Actual size 86.9 x 11.3 x 5.0 mm
Bamboo Banknotes: wooden "tallies," probably issued by small banks instead
of paper money, may be in Shanghai at the beginning of XXth Century.
Message from Francois Thierry, Chief-curator
of Oriental Coins, Cabinet des Medailles,
Bibliotheque nationale de France (02-Mar-00):
The bamboo tally is not a note, not currency. All
the bamboo notes (I personnaly have now made a catalogue of more than 300
different types that probably will be published in one year, with Ms. Helen
Wang and Mr.Yu Jun) have their facial value on the bamboo: some in
"zhiqian" (cash coins), some in "tongyuan" (copper ten cash coins) and some
others in "yang" (foreign silver), or in "jiao" (cents).
All bamboo tallies
are not currency, the most part are countermarks, shop sticks, restaurants
marks (In 1986 in Suzhou, I use that type of bamboo : you paid in money at
the out-desk for a soup or for dumplings, the girl give you a bamboo tally
with the inscription (name of restaurant and type of dishes) and with this
tally you go to the inside desk and the chef give you the bowl in exchange
of the tally. But now this practice is over and replaced by Mac Donalds and
We should consider as currency only bamboo tallies with
facial value in count unity (cash, yuan, tongyuan, etc...), with name of
issuer (bank or shop), and additionnaly we can find local name (city,
county, street...), the date and some time condition of use.
Message from Leung, Sam (30-Jun-99) :
I have different opinion on the page of bamboo banknote. The stick does not
seem to be a banknote for the following reasons:
I believe that this stick is a type of tally system. In the old days, 50
years ago and before, when a coolie delivered a sack of rice from the boat
to the warehouse, the
warehouse would give the coolie a stick to carry back to the boat. Later on,
the boat owner could pay the coolie and charge the warehouse for the number
of sacks. This
tallying system was commonly use in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
- It does not have a denomination, which is very important in the Chinese
- The name Liang Ji was engraved on the stick. There is no indication that
Liang Ji is a bank.
- The engraving is not precise enough to avoid counterfeiting.
- The stick is too large to be conveniently carried or concealed.
- There is no documentation that, in the past millennium, the Chinese use
wood or bamboo as money exchange medium. The Chinese font and style seem to
be a recent
- I cannot read the centre of the first picture. The second picture centre
is He Li Seng Chai which means to combine profit (or benefit) to make more
money. This slogan
is commonly used in the market place rather than in a bank. Chinese banks
usually use the slogans such as honesty, secure, guarantee, etc. I have
never seen a bank
indicating "I will use your money to make my money."
Any additional comments on that item would be appreciated.
You can sent it to Vladimir Belyaev .