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The Five Ancient Chinese Notes from Tang to Ming Dynasty


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Tang Dynasty 30 Kuan 860-874




Southern Sung Dynasty 20 Taels 1275-1276




Yuan Dynasty 4 Kuan 1330-1332




Ming Dynasty 10 Kuan 1403-1425




Ming Dynasty 1 Kuan 1643





I bought these notes recently in a private sale. With no previous sales record available as a guide, I basically pulled a number off my head to make an offer and was accepted. What you think about the notes? In your opinion, how much do you think are they worth?

Read the story on my blog http://nutmegcollector.blogspot.com/2010/10/story-of-five-ancient-chinese-notes.html

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Wow Just Wow! I have no idea of the price... couldn't even guess.


But I did read your write up on them in your blog through the link, and given the fact that there is that history of ownership of these notes, and their history through just those people, I would imagine a rather decent price could be obtained. These notes - even though there is that "Consensus", have a nice history to them and would add immensely to any collection.


Congrats on the purchase of these! :bthumbsup:

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I bought one of the Ming Dynasty notes a few years ago, but no longer own it - I gave it as a gift.


I am not sure about the Tang Dynasty note, I will have to dig out my LFK auction catalogues, I remember seeing something very similar in the last couple of years, but it was pulled before the auction commenced.

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I do not collect these notes, as I could never afford genuine notes and I think they should be in a museum, not in private hands. My collecting interests begin only in Quing dynasty…So I have no personal knowledge about these notes…As nutmegcollector writes in his blog, these notes are not genuine…they were –with the exception of the last note which seems to be younger- all produced after the model of the well known Ming note during the 19th century…


In all Chinese books that deal with these early issues it is said that not a single Tang and Song note survived….


There are a few yuan notes, I saw some in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and in the Shanghai Museum, they look quite different from the one pictured here… In the Chinese book "Shanghai bowuguan cangpin yanjiu daxi" (上海博物館藏品研究大系) all known notes of yuan and ming dynasty are listed, but there is no yuan 4 guan (=kuan) note listed!


According to the said book there is no known genuine 10 guan (=kuan) note of the Ming dynasty…


I have before me some pictures of notes produced from still existing printing plates in several museums. These notes all look quite different…


The last note is said to be younger. It is said –but I am not sure about this- that it was produced by a well kown dealer and forgerer of Chinese notes, in Hongkong, who died many years ago (I know his name). At least it is true that years ago this gentleman sold me one of these notes for around 5 dollars, telling me that it was a forgery…and he had quite a few of them…



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You're right. None of the Tang and Song notes survived. Any appearance of such notes is automatically subjected to suspicion. Denominations not listed in dynastic records are also a give away that the notes are not real.


To set the record straight, the first four note are based on the 1832 Chinese numismatic catalog 泉布统誌, Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih. The last note is copied from a facsimile drawing of such a note from a book, General History of China, published in French in 1736 by P. Du Halde.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the updates, Nutmegcollector!


I really like these notes. WHile they are fakes, they do have their own history and, from their own perspective, they illustrate the countrtfeiting aspect of Chinese history that seems to have been pervasive and is still going strong. These particular notes, though counterfeit, are an important stepping stone to understanding and learning about ancient Chinese banknotes that perhaps not everyone will appreciate. While it would be unfortunate to have spent much on them expecting them to be real, they should command a premium based on their individual history and their role in uncovering banknote history. Rather like when the Germans counterfeited the British white 5-ers in WWII. Fake, yes, but still worth a bit nonetheless.

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I wouldn't touch those with a 39.5 foot pole.


lol now i cant get that song out of my head now


I did that a few weeks ago. Christmas is just around the corner!

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