One of Asia's most influential coins - Tang Dynasty Kai Yuan Tong Bao

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Loong Siew, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Tang Dynasty China. 618-907

    Kai Yuan Tong Bao. A scarcer large variant exceeding 26mm. Jade green and cobalt blue patina.

    The Tang Dynasty is one of China's most illustrious periods. After a few hundred years of disunity following the collapse of the Jin 晋 Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty inherited a unified kingdom from the short lived Sui 隋 Dynasty. However under the capable leadership of a few generations of Emperors such as Emperor Taizong and the Empress Wu Zetian, the Chinese experienced a period of cultural, technological and military strength unrivaled by preceding as well as most subsequent Dynasties.

    The Kai Yuan Tong Bao meant "circulating treasure from the inauguration of a new epoch". It was the first time Chinese coins adopted a titular inscription as opposed to a weight age equivalent that was the standard for the past thousand over years (ref: Ban Liang and Wu Zhu etc). The quality was of exceptional quality and became the defacto standard imitated by her neighbors both in the East (Japan, Korea) and the West (ergo Sogdian and central asian). The Tang Dynasty was also the first adopt the inscription Tong Bao 通寶 and Yuan Bao 元寶 which became the mainstream text of pretty much all cash coins across Asia up to the 20th century.

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  3. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    I'm lovin' the cool patina colours .. sweet eye-candy!! (congrats, Loong-S)

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  4. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Thanks @stevex6 . They are by no means scarce or rare.. But it was the patina and larger size that caught my fancy. We Chinese call these type of patina Peacock patina for their rich cobalt blue and jade green colors..
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  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Gorgeous coin. I have been dabbling, exploring, and begun research into Chinese coinage... I've many trips all over China...fascinating history and country.
    Loong Siew likes this.
  6. Black Friar

    Black Friar Well-Known Member

    I too have become very interested in cash coins of China, Korea, Japan, and Viet Nam. There is so much more info via the internet than there was before. For years all I had was Schjoth. With Hartill, den Velde and to name a few it has been a lot easier to collect and understand.

    I recently came across a cash coin attributed to Pu Yi. I spoke with Scott Seamans about it after not finding it in reference texts. He feels it was a circulating counterfeit. Any thoughts anyone? It weighs out ok and diameter is quite right.


    Attached Files:

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  7. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    here's mine!


    has a little crescent at the top of the reverse...

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  8. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Thank you. To appreciate Chinese coins you need to know the history behind ew h coin as well as the calligraphy. Unlike western coins, they do not have much iconographic designs but purely characters which is unintelligible to non-Chinese speakers
    Alegandron likes this.
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Agreed. I do not read Chinese. Still, though, having been all over China over many years, I am still fascinated in learning more.
    Loong Siew likes this.
  10. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    @Black Friar . I share Scott's sentiment. The wear and patination looks legitimate and old as well as the overall dimensions. I believed he picked I up as counterfeit because of the unusual "Boo" Manchu character on the left on the reverse. The top section looks like petals as opposed to a distinct mirrored B which is expected from most if not all official issues particularly from the Board of Revenue which is what this piece is supposed to be minted by
  11. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Nice piece.. also an interesting variant where the both shoulders of the 元 point upwards..
  12. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    I am almost about to quit the far east due to all the fakes that are abundant out there. It is extremely difficult to tell authentic coins from fakes ones unless you are a real expert. To avoid this mess, I have been mostly buying coins from Steve Album, Scott Seamans, and other well known dealers, but even so, there is that potential for a fake coin to crop up. Very disheartening!

    Anyway, instead of posting another Chinese Kai Yuan, I figured I'll post this one instead. It is a bit rough in comparison to Yuan coins, but then again, they don't come to market very often:

    Sogdiana, Bukhara: Anonymous (ca. 640-708 CE) AE Cash (Smirnova-1379)

    Obv: 開元通寳 Kai Yuan tong bao
    Rev: Bukharian tamgha to the right of a square hole


    Line drawing from смирнова о.и. сводный - каталог согдийских монет (Summary Catalog of Sogdian Coins by O. I. Smirnova)

  13. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    i hand't noticed that!
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  14. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Having a book like hartill's help tremendously. I like how he accurately ranks each coins rarity as well.

    China is really amazing. Glad you liked it @Alegandron ..
    Alegandron likes this.
  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I have probably visited China about 50 times on business, and have visted most cities and town from Xian east to the ocean. I usually would travel from 3-6 weeks on a stint. Wonderful people, beautiful countryside, and would see some of the local sites, ancient tombs, temples, palaces, and memorials.
    Loong Siew likes this.
  16. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Nice Bukhara Kai Yuan. You are right, they don't pop up very often. As for Chinese fakes, it is often a case of provenance and personal opinion. I have personally experienced many times real were attributed as fakes.. especially from people who appraise through pictures alone. Some are obvious but with experience but before one dismiss them you need to have it on hand..
  17. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Yes.. in fact the best part to experience ancient culture is west of China. Beijing is new...
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