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An Interesting Chinese Bank Note
[ An Beautiful Misunderstanding from London ]

The use of money in China could be traced back to at least four thousand years ago. China was also the first country to use paper money, or credit currency in the world. Ancient paper money can only be described in general terms for lack of material objects. About the Pai-Lu P'i-pi (white deer-skin money) of Han Dynasty and the Fei-Chien (flying money) of Tang Dynasty, I personally have never seen the actual objects. However, the official issuing of paper money in Sung Dynasty is famous in the field of numismatic. [Chiao-Tzu (1008AD) and Chien-Yin (1105AD) of Northern Sung and Hui-Tzu (1160AD) and Kuan-Tzu (1131AD) of Southern Sung]. The use of paper moneys went on through the Yuan and Ming as well as the end of the Qing Dynasty. Paper money played its important roles in different stages of the money history of China.

I post below is an email from Mr. R. M. of London, UK. He recently purchased what he believed to be a promissory note in China. I received this email on 31st March 2010. The email is self-explanatory

Subject: Chinese Bank Note
Date:31st March Thursday 5:25am
From: "R.M.

I recently purchased what I believe to be a promissory note in China (see attached image). The note appears to be on true parchment paper (some type of animal skin).

The left side literally translates as, “This is the real thing including back and forth.”
The right side possibly identifies the issuing company as Sky Long and goes on to say “This is retail and real gold.” The concept seems similar to the use of “flying money” allowing commerce between distant cities and provinces in China .

It is also possible the term Sky Long relates to the region of issue rather than a company making the promise to pay. I am told Sky Long translates to "Tianchang" and appeared between 618 to 907 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty. Evidently, the use of "Gold" ink/print was extremely popular during Tang Dynasty. I am not sure if it is the "flying money" but it is possibly from Tang Dynasty.

Have you come across anything similar to this? Would be grateful for any information you can provide.



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

An Interesting Bank Note

Mint Evolution & Peculiarity


There are not date, amount and signature on it. Only 16 Chinese characters written at the both sides.


Above are 16 Chinese characters in regular script (kaishu) written on the 'bank note'.
The Chinese script means : When you are shopping in Tien-Chang-Chiu Company, you have to pay cash. Our goods are genuine and the price is fixed. I believe you would satisfy with our goods and you would come back again.

I do not agree with Mr. R.M. that this is a Chinese bank note, but a Chinese wrapping paper.
I wonder this may be someone has played a joke on Mr. P.M. for the April fool's day.
I must point out that the calligraphy of the above script is very beautiful. ykl


  1. 吳籌中:中國紙幣研究 上海古籍出版社 一九九八年 ISBN 7-5325-2355-1
  2. 王雷鳴:歷代食貨志注釋第四冊 農業出版社 一九九一年 ISBN 7-109-00394-9/S.290
  3. 趙隆業:中國紙幣的收藏與鑒別研究 北京出版社 一九九九年 ISBN 7-200-03204-2/F.208
  4. 戴建兵 盛觀熙:中國歷代錢幣通 人民郵電出版社 一九九九年 ISBN 7-115-07426-7/g.561
  5. 中國歷代貨幣(英文版)中國國際圖書貿易總公司發行 一九八三年 ISBN 962 7094 01 3
  6. Albert Pick : Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 7th Edition-Volume II

Home Page New Data Chronology Cast Coins Struck Coins Paper Money Links/Reference
Any additional comment would be much appreciated, you can send it to Y K Leung.