Rare ancient Xi Jin Wu Zhu cash, Western Jin, cast 265-316 AD, China (G/F#6.1)

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Two Chinese characters Wu Zhu (=5 zhus), inside and outside rim / Blank, inside and outside rim. 22mm, 2.05 grams. Hartill #10.10 (attributed to Shu Han); Gratzer/Fishman "One Thousand Years of Wu Zhu coinage" #6.1. SKU DD209-37874.

These unique-looking Wu Zhus were in the past attributed to the Shu Han Kingdom of the “Three Kingdoms” period. Now they are given to the Western Jin. The erroneous attribution of these coins originally arose from the difficulty in distinguishing between the tombs of the Shu Han and those of the Western Jin. These coins, found in those tombs, were incorrectly assigned to the Shu Han Kingdom from the “Three Kingdoms” period. This erroneous attribution still persists in many modern books that are based on the older Chinese catalogues. However, since the early 1990s, the tombs where these coins were found and the coins themselves were reassigned to the Western Jin with a high degree of certainty, and the post-1991 Chinese catalogs attribute these coins to the Western Jin. The coins are also known as Xi Jin Shu Qian (“Western Jin Shu coins”), where “Shu” is the name of the ancient province (now Sichuan) and should not be confused with the Shu Kingdom of the “Three Kingdoms.” The dating of these coins is difficult; they circulated in the early Western Jin period, but it is not known when the casting ended. They have a compact and characteristic look to them, always with prominent inner and outer rims on both sides, and they are usually easy to identify.

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