Author Topic: China, Yung Cheng, Shansi, three types  (Read 1017 times)

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Offline bgriff99

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China, Yung Cheng, Shansi, three types
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:35:23 AM »
At the outset of Yung Cheng (1723-35) the cash size was made uniform at 1.4 mace.    In mid-reign casting was ordered to begin in most provinces, using scrap copper if necessary.   

Shansi Province, in northwest-central China, was ordered to begin casting in 1729.   That year the style had been changed, including from a one-dot to a two-dot tung.   The mint operated from 1729-31, then closed.   It was reopened in the final year of the reign when the style had again been changed, and the weight reduced to 1.2 mace.   Casting continued into the first year of Chien Lung, then was stopped.

There are somewhat rare one-dot tung pieces, which Burger attributed to 1727 based on style, saying the mint must have opened earlier.   He hews to his premise of fully coordinated yearly style changes, suggesting an intermediate 1728 piece should exist.   But still nobody has shown any but that one exact variety of one-dot tung.   So probably they simply copied an in-hand Board of Revenue cash, before they were given a pattern to use.    That situation was common.

These three pieces should then be from 1729, 1730, and 1735.   Regulation alloy is brass at 50% zinc, no tin or lead.   I would venture that was the amounts to be melted together, which allowing for zinc boil off would yield a rather better 57% copper.   British museum tests of other Yung Cheng cash find typically 62% copper, which is just what the color of these 3 pieces indicate.   

Offline Figleaf

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Re: China, Yung Cheng, Shansi, three types
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2015, 10:40:07 AM »
I assume you are talking about the dots or strokes to the left of the right character. As an absolute beginner, I wonder how you determine the chronological order of these changes, let alone assign a specific date to them.

Another point is the weight difference of only 2 candareen between these coins. That is about 0.7 grams for a mass-produced article, a drop of metal only. Are these just hollow words from an imperial decree or do they apply to large batches of coins weighed together or to individual coins?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bgriff99

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Re: China, Yung Cheng, Shansi, three types
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 12:04:42 PM »
Yes, the dots in the tung radical means the right side character.

The chronological order was worked out and published, in a full chart of all mints and branches, all years, for Shun-chih through Yung-cheng by Werner Burger in 1976.   Yung Cheng being a short reign with good continuity into the one following it, is straightforward to work out.   It also has very good records of coinage matters and orders.

Research of Hartill's led us to fix problems of Burger in Yung Cheng, plus I've gone farther.   Hartill's forte, which I can do almost nothing of, is document research.   My gig is the hard looking at the coins, with no ulterior agenda of needing to break things into types amenable to becoming catalog numbers.   I like and use by-date organization, while David doesn't think it is valid.   It is not consistently usable.   Burger is still very valuable as he did have an enormous quantity of coins to base his charts on, and he shows them.   A far deeper collection than mine in almost every sector.   For Shansi he found 3 more discernibly different specimens, one each, of the 1.4 mace type, and one of the 1.2 mace type.

The weights of Yung Cheng coins are complicated.   Burger flatly states "there are no underweight Yung-cheng cash."   But that is far from so, and he must have known he was glossing things over.   Yunnan cash of the first year are actually overweight, but after that, most of the reign were not cast at a full regulation 1.4 mace.    Of these three from Shansi, they are remarkably close (also in diameters); from 1.13 to 1.15 mace.   The earliest of course has sustained some good wear, but clearly they were shooting for more like 1.25 mace to start.    In 1725-26 Linan, in Yunnan province was the designated export mint, and cast to standards of 1.4, 1.2, and 1.0 mace simultaneously (my findings on hundreds of Yunnan pieces).   Chekiang clearly cast to two standards.   We can't know, since none of that was officially recorded, whether it was done on local contrivance (aka "mint forgeries") or legitimately.