CHINA, brass HUAN HAI token (1920s-30s)


CHINA, REPUBLIC, token, no date (1920s-30s), Obverse: 2 characters: HUAN HAI (incuse), Reverse: 20 ยข TRADE in English (incuse), Edge: plain, brass, 21mm, 4.84g, XF

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Huanhai (World Sea/Lake, etc. ) is a name associated with Yantai in Shandong, the style is similar to the Riley tokens of Shanghai.

China may have been the most monetized country in the world from the bronze age to today. Many times in history the people, left to their own devices by anarchy, and, sometimes, by government edict, made their own coins or tokens.

A token is used like a coin but is not a coin. Rather, it stands for a coin without the value of the coin. Maybe its copper, but says its value is the same as a silver coin. Usually tokens were made privately, but sometimes governments got involved.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.