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Yunnan Rupee
The Imitation of Indian Rupee
雲南盧比
(Chinese in Big-5)

A Chinese collector, Mr. Zhang of Yunnan Provide got an unknown silver coin in the countryside of Burma in August 2005. The coin looked like a Sichuan rupee, but there was no Chinese legend bearing on the coin, he could not identify the coin. He posted the coin pictures on a Chinese coin Web site on 7th August 2005. But most of the Chinese collectors did not know the origin of Zhang's coin. They discussed much about the coin, they did not know whether it was a genuine coin or a modern forgery, but they did not have result.

During the same period, the Hong Kong Coin Auction No.40 had offered 3 fantasy silver coins of the similar type in the auction on 1st September, 2005. They were:

Lot.265
Fantasy : Szechuan fantasy Dollar, small head variety (Kann B29). Extremely fine, very rare. Estimate: US$200-250

Lot.266
Fantasy : Szechuan fantasy Dollar, large head variety (XM 445). Extremely fine, very rare. Estimate: US$200-250 and

Lot.269
Fantasy : Yunnan Rupee as Kann 599, but probably a fantasy coin made in China in the 1930s for collectors. Very fine and very rare. Estimate: US$200-250


The Lot.269 was the same specimen as the unknown coin. It was the Dr Karl Gabrisch Collection of Coins of Tibet and Nepal. These 3 fantasy coins were estimated value about US$200-250. The Chinese collector had to wait for the results of the auction.

Later, the 3 fantasy coins were sold in the auction:
Lot.265 was sold for USD240, Lot.266 was sold for USD280 and Lot.269 was sold for USD1900. From the results of the auction, we learned that the collectors have sharp eyes.


I first noticed about the Yunnan rupee in 1970s, when I read a numismatic book named Chinese Currency by Mr. Fredrik Schjoth, (Later the book was revised and edited by Mr. Virgil Hancock.) It was republished by Krause Publications, Inc. in 1965. The Yunnan rupee coin was simply introduced minting in 1907 by the book.

After that time, I have not got any information about the Yunnan rupee again. It was more than 30 years, until the recent years, two Yunnan rupee coins were found separately in Yunnan provice by collectors.
After Mr. Zhang found a Yunnan rupee in 2005, another Yunnan rupee coin was found by a Chinese collector Mr. Dy of Yunnan Province in 2009. Last week, I had the chances to get the coin pictures from Mr. Zhang and Mr.Dy. Thanks indeed to both of Mr. Zhang and Mr. Dy.

I find that 3 coins were struck from the same dies. Although I don't know where Kann or Dr. Karl Gabrisch got their former Yunnan rupee coins, the last two were found in the same district during the recent years. As I know that, there are still one or two more pieces of Yunnan rupee are in the collection of Yunnan collectors. If Yunnan rupee coins are fantasy, they should not be found in Yunnan only, but everywhere in China.


雲南盧比


2005年八月,云南省泉友張先生在緬甸鄉間獲得一不知名類似四川盧比的外文銀幣,他在八月七日把圖片放上內地一網站。大部份泉友都沒有見過這個銀幣,但是他們也明白這是四川盧比一類的銀幣。只是懷疑是否官鑄,或是私鑄,若是私鑄,又是否到代呢﹖也有泉友認為只是近年臆造的假幣。他們議論紛紛,莫充一是。
這時剛好香港錢幣拍賣會將在九月一日舉行。在拍賣會中有三枚被專家認為是臆造的盧比幣,它們分別是︰


