Cast Chinese Coins: A Historical Catalogue

Front Cover
Trafford, 2005 - Coins, Chinese - 450 pages

This catalogue is the most comprehensive ever produced for western collectors:
• Covers the period from 650 BC to AD 1912.
• Over 5,000 coins illustrated, described, and numbered.
• Comprehensive Finding Guide allows any coin to be quickly located.
• Guide to rarity and value.
• Designed for use by beginners and experts.
• The latest research and archaeological findings are incorporated.
• Explains how to read the inscriptions on Chinese coins and describes the various writing styles used on the coins.
• Pinyin and Wade romanisations; simplified and traditional characters.
• Correct transliterations of non-Chinese inscriptions.
• Historical background and contemporary accounts of the use of the coinage.
• Numerous maps and charts.
• Cross-references to Ding and Schjöth.
• Annamese, Japanese and Korean coins outlined.


• Awarded the 2005 Lhotka Prize by the Royal Numismatic Society.


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This is the standard all-in-one reference for Western collectors of Chinese pre-machine coinage ("square holes"). It is a comprehensive catalog from 650 BC to 1912 with over 5000 listings, each with rubbing illustration, cross-references to former standards by Schjoth and Fisher, and rarity rating, informed by the latest Chinese research and archaeological finds. As a type catalog there is only moderate depth on calligraphy varieties, or complex, detailed series such as Banliang and Wuzhu, issued for centuries with tediously minor variations, which are better covered in more specialized works. Included are "knife" (tao), "spade" (pu) & I-pi proto-monies but with few illustrations, and a smattering of Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese, coins, and coin-like charms. Excluded are burial monies and some controversial forms. The numbering system is a bit cumbersome, but adequate, and now fairly standard in auctions and dealer offerings. The core catalog is given context by historical background notes and contemporary accounts of coinage use. Numerous maps, charts, indexes and a finding list are useful collector aids. The author has produced similar comprehensive guides for Japanese and Korean coins, while Barker remains the standard for official Vietnamese coins. A companion work, <i>A Guide to Cash Coins</i> (2017) serves as an even more graphic finding list to coins in all four series, and informatively catalogs more peripheral cast square-holes from other parts of Asia, including the vast unofficial Vietnamese series. The author's introduction downplays the dangers of collector counterfeits, which are now ubiquitous and not easily detected. 

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