Inscriptions: Si Ju Ser [Purity of 100%] Jiang Yuan Ji
[Silversmith Yuan Ji] Yuan Dimensions: 71 (L) x 44 (W) x 48 (H) mm Weight: 368 g (10 taels)
The shown silver was made as of the last few years of Ching dynasty, in
the shape of Yuan Bao (boat or shoe), weighed as 10 taels. It was also known
as a typical sycee currency of Chili, the province where Chingís capital
city Beijing seated.
During the time, there were 26 silver shops in Beijing who were
permitted by the government for sycee-casting and some traditional banking
business. In the 32nd year of Kuang Hsu (1906, 1875-1908), with respect to
control and unify the purity of silver circulated in this area, leaders of
the Beijing silver shops proposed to the officials for allowing them to set
up public assaying bureaus. Such proposal was then approved immediately.
Hence, any newly issued silver, including those came from other
provinces which would be melted and recast according to Chiliís regional
shape, weight and purity standard, would have to be assayed by the bureaus.
The panel of Si Ju Ser in the shown silver, is an assayerís chop, which
indicates the assayed silver has been qualified by an assayer as pure
silver. Even though, however, the silver were known by then as only in a
less purity of 99.2%.
In Chili, normally, an assayer was not requested to inscribe his
name on the assayed silver while examining silver, but find some of the
silver still can be found so inscribed, such as the chop of Yuan on the
shown silver, it was a secret code representing for a specific assayer.
The bottom of the shown silver was deeply cut for twice, for a
bearer might have suspicion about it could be stuffed inside with lead or
some other cheap metals.
Chili was reported lapsing making such silver in 1914, when silver
coins came to take its place.