序號265
臆造幣︰四川盧比: 大頭、極美、十分罕有
估值︰200美元至250美元

序號266
臆造幣︰四川盧比: 小頭、 極美、十分罕有
估值︰200美元至250美元 和


序號269
臆造幣︰云南盧比: 可能是一九三零年在中國為泉友而臆造、優美、十分罕有
估值︰200美元至250美元


其中一枚序號269的臆造幣,就是和那枚不知名銀幣同類,錢幣專家估值都很低,只是約200美元至250美元。泉友們只好等候香港錢幣拍賣的結果。

後來,三枚臆造幣都在香港錢幣拍賣會拍出,序號265是240美元,序號266是280美元,而序號269是1900美元。從拍賣的結果,我們知道泉友的眼睛是雪亮的。


我首先注意到的雲南盧比銀幣是在20世紀80年代,當時我讀到一本名叫中國錢幣的外文書。這本書是弗雷德里克先生寫的,後來由維吉爾漢考克先生修定,由克勞斯出版社於1965年再版了。書中只是簡單地介紹了雲南盧比銀幣是大約在1907年鑄造。

從那時候開始,三十多年來,我都沒有再聽到任何有關雲南盧比的訊息了,直到2005年八月,一位云南省的泉友張先生意外地獲得一枚,可惜他卻把它轉讓給另一位泉友。2009年初,雲南省泉友代先生也收集到一枚雲南盧比銀幣,上星期我分別得到代先生和張先生的應允,而有機會得到了云南盧比錢幣的圖片。十分感謝泉友 代先生和泉友張先生分別借出圖片﹗


我發現,3枚云南盧比硬幣都是從同一模具生產出來的。雖然我不知道Kann或者Karl Gabrisch先生,他們以前是從那裡得到雲南盧比,但是最近幾年所見的云南盧比都在同一地區發現的。而且我知道,目前仍然有一枚或兩枚雲南盧比是在雲南收藏家的手中。如果雲南盧比硬幣是臆造幣,他們不應該只在雲南發現,而是在中國各地。



Marks of Rareness of the Collected Currencies
Extremely Rare A ~ Very Rare B ~ Rare C ~ Not So Many D ~ Common E


ObverseReverseDescription

By courtesy of Mr. Dy


By courtesy of Mr. Dy

No. 383
Diam.
unknown mm
Fineness.
Unknown
Wt. unknown
Rareness A
ObverseReverseDescription

By courtesy of Mr. Zhang


By courtesy of Mr. Zhang

No. 384
Diam.
31 mm
Fineness.
86%
Wt. 11.7 g.
Rareness A
Mint Evolution and Peculiarity

Below is information from Chinese Currency by Mr. Fredrik Schjoth

"About 1907 AD, Yun-nan issued a competing "Silver coin"......almost duplicating the rupee's. In place of Victoria, the profile supposedly is that of Tsen Yu-ing, Governor of Yun-nan"

“在公元1907年,雲南鑄出了一枚和印度盧比競爭的銀幣,這枚銀幣幾乎和印度盧比完全一樣"......只是在維多利亞女皇肖像處,卻用了雲南的總督岑毓英代替"

The silver "Victoria Queen" India rupee (an aprox half-dollar size coin, firt issued by English East India Company, later by Indian authorities) for over half a century was the most popular silver coin in China's large southwestern provinces, Yun-nan and Sze-chuen, and in Tibet.

帶有維多利亞女王肖像的印度盧比,其大小和半美元硬幣差不多,此幣最先由英國東印度公司鑄造,隨後授權印度當局鑄造,印度盧比鑄期超過半世紀,當時流用於中國西南部各省,如雲南、四川和西藏。



Another piece of information about the Yunnan Rupee
另一則有關雲南盧比訊息:

from: p512, An overview of China's gold & silver coins of past ages - the gold and silver coins and medals of modern China:

The Rupee silver coin bearing Yunnan image 雲南人像盧比 :

This silver coin was trial-minted in 1907, or the 33rd year of the reign of Emperor Guang Xu of the Qing Dynasty, to show Yunnan people's resistant sentiments against the infiltration of the British Indian repees. Minted after the rupee's form, the coin's obverse bears, more or less, the half-length profile image of Emperor Guang Xu in the centre, but some people alleged it bore the likeness of Cen Yuying, the then Governor of Yunnan. Around the image were inscribed in English with Chinese translation the words "Yunnan Province". In the centre of the reverse are the English words with Chinese translation "1 Rupee Coin", surrounded with decorative patterns.

