The design of the Chinese coin, with its square middle, was so that one could string the coins together to create higher denominations. Something was frequently due to the coin’s low value. The number of coins in a string of cash varied from place to place. However, it was normally 100 coins, which made 1,000 in a bundle of ten, equivalent to one table of pure silver.
Ancient Chinese coins carried more significance than monetary value as the currency of various dynasties. It has been produced continuously for 2,500 years since the Zhou period in 350 BC. With each change of dynasty, as well as each new emperor, Chinese coins underwent subtle design changes apart from round coins, such as “knife coins” and “spade coins”, which eventually died out during the Zhou Dynasty and Xin Dynasty, respectively.
Before the appearance of ancient coinage in China, the Chinese had a system of bartering, trading whatever they had for whatever they wanted. However, this system became less and less with the introduction of money in the form of coins. The first round coin was made of bronze, and all coins had the same value. Over time, they fashioned alloys using metals such as tin, lead, and, above all, copper.
With the founding of the Xin Dynasty (9-23 AD), its ruler, Wang Meng, introduced currency reform whereby copper coins were made in different designs and sizes to signify various denominations. The smallest, Xiao Quan Zhi Yi, had a value of one; Yao Quan Yi Shi had a value of 10; and Zhong Quan San Shi had a value of 30.
The desperate and criminals resorted to counterfeiting as a form of livelihood with the full implementation of coinage and the dining out of battering. During the Tang Dynasty, minting and copper extraction were controlled by the government, and private casting was punished by law. After the Tang Dynasty collapsed, an edict in the year 955 banned the holding of bronze utensils.
From now on, expect to see court objects, weapons, official objects, mirrors, cymbals, bells, and chimes in temples and monasteries. All other bronze utensils are banned. Those hoards were more than 5 min, no matter how much they were executed. Those around them will suffer 100 strokes of the cane. Informers are rewarded with 30 strings of cash.
Today, ancient Chinese coins are held in high regard as historical artifacts of immense cultural value. Feng Shui practices dictate that coins are placed in threes or multiples of threes to attract wealth and growth. The coins represent prosperity, abundance, and good fortune because, in ancient times, they were worn as amulets to protect against disease, evil, and negative energy.