CHINA KAI YUAN TONG BAO with CHANG reverse (845-846 AD)


CHINA, TANG Dynasty, 618-907 AD, 1 cash, no date (845-846 AD), Obverse: KAI YUAN TONG BAO, 2.5×1.5mm “dot” below BAO, Reverse: CHANG top, bronze, 23mm, 3.53g, CHANG indicates the Huichang nianhao, H14.50v, S366, aF

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The so-called “Hui Chang” Kai Yuan coins with mintmarks on reverse were cast in 845 and 846 AD when the Emperor being a Taoist fundamentalist ordered the closing of Buddhist temples and monasteries and the casting of their bronze images into coins. Millions of mintmarked coins were made. Quality was generally poor. The next Emperor ended the persecution of the Buddhists and restored their properties.

The Tang Dynasty is considered to be a cultural and political high point of Chinese culture. The borders of the country were expanded especially to the west and the regulation of commerce and some centuries of domestic security produced long periods of prosperity and the flowering of culture and science.

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.