清光緒三十三年(1907)年,云南為抵制英屬印度盧比侵淫試鑄此幣。形制沿仿英屬印度盧比。正面中央半身側面人像有說是光緒皇帝像,亦有說為時任云南都督岑毓英像,左右分鑴英文漢譯 "云南省"。背面中央鑴英文漢譯"一盧比硬幣"四圍鑴裝飾花紋。

Mint Evolution and Peculiarity


Below information from p41 of A history of Chinese Currency

Sichuan silver coins. The Chengdu Mint began minting the Long Yang silver coins in the 24th year of the Guang Xu reign, and also the Sichuan Rupee to boycott the Indian Rupee then in circulation in Sichuan. The sichuan Rupee had on its obverse the half-length portrait of Emperor Guang Xu. It was China's earliest coin that carried the portrait of an emperor.
I think the Sichuan Rupee should be first minted in (1905AD) 31st year of the Guang Xu reign. - Y K Leung

資訊來自︰雲南歷史貨幣,260頁,圖版部分

光緒像銀幣 (四川盧比)。光緒二十八年 (1902年) 四川省造。直徑3.07厘米,厚0.2厘米。重11.4克。成色85%
光緒二十八年 (1902年) 應是開鑄盧關銀幣。Y K Leung

As I know that 錫良 "Hsi Liang" took over the 四川總督 Governor General of Szechuan Province in 1903 and 趙爾豐 "Chao I-Feng" who followed "Hsi Liang" as 永寧道台Yung Ning Tao T'ai in 1903 and to be the 建昌道台 Kien Chang Tao T'ai in 1905. It is impossible that they would mint the coins before they had reached Szechuan Province. 劉廷恕 "Liu Ting Shu", 打箭爐同知 Sub-Prefect of "Ta Chien LU" (今四川康定 now K'ang Ting district), who minted 爐關 "Lu Kuang" silver coins in order to boycott the foreign coins in Szechuan Province in 1901. This may be misunderstood that Szechuen Rupee was first minted in 1902.
第659頁,中國歷史便覽 (p. 659 Zhong Guo Lish Bianlan)
An Overview of China's Gold & Silver Coins of Past Ages, p.467-p.470






More about Szechuan Rupee

More about Tibetan Coinage
Tibetan Coinage IV - The Miscellaneous Tangkas


More about Tibetan Coinage
Tibetan Coinage II - The Kong-par Tangka Coins


More about K'ang Ting Rupee
The Red Face Rupee


More about Tibetan Coinage
The Nepalese and Tibetan Coinage in Qing Dynasty


Paper Money issued by Tibetan Regional Government
with Secret Security Text


Some of My Spare Tibetan Coins




    Bibliography

  1. 張作耀:第659頁,中國歷史便覽 (Zhong Guo Lish Bianlan),人民出版社。ISBN f-01-000308-4 /k-53
  2. 姜宏業 : 中國地方銀行史,湖南出版社。1991 p.1005; p.1041; p.1056 and p.1070
  3. Dong Wenchao : An Overview of China's Gold & Silver Coins of Past Ages - the Gold and Silver coins and Medals of Modern China, p.467-p.470, ISBN: 962-531-0001-0
  4. A History of Chinese Currency (16th Century BC - 20th Century AD), 1983 Jointly Published by Xinhua (New China) Publishing House N.C.N. Limited M.A.O. Management Group Ltd. p.41 ISBN 962 7094 01 3
  5. Pang Hsin Wei : The Currency History of China, 1988. p.799 ISBN7-208-00196-0/K.47
  6. 湯國彥等︰雲南歷史貨幣,第260頁 云南人民出版社; p260, The Historical Currencies of Yunnan
  7. 張惠信︰中國貨幣史話目錄,第328頁






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