CHINA, SOUTHERN SONG Dynasty, 1127-1280 AD, 5 cash, no date (1208-10 AD), Shaoxing, Li mint, Sichuan, Obverse: SHENG SONG ZHONG BAO, Reverse: LI YI WU top-bottom in seal script, iron, 32mm, 9.96g, H17.538, S875, G/fair

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During this period the Mongols conquered the Jin state. It was the Jin who had forced the Song out of northern China. There was inflation. The government felt the need to make larger coins.

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.