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Yuan You T'ung Pao


I post below is an email received from Ralf Fischer of Germany. on 28 Mar 2001. The email is self-explanatory.

Subject: Yuan You T'ung-Pao Iron Coin
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 16:35:09 +0200

Dear Mr. Leung,

I bought a coin which I think is a Li-script Yuan You T'ung-Pao Iron Coin.
Unfortunately I can not find it in any numismatic book I have (actually I have not even found a copper Li-script!)

Do you know this piece?

Thanks in advance,


Ralf Fischer



I have received Mr. Ralf Fischer's e-mail more than one month, I express regret at not being able to find out information about this iron cash. I check with the Chinese numismatic references as well as some of the Japanese references, but I find nothing about this cash. I have also asked some of my fellow collectors, but they know nothing about this cash too.






This "Iron Cash" should be cast from AD1086 to AD1094
The Obverse side reads in a clockwise direction. I find the legend are very strange, especially the first character "Yuan" and the third characer "T'ung". (The legend written in K'ai Shu (regular style), but the first Chinese character "Yuan" is written in Li Shu (scribe style).

It looks strange. Is it a fake? I ask myself. I have to ask the question: How was it made? Was it possible at that time to make a coin in that way?
The style of this coin feel right to me. The legend written with its elegance behind clumsy, its beauty in plainness. The sharpness, edge, and rust all look fine to me; this photo gives me no reason to doubt its authenticity. This cash does not look to be a modern fake.

I wonder this cash might be a contemporary issue, but cast by Liao or Tangut people. If this is true, this cash would be very rare. As we all know that Iron coinage is difficult to obtain specimen in collectable condition, this cash is an exception. After looking at the image of this coin does anyone else have any opinions on it.

Diameter: 26mm



The Sung dynasty (960 - 1279) cast more copper and iron coins than the preceding dynasties, but arbitrarily confined the use of iron cash to certain border provinces to prevent the export of copper coins to the north and northwest. From about 1040 large copper coins and large and small iron cash were circulated in the Shensi and Shansi area to finance war against the Hsi-hsia.



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Any additional comment would be much appreciated, you can send it to Y K Leung.









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