Lot 621: Han Dynasty, Chinese bronze 500 millet seed coin, Emperor Han Wu Di, 118 BC

Est: $200 - $400
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May 10, 2018, 11:00 AM EST
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Description: Han Dynasty, Chinese bronze 500 millet seed coin, Emperor Han Wu Di, 118 BC Wu Zhu ("500 millet seed") coin, ca. 118 B.C. This coin is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity! Diameter: 27.0 mm; Weight: 3.21 grams; Material: Bronze Hartill: 10.16, p. 92 Han Dynasty, from Emperor Han Wu Di - the greatest emperor of ancient China. Nice original green patina. Historical Important In 118 B.C., coins "Wuzhu" (five "zhu", a "zhu"-a weight unit approximately 0.66 gram) were cast. The currency system "Wuzhu" had since been established. After the Eastern Han, the currency system "Wuzhu" was undermined by the appearance of various inferior coins. At the end of the Western Han, Wang Mang waged four reforms of currency system. The reforms failed due to the fact that the grading category was too complicated. However, coins of this period were well known for their elegant style and fine workmanship. The Wu Zhu coins were a reform to regularize the currency after the anarchy of the Ban Liang coins, which anyone could cast in any size they wanted. They were made to a standard module from about 118 BC until after the end of the Han dynasty in 221 AD (with time out for Wang Mang). After the end of the Han Dynasty the denomination persisted, but people started fooling around with them, making them smaller, adding extra characters, etc. All told the Wu Zhu coins were made for about 700 years. The Wu Zhu (Five Zhu C 3.25 grams). First issued in 118 BC, this inscription was used on coins of many regimes over the next 700 years. Sometimes Wu Zhus can be dated specifically from dated moulds that have been discovered, or from their find spots, but the majority cannot. Those of the Western Han Dynasty have a square top to the right hand component of zhu; on later coins, this is rounded. Only a few of the varieties that have been described by numismatists are included here. By this time, a full monetary economy had developed. Taxes, salaries, and fines were all paid in coins. An average of 220 million coins a year were produced. According to the History of Han, the Western Han was a wealthy period: The granaries in the cities and the countryside were full and the government treasuries were running over with wealth. In the capital the strings of cash had been stacked up by the hundreds of millions until the cords that bound them had rotted away and they could no longer be counted.? On average, millet cost 75 cash and polished rice 140 cash a hectoliter, a horse 4,400-4,500 cash. A laborer could be hired for 150 cash a month; a merchant could earn 2,000 cash a month.
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