Coins of the Song dynasty are very popular with the collectors - numerous varieties bearing the era or period names were cast in various attractive calligraphies, providing a fertile field for a modern collector.
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as first discernment of true north using a compass. The Song Dynasty is divided into two distinct periods: the Northern Song and Southern Song. During the Northern Song, the Song capital was in the northern city of Bianjing (now Kaifeng) and the dynasty controlled most of inner China. The Southern Song refers to the period after the Song lost control of northern China to the Jin Dynasty. During this time, the Song court retreated south of the Yangtze River and established their capital at Linan (now Hangzhou). Although the Song Dynasty had lost control of the traditional birthplace of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River, the Song economy was not in ruins, as the Southern Song Empire contained 60 percent of population of China and a majority of the most productive agricultural land. The Southern Song synasty was conquered by the Mongols led by the famous Kublai Khan in 1279.