CHINA, GUANG XU TONG BAO, 1875-1908, 1 cash, Guangdong mint


CHINA, QING Dynasty, 1644-1911 AD, 1 cash, no date (1887-90s AD), Guangdong mint, Obverse: GUANG XU TONG BAO, Reverse: BOO GUANG L-R, copper, 21mm, 1.4g, unlisted in Hartill, contemporary counterfeit with badly formed characters, probably Vietnamese, VG

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During the Guang Xu reign the country and the coinage went through difficult times but the government managed to hold on. European style struck coins were introduced, and the old and new money systems coexisted for several decades.

A rebel took Beijing and the last Ming Emperor committed suicide. A Ming loyalist general invited the Manchus into China to aid the Ming heir but instead they proceeded to conquer the country in what some think produced more casualties than any previous war. The Qing Dynasty promoted culture and the economy flourished until the Europeans arrived with their Industrial Revolution and opium.

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.