Korean Coin - Button

Vladimir Belyaev
July 01, 1998
Diameter: 28-30 mm
Weight: 6.4 g
Obverse: Sang Pyong Tong Bo
Reverse: top Kyong, right Su, left I - 'two'

Shown piece is value 2 Korean coin Sang Pyong Tong Bo, issued by Kyonggi provincional office in 1742-1752. Coin treated, as I think, for using as button.

Message from Don Pfeifer, 02-Jan-99:
1) Traditional Korean clothes do not have buttons. It is extremely unlikely that this coin was ever used as a button.
2) I believe that the issuing agency if the Kyonggi Suyong (Kyong Naval Station) and not the Kyonggi Provincial Office. I think it's Mandel number is #45.11.0 (Mandel page #111)
3) The outer edge of the coin has been modified into an eight sided coin. This is a reference to The Eight Trigrams used in fortune telling (Mandel page #35). In Mandels book on Korean Amulets he has a several sections on eight sided, octogonal, Korean amulets. (Mandel #66.1 through Mandel #70.1, pages 37-39)
4) The seven drilled holes are a reference to Chil Song, literally seven stars. These seven stars are better known in the West as Ursa Major, or more commonly, the Big Dipper. Koreans believed that the Big Dipper controlled one's fate. They are often portrayed in Korean folkart as seven brothers, usually with a star shaped halo around their heads. There are a lot of Korean amulets which have the big dipper on them, usually shown as seven circles, sometimes they are connected with short lines.
5) The words on the reverse are normally read as "Kyong Su" meaning the Kyonggi Suyong (Kyonggi Naval Station) and "I" meaning two as in two cash.
But if you read it as "Kyong I Su" it has an entirely different meaning based on homophones. "Kyong I" sounds like the Korean word for "miracle". "Su" sounds like the Korean word for either "Long Life" or "Male". The sounds are a wish for either a "Miracle of a Long Life", or "A Miracle of a Male (son)".

Chinese Coinage Web Site