CHINA, SOUTHERN SONG Dynasty, 1127-1280 AD, 1 cash, no date (1131-62 AD), Obverse: SHAO XING YUAN BAO, seal script, bronze, 26.5mm, 3.25g, H17.35, edge chip, aG

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Second year title of Song Zhaogou.

Song Zhaogou fled from the Jurchen onslaught and established a Song government in southern China. His official name was Gao Zong. He had some problems controlling the bureaucracy and was forced to abdicate for a time. He formalized the loss of northern China in a peace treaty with the Jurchens.

Pressure from Turks, Tungus, and other peoples to the North grew until the Song felt obliged to retreat to the south. The Song paid tribute to the northern invaders, and continued their traditions in reduced circumstances until the coming of the Mongols.

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.