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Ancient Chinese Coins

As one of the antiques of China, Chinese ancient coin is very old, has complex history with so many unique unusually shaped coins and even made from many different materials.

History of Ancient Chinese Coins
Ancient Chinese coins have a long history dating as far back as 2000 BC when China was ruled by the Xia dynasty. These coins had many different variations from size, shape to its design. About 4000 years ago during the Zhou Dynasty, Chinese coins were cast and widely circulated. In the beginning, the first coins were known as cowry money. When they first came out, they were only made of shells, but eventually they were made from bone.

Other types of coins were used during the Spring-Autumn and Warring States. One of these was the hollow-shaft spade. Some other types of coins resembled knives. During the Qin dynasty (221BC to 207BC), both gold and bronze coins were used. After Qin's unification the country in 221 BC, the round coin with a central square hole substitute all previous types of cast metal coins. They circulated continuously till the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), though the style varied with time.

By the Song Dynasty (960-1279) paper notes had appeared and were used in the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (1279-1911). Silver coins appeared in the Daoguang reign of the Qing Dynasty, and minted silver and copper coins circulated in the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty (1875-1908). Silver had been used as money since the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). It was cast in various forms, with ingots being the most common one.

Today Conditions
The development of monetary system in ancient China has a close connection with the history of Chinese economy and politics. Today, people might see the famous ancient Chinese round coin with a central square hole or the silver ingots. Nowadays, ancient Chinese coins have increase its popularity, collecting Chinese coins and currency even has become a hobby among Chinese people or even foreigners collector. There is even some method used in comparing a suspect coin to a known genuine coin, or a rubbing of same.