Four Chinese characters - Hong Duc Thong Bao (Vietnamese reading, claw "bao", large characters) / Blank. 25mm, 4.49 grams. Issued 1470-1497. Hartill 25.17.
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.
Lê Thánh Tông (ruled 1460-1497) was the most prominent of all the Lê rulers and one of the greatest Emperors in Vietnamese history. His rule was one of the high points in the history of Vietnam and was referred to as the time of a "Flood of Virtue" and the Vietnamese Hammurabi. He instituted a wide range of government reforms, legal reforms, and land reforms. He restarted the examination system for selecting men for important government positions. He reduced the power of the noble families and reduced the degree of corruption in the government. He built temples to Confucius throughout the provinces of Vietnam. In nearly all respects, his reforms mirrored those of the Song Dynasty.He led a large and effective army against the Champa which succeeded in conquering the Cham capital and ended the power of the Champa forever. He created a new province out of former Champa land and allowed settlers to go to the new land.