Chinese cash coins

Oregon Viking

Gold Member
Jan 6, 2014
10,688
28,777
Brookings-Harbor Oregon
Detector(s) used
White's prizm IV
Keene A52 with Gold Hog mats
Gold-N-Sand hand dredge
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Unknown dynasty/year research really didn't help much.

IMG_0165.JPG



IMG_0171.JPG
 

Red-Coat

Silver Member
Dec 23, 2019
3,794
12,022
Surrey, UK
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Your cash coins are from the Emperor Guangxu (Kuang-hsu) who reigned between 1875-1908 but in practice he was a puppet Emperor; only three years old on accession and only held power without the influence of the Empress Dowagers Ci'an and Cixi during 1888-1898.

During his reign the first high definition machine-struck cash coins appeared and these are generally thinner than the earlier cast coins. Yours have the reverse marks for the “BOO Kuang” (Kwangtung mint) and were struck between 1890-1908. For some reason they didn’t see wide circulation since they usually turn up in very good condition with little wear. Perhaps they were unpopular because they were thinner and struck in brass with a very yellow colour.

Struck Cash.jpg

Unfortunately not very valuable despite the great condition… a few dollars at most. As for all Chinese cash coins, replicas and pseudo-coins used as charms and good-luck pieces exist, but yours look authentic from where I sit.
 
Last edited:
OP
Oregon Viking

Oregon Viking

Gold Member
Jan 6, 2014
10,688
28,777
Brookings-Harbor Oregon
Detector(s) used
White's prizm IV
Keene A52 with Gold Hog mats
Gold-N-Sand hand dredge
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
Your cash coins are from the Emperor Guangxu (Kuang-hsu) who reigned between 1875-1908 but in practice he was a puppet Emperor; only three years old on accession and only held power without the influence of the Empress Dowagers Ci'an and Cixi during 1888-1898.

During his reign the first high definition machine-struck cash coins appeared and these are generally thinner than the earlier cast coins. Yours have the reverse marks for the “BOO Kuang” (Kwangtung mint) and were struck between 1890-1908. For some reason they didn’t see wide circulation since they usually turn up in very good condition with little wear. Perhaps they were unpopular because they were thinner and struck in brass with a very yellow colour.

View attachment 2019863

Unfortunately not very valuable despite the great condition… a few dollars at most. As for all Chinese cash coins, replicas and pseudo-coins used as charms and good-luck pieces exist, but yours look authentic from where I sit.
Thank you very much! I have about 30 of them.
 

Yang Hao

Sr. Member
Feb 23, 2015
316
893
Haerbin
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
What caught my eye about the coins in this post are the "rust" spots in the image (if those are rust spots on the coins). I remember reading in a Chinese language coin forum last year about rust on coins. Basically, from that forum, rust is an indication the coins are fabrications and not original mints.
 
OP
Oregon Viking

Oregon Viking

Gold Member
Jan 6, 2014
10,688
28,777
Brookings-Harbor Oregon
Detector(s) used
White's prizm IV
Keene A52 with Gold Hog mats
Gold-N-Sand hand dredge
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
What caught my eye about the coins in this post are the "rust" spots in the image (if those are rust spots on the coins). I remember reading in a Chinese language coin forum last year about rust on coins. Basically, from that forum, rust is an indication the coins are fabrications and not original mints.
Is there a technique to determine if they are reproductions?

I will add more pictures.

165_0123.JPG



165_0125.JPG
 

Red-Coat

Silver Member
Dec 23, 2019
3,794
12,022
Surrey, UK
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
What caught my eye about the coins in this post are the "rust" spots in the image (if those are rust spots on the coins). I remember reading in a Chinese language coin forum last year about rust on coins. Basically, from that forum, rust is an indication the coins are fabrications and not original mints.

Is there a technique to determine if they are reproductions?


It’s tricky! Cash coins of this type were produced at a time when China was attempting to modernise and standardise its coinage, moving away from the old system where coins were tied to a volatile fluctuating silver standard and a unit of weight called the “tael”. Many of the older cast copper/bronze cash were sufficiently heavy that the melt value of the copper exceeded the equivalent ‘face’ value of the coin against the silver standard. This was exacerbated by a decline in the global value of silver from about 1871 onwards. The cost of producing copper/bronze cash coins by casting had become higher than their face value by about a third.

So, these coins were more efficiently machine-produced rather than cast, thinner and lighter than the cast coins they were intended to replace, and struck in cheaper brass alloy with a rather garish yellow colour.

They can usually be grouped into “large” (with a diameter of approximately 24mm) or small (with a diameter of approximately 20mm) with weights ranging from about 2.8g to about 3.1g and occasionally up to about 3.4g. All of them with a one cash denomination. They’re thin (below 1mm and usually about 0.9mm or below). The width of the flat rim around the edge also varies.

‘Modern’ (ie non-contemporary imitations produced as charms and good-luck pieces) can often be identified by having non-standard characters which may include characters expressing wishes for wealth, long life or good luck, but that isn’t always the case. There are also contemporary copies produced unofficially by merchants to meet the demand for trade coinage due to the limited output from the official mints.

I don’t know about the “rust spots” Yang hao referred to, but genuine coins would have no iron content and not be attracted to a magnet.

All I could say is that yours look to have faithful characters for genuine coinage, a typical colouration for the brass alloy used, and your description of them being “very light cheap like coins not heavy or thick” is consistent with genuine coins (if they fall within the dimensions I gave above).

The remarkable condition and the fact you have 30 of them is not an indicator that they are modern since, as I said, these coins seem to have been unpopular in use, were often hoarded, and didn’t see much circulation. Is there a back-story? How did you come to have these coins? If they were part of an accumulation of Chinese junk that included charms and such, or modern items, I would be suspicious of their authenticity on a “guilt by association” basis.
 

Top Member Reactions

Users who are viewing this thread

Latest Discussions

Top