Chinese charms
with Northern Song dynasty legends

Vladimir Belyaev
December 03, 2000

D: 23.7 mm    W: 1.3 g

D: 24.7 mm    W: 1.7 g

D: 24.3 mm    W: 2.4 g

D: 24.8 mm    W: 3.0 g
  Da Guan Tong Bao
  Da Guan - the reign title (1107-1110 AD) of the Northern Song dynasty.

Reverse: different ornamental pictures - sun, moon, Ursa Major constellation, branches of a plant.

        I have about 40 interesting charms with the Northern Song dynasty legends. All charms from this set have next common characteristics:

  • very accurate calligraphy on obverse, exactly as on the real coins. Let compare the obverse legend of two charms shown below (Xi Ning Zhong Bao and Zheng He Tong Bao) with exactly same coins published in [1].
  • reverse usually have very poor design. In some cases reverse even is made without any rim.
  • metal of charms is copper and very similar to real Northern Song copper coins.
  • weight of the charm is usually less than the weight of the real analogical coin. For example average weight of the 1 Cash Da Guan Tong Bao coin is 3.8 g (measured on 31 pieces from [1]). Let compare it with the weight of above charms.
  • almost all charms have light green patina, which looks as 'unreal'.
  • porous and very porous surface of all charms.
On the base of above notes I can suppose that charms from this 'Northerh Song' serie not long ago were made from real Song coins metal and with usage of real coins (or even 'mother' coins) to made obverse design.

D: 31.8 mm    W: 6.4 g

D: 32.1 mm    W: 8.8 g
N508 [1]

D: 28.6 mm    W: 5.6 g

D: 28.9 mm    W: 7.5 g
N1562 [1]

1. 'Coins in the collection of the Shanghai Museum. Coins of the Song, Liao, Jin and Western Xia dynasties.', Shanghai, 1994

Gilbert Tan, 04-Dec-2000:
    The 4 Da Guan charms look like recent productions!
    The Xi Ning looks like a recent recast on the reverse and the Zheng He looks like the back was carved out!
    All 6 coins are suspicious but the bottom 2 look a little nicer.

Chinese Coinage Web Site