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Hsing Ch'ao T'ung Pao

The Peasant Rebel Anmy Coinage

I post below is an email received from MR. C. Sachjen of U.S.A. on 07 May 2000.
The email is self-explanatory.

Subject: Chinese Numismatics
Date: Sun, 07 May 2000 17:43:25 -0400

Could you please assist me in identifying this coin?
All I know is that it is a 1 Fen and was issued under Tsing-Tao (?).
Just click once on the address and your browser will open up the picture.
Thanks in advance for your help.



C. Sachjen

In the late Ming Dynasty, many peasant rebel armies cast their own currencies to consolidate their political power and support to market needs. After the death of Chang Hsien Chung 張獻忠 who declared himself king in Chengdu of Szechuan in 1644, [Ta Shun T'ung Pao was cast by Chang in 1644.] his adopted son, Sun K'e Wang 孫可望 took charge of the rebel armies [Ta Hsi Chun, the big western army.大西軍] and led the armies into Yunnan Province. Sun Ko Wong declared himself as Tung Ping Wang 東平王 and cast "Hsing Ch'ao T'ung Pao" 興朝通寶 in three denominations, including one cash, Wu-li [five cash] and I-fen [one candareen] in 1647. Sun K'e Wang had trouble with Li Ting Kuo, 李定國 another adopted son of Chang Hsien Chung. Jealous of Li's success in military, Sun could not co-operate with Li to against Qing Government. Sun tried to detract Li Ting Kuo. In 1657, Sun was defeated by Li Ting Kuo. Sun was disappointed in all his hopes, and he surrendered to Qing Government in Changsha with his remained 400 followers in 1657. He was died in Peking in 1660.

If you know anything or If you want to share your knowledge and enthusism in this hobby, feel free to drop me a line. Thank you in advance. YKL

Thanks indeed! YKL

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

There is a very interesting legend about "Hsing Ch'ao T'ung Pao" cash in Chinese numismatic history. When Sun K'e Wang entered Yunnan Province with his army, he found that there was a very big copper cow of weighed more than ten thousand catties in Tung Kuo 東廓 of Yunnan Province. [one catty = 0.5 kilogram]. The big copper cow was just suitable for melting down to cast cash to pay to his army.

Although the use of shells as media of exchange had lasted more than two thousand years in Yunnan province, when the peasant rebel armies of Sun K'e Wang 孫可望 entered Yunnan province in 1647, shells were forbidden using as legal tender again. People used copper cash instead of shells.

On the obverse of this cash is the legend of "Hsing Ch'ao T'ung Pao" in direct reading or symmetric reading. Hsing Ch'ao T'ung Pao cash were issued in three values, one cash, five cash and ten cash. The five-cash one has on the reverse the Chinese characters Wu-li 五厘 [means five hundred part of a tael, indicating the value of silver] This cash is one candareen cash bearing on the reverse are Chinese characters I-fen 壹分 [means a hundred part of a tael, indicating the value of silver.] Chinese cash of these types are known as Ch'uen Yin Ch'ien 權銀錢 "Hsing Ch'ao T'ung Pao" is not rare coin, and is worth about US$8-10 in very fine condition.


  1. Ting Fu Pao:古錢大辭典,中華書局。(A dictionary of ancient Chinese coins.) 1982.
  2. Pang Hsin Wei:中國貨幣史,上海人民出版社。(The Currency History of China.), 1988. ISBN7-208-00196-0/K.47

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

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