The ones I do will get a quick brushing under water to make the inscription clearer.
    tibor likes this.
  10. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    What do you do with your "contemporary counterfeits?"

    Is there a market for them?
  11. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    I might keep them all. I might sell several of them paired with official issues. I have not yet decided

    It has been known that counterfeiting was rampant in Wang Mang’s time, but there has never been an effort to distinguish the ancient counterfeits from the official coins. Maybe my efforts will create a market.
    mlov43 likes this.
  12. otlichnik

    otlichnik Member

    Thank for posting this informative write up.
    TypeCoin971793 likes this.
  13. igotchange

    igotchange Active Member

    Great work the more i see and read the more i want to know.
  14. Lembeck13

    Lembeck13 Member

    A bit off topic but... In 1931, at age five and digging in her backyard in Ozone Park, Queens, NY, my mother came across a square-holed coin with Chinese characters that fortunately she saved. It's simple impossibility fascinated her for her lifetime. Would it be o.k. to post an image of same and hopefully bring her childhood quandary to an end?
  15. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

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