May, 17, 1998
I received this note copy from someone. |
At the SW corner of note four Chinese characters Dung Chang Zhung Kuo - Dungchang [province] of China.
Below placed personal autograph of F.Schjoth with comments about shown note.
"This note, issued by the Imp.Bank of China for No 504 Yuan serie, was
presented to me by Mr.Bismarck (China Customs). It was found by him .... in
a Boxers house, who had assisted in the looking of the ...., at Peking in
Ningpo. 23 sep.1901
History of this note and autograph is unknown for me.
Message from Stephen Tai (18-May-98):
"This note, issued by the Imperial Bank of China for .. ($), was
presented to me by Mr. Bismark (? Custom). It was found by him with three
pack of Bank Notes (.....) in a Boxer's house, who has assisted in the
lootery of the Imperial Bank of China, at Peking in summer, 1900.
Message from Joseph N.K. Tam (8-Aug-98):
(l) My understanding of Schjoth's handwritten note word by word: "This note, issued by the Imperial Bank of China for No 504 yuan serie, was presented to me by Mr. Bismarck (China custom). It was found by him with other packets of Bank Notes (....) in a Boxer's house, who had assisted in the lootery of the Imperial Bk of China at Peking in Summer 1900. Ningpo, 23 ,Sept 1901 Fr. Schjoth".
If we can pay attention to the way Schjoth wrote "the" in the note, then we should guess that he wrote "other packets of Bank Notes" instead of "three packets of Bank Notes". But, this point is not directly relevant to the understanding of the Bank Note itself. Fr. Schjoth wrote in old English and used the word "lootery" instead of "robbery", the more common modern English word. But, it accurately dipicted the Boxers' Riots in 1900 China.
(2) We must open our mind that even Fr. Schjoth himself might not fully understand the note due to the Chinese Characters and his different cultural background. For example, the amount of the note was five hundred silver taels not No 504 yuan serie. The last handwirtten Chinese word means "tael" a common monetary unit to show the weight of silver or gold since Ancient China. This character looks like the Chinese character "four". Similar Silver Bills or paper money were used for business to facilitate transactions long time before the Qing Dynasty. The amounts were normally in whole number of silver taels. That is why the silver bills were found as a packet of five hundred taels or other face value. (This is similar to modern notes, have we ever found a one-hundred-and-four US dollar bill ?).
Message from Stephen Tai (8-Aug-98):
I agree with Mr.Tam about "Yuen 504" is not a serial number, instead, it should be the money value taken down by the issuer. However, I have a slight departure with him about it was written as "silver of 500 taels".
In my different understanding, the scripts under printed character Yin (Silver) should be Yuen-Wu Bai (5 Hundred) - Ling (Zero) - Si (Four). Yuen in this specific moment, should be combined with Yin and read as Yuen Yin, and the meaning has 2 possibilities: One means "Silver dollar" and the other means "Round Sycee".
The scripts in related to numerals were written in conventional commercial usage, the last script as I believed is not a Liang (tael), F. Schjoth was right in this part, it is a Si (Four). Besides, if like Mr. Tam said, it is a Five Hundred Taels, then normally there won't be a Zero subsequent to Five Hundred, and actually there's a Ling (Zero) over there.
Message from Joseph N.K. Tam (15-Aug-98):
Interesting, there were more than one similar note with the same amount according to Fr. Schjoth (That is probably why Fr. Schjoth thought it was a 504 Serial.) If the amount was regarded as five hundred and four silver dollars (Yuan) instead of meaning Yin Yuan (Pao) 500 taels by weight, then the Da Ch'ing Silver coins would have been minted in the years 1899 and 1900 instead of several years later. If you say that the amount was literally stated as "Yin Yuan five hundred zero four" (translated as "five hundred and four silver dollars), then the sentence was not stated in proper Chinese Grammar because the amount was not properly quantified. Of course, all these are still my reasonable guesses and perhaps, only the person who wrote the note knew the exact truth.
Message from Stephen Tai (15-Aug-98):
(1) Promissory note that with its blank form printed by a bank, and drawn by the bank's client for payment to a 3rd party. The note would be specified with name of payee, and the amount of payment, due date and so forth. The bank will pay to such a 3rd party, on his demand, in accordance with what the client has drawn on the face of note. It is about the same as today's "Personal Check" (More technically speaking, it's a "Personal principal check undertaken to be paid by a bank")
(2) Promissory note that with all kinds of form printed by an issuer, and drawn by the issuer himself for payment to a third party. The note would be specified with name of payee, and the amount of payment, and so forth. The issuer himself has to pay accordingly. It's kind of "Personal Check" in today's German law system countries. (More specifically, it's a "Personal principal check undertaken to be paid by the issuer")
(3) Promissory note that issued by a bank (local or official), just like a today's bank note, any one who bears this note, may demand the bank to pay accordingly. (More sophistically, "Bank's principal check")
(4) Draft; or Remittance bill.
To my belief, the F. Schjoth note ought to be classified into (2) as
above mentioned; a paper note printed by the issuer (that was why the note is
looked informal!), and issued by itself who had an account at the bank, this
note can also be regarded as a client's instruction to a bank. Given this, I
will have no wonder if this note amounted in 504 dollars or taels, as a
matter of fact, I have more than a dozen of paper notes from the same period
which are not in regular numbers 10, 50, 100, ... as we used to know, instead
they are in 6, 7, 1500, 2500, 28250, ...
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