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    An Impressive Large Example of China's Earliest Gold Coinage

    Warring States Period. State of Chu gold "Block or Cube Money" Ying Yuan or Yuan Jin Sheet ND (400-220 BC) Certified MS62+ by Gong Bo Grading, cf. Hartill-5.3 (Extremely Rare). 62x59mm. 247.9gm. Divided into roughly 18 squares, each stamped "Ying Yuan" (Ying being the capital city of Chu, and Yuan the unit of weight). One of many diverse forms of coinage employed during the tumultuous Warring States Period--alongside spades, knives, round coins, and "ant nose money"--the gold cube or block money, however, immediate stands out amongst the rest. The earliest gold currency yet discovered in China, the Ying Yuan or Yuan Jin were cast in long, thin sheets approximately 3-5mm in thickness. The sheets were divided into either square or round sections, each bearing a set of characters, usually the name of a city and the unit of weight. Although these pieces were first reported in historical and numismatic texts as early as AD 1050, their characters and origin was not properly discerned until 1878. Hartill has suggested that these sheets were purpose made to be chopped up into individual units, rather than the stamps serving as validation for the larger ingot, and indeed this is how the majority of specimens survive--in either one or two square units, making larger blocks or sheets extremely rare. For his part, Hartill records a sheet of 15 squares in his book, which he notes to be of the highest rarity. We note that a well-preserved sheet of 6 squares brought in excess of $25,000 in CNG's Triton XIX Sale (lot 2276), suggesting that the appearance of such a specimen as the present at auction is virtually unprecedented. Some hard deposits exist on the back of the piece, giving one of the few senses of its immense age. Of the highest significance, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to be sure.

    NOTE: This lot was manufactured in China and was sourced from outside the United States for this auction after September 1, 2019. Under the new US tariffs on Chinese goods, collector's items from China will be subject to a 7.5% import tariff. Any clients who wish to take delivery of this item in the United States should be aware of this added charge, and consult their tax adviser with any questions.


    戰國時期(公元前 400-220年)楚國爰金或郢爰。公博評級 MS62+。
    62x59毫米,247.9克。極罕有。「郢爰」或「郢金」是戰國時期楚國的貨幣,距今已有約2500年歷史,是目前中國發現最早的黃金貨幣。 「郢」為楚國都城名稱,「爰」為貨幣重量單位。
    作為中國貨幣史上首款形制確定的金質貨幣,郢爰在黃金貨幣史上具有極其重要的開創意義。儘管流通範圍有限,但是地方特色濃鬱、使用方便快捷,對研究中國古代貨幣史、楚國歷史文化等均具有較高的價值。曾有6枚聯結的方塊金幣出現於CNG的Triton XIX拍賣會(拍品號2276)中帶來了超過25,000美元的價格,這代表了此幣為前所未有。此枚郢爰的背面有一些硬質沉積物,使人聯想到其遙遠浩瀚的年代。同時也是一枚具備歷史意義文物價值的金幣,非常值得收藏。

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    5th-6th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,805

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