CHINA 25-221 AD tiny WU ZHU


CHINA, EASTERN HAN Dynasty, 25-221 AD, cash, Obverse: WU ZHU, Reverse: inner and outer rims, bronze, 12mm, 0.54g, called “goose eye” or “chicken eye” Wu Zhu, Hartill notes some small types have been found in W. Han tombs, 73-33 BC, H10.29, S208, ex George Fisher collection, VF

2 in stock

SKU: 2191755 Categories: ,


With all of the ancient tiny coins there is always discussion of whether they circulated or were made as ancient “Hell money.”

The Wu Zhu coins were made as a centralizing reform to replace the Ban Liangs.

At the end Zhou period Qin state became dominant. Qin Shi Huangdi became first Emperor of united China. The Han Dynasty followed, China grew prosperous. A minister, Wang Mang, usurped the throne 7-25 AD. His administrative experimentation brought famine and war. Han returned. The political situation deteriorated until China broke up into independent regions.

The oldest Chinese coins are at least as old as the earliest Greek coins. The Chinese coinage system differed from other systems in two ways. It was monometallic, only bronze coins circulated in general commerce. Gold and silver were treated as commodities. And the manufacturing method was by casting in moulds rather than by striking heated solid planchets. The main reference I use in attributing and describing these coins is the book: Chinese Cast Coins, by David Hartill.