Author Topic: Vietnam Le Dynasty semi-official trade, or tribute (?) cash  (Read 1190 times)

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Offline bgriff99

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Vietnam Le Dynasty semi-official trade, or tribute (?) cash
« on: February 13, 2015, 08:10:22 AM »
Vietnamese private cash come in stylistic groups, which are thought to each have a common origin.   For the later Le and Mac Dynasties there are several such groups which strongly resemble official coins.   In this period China issued very few cash.   Some of these private cash use the Ming reign title Hsuan Te, of 1426-1435.   Such pieces are regarded by Vietnamese numismatists to be tribute coins, which would be sent periodically to the Emperor along with other gifts, by a group of envoys.

But if one from such a group is a tribute cash, they probably all are, or at least part of their overall production.   One such group is called "bird claw Cheng Lung hand", which refers to its naming coin.   That is originally a Chinese Chin Dynasty issue.    Then there are six Vietnamese Le reigns represented, one Sung, one Tang, and one which was used by both China and the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty (I don't have it).   The newer Vietnamese reigns, and the coin styles bracket 1454-1516.   The latest is Hong Thuan 1510-16.    The extant varieties indicate a minimum of two issues of such cash.   Following the Ming Hsuan Te issues, there were no more Chinese cash made until 1503.

So the possible picture is that a tribute mix included the current Le reign, several past ones, the last Ming issue which was not current, one each Chin, Sung, and Tang, plus a rarer two-for-one.    The size of all is 24mm, and weights are about 3.6g, indicating the standard cash size of 1.0 mace.   Their quantity suggests they were probably trade coins.   Official Le cash are larger, heavier, more intricately detailed, but otherwise barely distinguishable from these.   Because of the size of the enterprise needed to produce and distribute them, and prohibitions against counterfeiting, there is little doubt these are officially sanctioned.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Vietnam Le Dynasty semi-official trade, or tribute (?) cash
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 10:56:58 AM »
Very intersting insight and backgroundstory into a subject i do not know a thing about, but i enjoyed your writeup, thanks !
The specimen you show all have an attractive contrasting patina. I never saw the bright blue corrosion though. Any idea what is the nature of this ?

Offline bgriff99

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Re: Vietnam Le Dynasty semi-official trade, or tribute (?) cash
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 11:06:11 PM »

The specimen you show all have an attractive contrasting patina. I never saw the bright blue corrosion though. Any idea what is the nature of this ?
This is one to ask Gordian (Pavel Kartashov) the mineralogist and coin metal analyzer at Zeno, to be certain.   Basically, the usual bluish green patina is malachite Cu2(CO3)(OH)2, while the deep purplish blue is Azurite Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2.    Just a different oxidation state of the copper.   There is also the green mineral pseudomalachite, with phosphate instead of carbonate, and paler blue chrysocolla, a copper-aluminum silicate.

These coins have colors in the mineralization that look to me like they have a lot of impurities from the copper.   Despite what sometimes looks like rust, none show magnetism.   Vietnamese mined copper is extremely low in iron, but loaded with arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, antimony and sometimes nickel.   The orange-yellow tones can be compounds of arsenic or cadmium.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 05:57:51 AM by bgriff99 »

Offline THCoins

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Re: Vietnam Le Dynasty semi-official trade, or tribute (?) cash
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2015, 01:01:22 PM »
That's a real exotic mix of elements. Gives the end result a very distinctive character though.