CHINA, MING Dynasty, 1368-1644 AD, no date (1621-27 AD), Obverse: TIAN QI TONG BAO, Reverse: inner and outer rims, brass, 24mm, 2.97g, H20.180, S1202, KM25.1, crusty, VF

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While Mongol princes were fighting with each other a peasant rebellion developed in the south. One of the peasant leaders became the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Ming became very prosperous, engaged in world trade. started overseas colonies, until one day an unfortunate horoscope caused the Emperor to freak out & close down the country. Economic difficulties produced a number of rebellions at the end, coins being made by rebels & local loyalists.

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.