My First Chinese!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Despite the fact that 23andme declares me 48% Chinese, I have never had any interest in collecting Chinese coins, mainly because they all look the same. I mean, I know they're different, but 2000 years of uni-face coins with 2-4 characters sort of seems...dull....

    But in any case, I picked these two up just to have a bit of nationalistic representation in my Ancient coin collection.

    As with any Ancient Chinese coin, the authenticity is always an issue. I got these two from a seemingly-solid dealer, but I would like to request a community review of authenticity of these two.

    Emperor Hui Zong
    Northern Song Dynasty
    Chong Ning Era, 1102-1106 AD
    Copper 10 Cash
    cost = $12
    I got this one because it is pretty big! I remember my mother, back in the 60s, would explore burials and tombs that were nearby (!!!). One time she found a handful of coins, some "as large as my palm" and gave them away to the neighborhood kids. I like to think these are the types of coins that she was talking about.

    I also love the lovely blue and green encrustations. The blue is crystallized and sort of glitters in the right angles.

    Wang Mang
    14-23 AD
    Bronze Huo Quan
    cost = $8
    This one also has those neat blue crystals.

    So, what say you? Authentic? I sure hope so...
    aleppo, ominus1, Deacon Ray and 21 others like this.
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I am no expert on Chinese cash coins. I enjoy them but FFIVN is really into them so I've learned a few things while researching them with him.
    Neither coins scream fake to me.
    For what it's worth, FFIVN really likes that 10 cash. It has some interesting coloring.
    Theodosius and hotwheelsearl like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @hotwheelsearl, for one, there are folks here who can be of Really Serious help with authenticating these. There was a whole thread about this just within the last week or so; sorry I can't remember the subject line. ...But meanwhile, from here, the patina on both of them looks like it would be more trouble to fake than it was worth. That is, from the kind of ruthlessly mercenary motives that would elicit faking in the first place.

    ...Regarding Chinese cash, it's like, as is demonstrated in this forum over and over, a merely appropriate investment in the history is what gives all of this stuff real traction. ...I just posted a coin that would look like complete garbage if it weren't for that dimension of the aggregate experience --even subjectively.
    Meanwhile, Congratulations on your Chinese heritage! I So Promise you, you Need to read up on it, and even invest in some books for whatever's left of your bookshelves (spacewise). This is from personal experience, in a different context. Except, it will help every time you look in the mirror ( my case, especially from the right angle).
    Hope Any of that helped. Politically incorrect as it may be to say so, Godspeed.
  5. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    I agree the designs could be more exciting, particularly for somewhere with such a long, interesting history. But having one or two isn't dull - they're very different from anything else I have. Some of them are pretty big and impressive too.

    This one is purportedly from the time of Qin Shi Huang, the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of a unified China. He took mercury pills in the belief they would give him immortality, with inevitable results. He's the one buried with rivers of mercury and 6,000 terracotta warriors.

    Qin Shi Huang Ban-liang, 221BC-210BC
    Bronze, 33mm, 9.4g. Ban Liang (half an ounce) (Hartill 7.7)
    ominus1, capthank, Theodosius and 9 others like this.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Glad it gets the seal of approval from IVN! The picture shows the color accurate to in-hand. It's really lovely, and you just don't get this type of color from Romans
    furryfrog02 and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  7. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    (anybody know what them characters say?)

    Despite Mandarin being my first language, and taking several years in college, I am still a complete functional illiterate :(
    Theodosius and +VGO.DVCKS like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    First, @hotwheelsearl, please receive my sincere apologies for making completely uncalled-for assumptions about your cultural literacy.
    ...Just, Except, from the amount of traction you have, you Get the option of doing More with it. Whether linguistically or by other means. ...What, to wallow in the trite and obvious, broadly historical and cultural.
  9. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Chong Ning Tong Bao, if I'm not mistaken
    "Circulating money/treasure of Chong Ning"

    Don't be upset with not being able to read it. It is pretty difficult. I am not a native or a Chinese linguist (Korean is my main secondary language) but I know many Chinese linguists and they have difficulty reading them.
  10. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Haha, I don't really keep in touch much with my cultural background, at all. Speaking the language is nice all but it only gets you as far as the next bus stop!

