This ant-nose coin is not your typical ant-nose coin. It is an extremely rare variant where the obverse contains the character “Jin,” a Zhou monetary unit. This should not be confused with the “Jin” that means “Metal.” (金) There are two forms of “jin” that represent a monetary unit: 釿 and 十斤. As you can see, the variation is in the left radical. The right radical, 斤, is another form of “jin” which means “cattie”, which is another weight unit. It can also mean “hatchet” or “adze”. The left radical of the first variant is the familiar “jin” (金), so we get a character that roughly means a “metal weight unit” or a “metal tool.” The left radical on the second variant is “shi” (十), or “ten.” This means that this character roughly means “10 weight units”. Comparing this coin to the Dang Jin spade, we see that the “Jin” character is the second variant on both pieces (look at the bottom-left character in the left image). This form of “jin” does not appear on any other types of coinage, meaning it is a local variant, and the two types are probably contemporary with each other. Given the style of the spade, it is reasonable to conclude that it is fairly recent as far as spades go, probably 3rd-4th centuries BC. This would give a similar time frame to the entire ant-nose coinage. In addition, these Dang Jin spades have been found buried with ant-nose coins, so they are undeniably contemporary and they circulated together. If that is the case, then how were the two related in the economy? The 十斤 “Jin” and the reverse inscription on the spade, “Shi Huo” (十貨). “Huo” (貨) means “money” or “wealth”, so a translation of the reverse roughly reads “Ten Monies.” What could these monies be? The current beliefs are that these monies are the ant-nose coins themselves. Dang Jin spades weigh around 20-30g and ant-nose coin weigh 2-3g, so this is completely plausible. This would also explain the “10 Weight Units” Jin. So if 十斤 was recognized as being worth 10 ant-nose coins, then why would it be reiterated on the back, albeit more explicitly? Let’s look at where these have been found. Most have been found within the confines of the ancient state of Chu, but many have been found in territory that used to be the state of Han. The state of Han cast almost exclusively spade coins, while the state of Chu almost exclusively cast the ant-nose coins. Since the two stated bordered each other, it would not be unreasonable to presume that some kind of trade occurred. (Image credit: https://www.ancient.eu/image/6864/) However, the two states had vastly different monetary systems. The Han used the “Metal weight unit” (釿) “jin”, which was a monetary unit equivalent to a spade coin that weighed one liang, or 24 zhu, or around 14g. The best system would likely have been to create a hybrid currency that would be acceptable to both states. At somewhere between 20-30g, the Dang Jin spade would have been roughly equal to two Han one-jin spades. This two-jins-for-10-ant-noses would have been a rather-even exchange rate, which would have been rather convenient. Here is a spade cast in the city of Yu, which was located in the state of Wei. A hoard of these was found in Han territory (the far south portion of the modern Shanxi Province). (The character 釿 is located to the right of the left image and is upside down.) There also exist very rare examples that are much smaller and have an inscription “Si (4) Bi Dan Jin”. These weighed roughly 1/4 of a full Dang Jin spade, so these would have been a half-jin, a denomination used in Han as well. Some of these were cast in pairs so that the feet remained connected. These would have been equal to the one-jin denomination. (Image credit: https://auctions.stacksbowers.com/lots/view/1-1NVHD) Those are my thoughts and theories on these coins based on mostly anecdotal evidence. If you find them compelling enough to take them to heart, yay! If not, I’d love to hear your comments. If you don’t care, well go back to enjoying your juicy bacon.