Author Topic: Mysterious enameled cash  (Read 73 times)

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Offline otlichnik

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Mysterious enameled cash
« on: November 26, 2020, 10:16:29 PM »
Circa 2008 I bought a string of 100 cash coins in Beijing.  They were generally undersized cash and included a few that were Vietnamese.  Almost forty of the hundred had been decorated.

The decoration consists of a red paste or enamel applied to the obverse.  The enamel fills in the fields and is level with the outer rim.  The enamel varies from pink to dark red today but was probably once uniformly crimson.

The back of many of these coins had a thick hard white paste that i believe was some sort of glue.

Photo 1: 25 of these coins showing the variety.

Photo 2: clover view of five of these coins.

Photo 3: close-up of one showing enamel, including large chip.

Photo 4: close-up of another showing minor chips.

Photo 5: thick white glue on reverse of two.

I have been unable to find much information about this practice.  When does it date too?  I assume it was done privately.  Any relationship to Chinese New Year?


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Mysterious enameled cash
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2020, 08:39:40 AM »
Red is traditionally the colour of the emperor, therefore a colour that brings good luck. A Chinese temple will typically have loads of red pillars and dragons (another attribute of the emperor). Monetary gifts are presented in red enveloppes. Cash coins are symbols of wealth, which is part of the traditional wish "health, wealth and happiness".

I suppose the coloured coins were once together as a decoration, e.g. pasted on cardboard in a shape suggesting a red dragon. Such a decoration may have been fixed in a dwelling, hotel or restaurant, or it may have been temporary, e.g. at a wedding ceremony or used intermittently, such as indeed a Chinese new year celebration. There is no way to tell when or why it was made. Even the closing date of the string carries no information, as the string is likely to have been cobbled together from several sources.

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