Four crude Chinese characters - Kai Yuan Tong Bao ("Inaugural currency", taken from the earlier Tang dynasty coins) / Chinese characters Bao (="Currency") above and below the hole. 22mm, 3.01 grams. Issued in 917-971 AD. Schjoth #-; Hartill 15.118 var. SKU T764-37876
Not listed in Hartill with "Bao" only (without the digit 1-4). Even though it is not listed, this type is well-known.
In 917 AD, Liu Yan proclaimed himself an Emperor of the Southern Han dynasty, and set up his capital in Canton, which he renamed Xingwangfu. Pieces of very crude manufacture like this one were struck with wooden dies in lead. They are probably a product of a temporary local mint in one of the local towns, not the central mints. Southern Han was a kingdom that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907-960) along Chinas southern coast from 917 to 971. The Kingdom greatly expanded her capital city Hing Wong Fu, namely present-day Guangzhou. The Five Dynasties ended in 960 when the Song Dynasty was founded to replace the Later Zhou Dynasty. Through the 960s and 970s, the Song increased its influence in the south until finally it was able to force the Southern Han dynasty to submit to its rule in 971. The coinage produced by the Southern Hans is quite unique - the main coinage was lead, with 1 lead cash fixed in value as 1/100th of a copper cash. The circulation of the lead coins was restricted to towns (even nowadays, these lead coins are found mainly in large towns, most commonly in Guangzhou) while the copper coins are found in the countryside. Many types of these lead coins are known. The coins are all scarce to very rare, with most of them surviving in low quality because of the hot wet climate of the regions. Pieces in high quality such as this one are always rare. We are happy to offer a nice little collection of high quality and hard-to-find pieces.
This coin is unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic