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Unknown coin from the Han dynsasty


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Hi all. 

I have been listening to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms on audio book and it peaked my intrest in the Han dynasty. I picked this coin up on ebay for a good price from a reputable dealer. However his only description is that the coin is from the Han dysnasty. Is it possible to narrow down the coin to a specific ruler or time period? A Roman AE-3 of Valentinian I is included for size comparison. 

Thanks for any assistance!

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Interesting coin, @Magnus Maximus. I think it is from the Western Han dynasty, considering the coin's small size, and a "confined" script (earlier Qin coins are more care-free with script). 

You mentioned you are interested in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms time period. There are a few coins specific to that era. Here is one of them, minted by the Kingdom of Shu (one of the big three kingdoms). Coin value at "100 Wu Zhu". Reverse is plain. I picked it up many years ago during my trip to HK. 

 

ZhuCoin-cutout.jpg

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5 hours ago, happy_collector said:

Interesting coin, @Magnus Maximus. I think it is from the Western Han dynasty, considering the coin's small size, and a "confined" script (earlier Qin coins are more care-free with script). 

You mentioned you are interested in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms time period. There are a few coins specific to that era. Here is one of them, minted by the Kingdom of Shu (one of the big three kingdoms). Coin value at "100 Wu Zhu". Reverse is plain. I picked it up many years ago during my trip to HK. 

 

ZhuCoin-cutout.jpg

Yup, this is a great coin to get for a link to The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  Here's my example and my notes on the coin:

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In 220, the Han kingdom came to an end and was followed by a period of disunity and civil war. Three kingdoms emerged from the chaos. These were the Wei in Northern China, the Wu in the east and to the west, the Shu (or Shu Han). This period is remembered as the golden age of Chinese chivalry, as described in the famous literary work The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. One of the heroes of the Romance is Liu Bei, later to become the King of Shu. When Liu Bei took the city of Chengdu in 214, he was advised to issue "value one hundred" coins to facilitate payment of his troops. That is why this type is attributed to him.  (I'm not sure how secure that attribution is...)

And here are some resources that will allow you to ID your coin pretty well.  First, the relevant 2 pages from Hartill:

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And here's a helpful page by Robert Kokotailo:

https://calgarycoin.com/reference/china/china2.htm

But the book that Ken has is the new place to go for these because it incorporates modern Chinese numismatic research otherwise unavailable in English:

image.jpeg.6168cf3ec7cd8af6f2a7d74b94a15c1b.jpeg

The image should link to its Amazon page.

Edited by Severus Alexander
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Here's my example of H 7.17, which yours could be (though it might also be 7.16, or something else).  Besides having a nice casting sprue, this coin is very interesting because it has an actual piece of ancient fabric bonded to it (at the top on the rev)!  Probably from the purse that contained the coins:

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This coin weighs 2.43g and measures 24mm. (Ex Sallent.  I wonder what happened to him?  He totally disappeared from CT.)

Edited by Severus Alexander
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the replies everyone. 

The coin measures about 1 inch/25mm. I do not have a scale, though if I had to guess I would say it weighs less than 3 grams. 

@Severus Alexander Thanks for the references, I am inclined to agree with you about it being 7.17 or 7.16.

I think its fair to say my coin was likley struck between 175 BC- 119 BC based on the pages that were provided. 

 

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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Hartill is a bit generic on these, just listing general time frames and not much more.  A lot of the variation comes with the rims.  G&F as mentioned above delves into quite a lot of detail.  Yours is:

Western Han Dynasty, Emperors Wen Di, Jing Di & Wu Di, 175 - 140 BC
AE Four Zhu
Obverse: BAN LIANG, no inner or outer rim.
Reverse: Blank, as made, no rims.
Hartill7.16 // G&F A13.62

20 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

Here's my example of H 7.17,

This is supremely cool!  I like the cloth remnants on the reverse.

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