CHINA, QING Dynasty, 1644-1911 AD, 1 cash, no date (1816-20 AD), Board of Revenue mint, east branch, Obverse: JIA QING TONG BAO, small Ji JIA, curved left stroke QING, closed head 2-dot TONG, dot top BAO, Reverse: BOO CHIOWAN L-R, brass, 28.3mm, 4.25g, palace coin size, H22.474, KM441, C1-2.1, contemporary counterfeit? VG

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In the Jia Qing period a rebellion led by a vegetarian and gender-egalitarian religious group called the White Lotus Society endured for eight years. Famine produced large migrations of Han Chinese into Manchuria and Mongolia. There was unrest in Xinjiang. The tradition of special coins for use by the people in the palace began with the Ming. This coin is bigger than normal, but thinner than I’d expect a palace coin to be.

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.