Four Chinese characters - Canh Hung Thong Bao (seal script, Vietnamese reading) / blank. 25mm, 3.21 grams. Issued 1740-1753. Hartill -; Krause KM 52; Vietnamese Coins (2002) #190-191.
Large early issue.
The coins of the Vietnamese Kings imitated Chinese coins. The official issues were often heavier than the Chinese coins and with somewhat cruder calligraphy. Many local imitative issues circulated along with the official coins. This large copper coin is an official issue coin. The Later Lê Dynasty, sometimes referred to as the Lê Dynasty (the earlier Lê Dynasty ruled only for a brief period) was the longest-ruling dynasty of Vietnam, ruling the country from 1428 to 1788, with a brief interruption. The dynasty officially began in 1428 with the coronation of Lê Loi after he drove the Ming army from Vietnam. In 1527, the Ma-.c Dynasty usurped the throne; when the Lê Dynasty was restored in 1533, they still had to compete for power with the Ma-.c Dynasty during the period known as Southern and Northern Dynasties. The restored Lê emperors held no real power, and by the time the Mac Dynasty was confined to only a small area in 1592 and finally eradicated in 1677, actual power was in the hands of the Nguyen Lords in the South and the Trinh Lords in the North, both ruling in the name of the Lê emperor while fighting each other. Their rule officially ended in 1788, when the peasant uprising of the Tây Son brothers defeated both the Trinh and the Nguyen, ironically in order to restore power to the Lê Dynasty.