    I really do need to study more about China, I studied some useless archaeology but I honestly don't know a thing about the actual history of Ancient China :hungover:
  11. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...And this is when I get to be really sorry about having nothing but old crap for secondary sources on the history, from local pubic library book sales, partly bought to rescue them from the fate which would otherwise ensue.
    Honest, wish I could recommend anything really solid.
    ...Still betting money I don't have that somebody else can!
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  12. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    There really is a lot of history. I mean one of the oldest longest-running civilizations on the planet. That's what FFIVN really enjoys about it. So much to learn. It's a shame that there aren't a lot of Western resources.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  13. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    The best part about lack of Western sources is that it's relatively easy to be the first to write about [something] in English!
    In grad school I did a thing about a heretofore un/understudied monastery complex in NE China; far as I could tell I'm the first to write about it in English.
    (not that anybody cares, but it's kinda cool nevertheless)
  14. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    That IS cool!
    More knowledge is always better. Reaching a new audience is always good.
    Theodosius and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  15. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    So, Pleeeease, Tell Us More!!!! Is it anywhere online?
  16. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    So... what's the other 2%? I'm curious--my kids are in a similar situation to you, being "almost" half Chinese. For them, the balance is apparently Mongolian, Manchu and Korean. That approximately lines up with that side's family history, except we don't know about the Korean. The 23andMe percentages keep changing to different numbers every year--I guess they don't have a lot of great population genetic data form that part of the world.

    Anyway, I have a Wang Mang coin too that looks pretty similar. There was enough variation back then that even if they looked identical it wouldn't say much. I'll try to dig it out and take a photo if I can find it. Fun coins!
    Theodosius and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  17. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    "The 23andMe percentages keep changing to different numbers every year--I guess they don't have a lot of great population genetic data form that part of the world."
    Exactement. From comparable contexts.
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I agree with the sentiment that history is the way to make these fun. For example, this coin is attributed to Liu Bei, one of the heroes of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Once you learn a bit about that the coin becomes unforgettable!
    Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 7.44.42 PM.jpg

    Other things to get excited about include beautiful calligraphy...
    Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 7.47.00 PM.jpg
    Song: Hui Zong (1101-1125) 10 cash; allegedly the emperor's calligraphy

    ... and amazing patinas (which maybe attracted you to your two new coins):
    Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 7.49.19 PM.jpg
    Tang: Su Zong (756-762), 50 cash

    Chinese is not my main focus by any means, but it's fun! And common stuff is relatively inexpensive.

    They look fine to me. With expensive stuff you have to be very careful though, much more careful than for ancient Roman. There are some incredibly good fakes around. (And tons of bad ones too.)

    I can't recommend anything academic, but I can recommend a highly informed podcast: . If you liked Mike Duncan's History of Rome you'll like this. :)
  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Wow, and that many of the podcasts are free! Bookmarked it, for my ongoing edification.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  20. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    For a while, my percentages kept listing a significant (~12-15%) component as "Middle East" or "Turkish/Caucuses". Not entirely implausible for my Sicilian ancestry- there was the period of Muslim rule in the Middle Ages, and later Ottoman raiders, maybe a shipwrecked sailor- it could make sense. But the latest iteration just says 73% Southern Italian/Sicilian and 1% North Italian. Apparently those "Middle Eastern" alleles are just part of the Sicilian background, which is after all an enormous grab-bag of every civilization that has sailed a boat in the Mediterranean over the last few millennia. I also have 25% of mixed Irish, Scottish, and English from my paternal grandmother that I knew about. And the last 1%, in utter defiance of probability, says "Senegalese". That is almost certainly wrong, and I have no idea what glitch gives that readout. North African would be fairly plausible, as part of the Sicilian mix, but there just weren't any significant number of Senegalese folk wandering around Sicily and having children with the locals in 1800. Oh well, these commercial DNA-based ancestry tests can be fun, and can pinpoint your living relatives pretty well (they correctly told me the links and relationship degrees to various relatives who had sent their samples), but the science of human historical geography is still being worked out.

    I haven't read a whole lot in Chinese history, but from what I have read I can recommend the works of Jonathan D. Spence. He was a historian at Yale, and wrote a number of books on various parts Chinese history. My favorite book of his is "God's Chinese Son", about the Taiping Rebellion. Another book I found informative and enjoyable is Sterling Seagrave's "Dragon Lady", about the Empress Dowager Cixi. Seagrave argues (convincingly, in my opinion) that Cixi was unfairly slandered by her enemies, and that this portrayal of her as an evil, well, dragon lady was uncritically swallowed by foreign observers and later writers. I'd be interested to hear what books others recommend.
    Theodosius and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I believe I am correct that a common Roman that looked like that would either be stripped clean or send directly to the trash bin. As I recall, FFIVN has a Huo Quan but his looks more like mine (below) which cost less than $8. Chinese cash collectors have a different view of surface preferences than do collectors of Romans.

    I don't recall if FFIVN has the other one. (Does he?) Mine is not as colorful but didn't cost as much either. Colorful cash cost more?
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