Today is Chinese New Year, the world’s most celebrated festival, which marks the new year on the Chinese calendar.
Many traditions and customs have been adopted over the years, with popular themes surrounding good luck and fortune for the year ahead.
Chinese Lucky Cash Coin
This coin has been issued in China since 221 BCE and is thought to bring good luck.
The unusual shaped Lucky Chinese Cash Coin features a square hole at its centre to represent Earth, while the circle symbolises heaven. This combination of heaven and earth make the coin a symbol of harmony and prosperity.
Chinese fortune-tellers would use cash coins, a tortoise shell, and their skill at numerology to tell the future. Because of their association with mystical prediction, these coins from China are thought to bring good luck.
Traditionally, these coins were cast in copper, brass or iron and in the mid-19th century they were made of 3 parts copper to 2 parts lead. Rarer silver coins were also produced and gold coins are also known to exist but are even rarer.
Early manufacture methods of these coins included carving the individual coin directly onto a soapstone or clay mould. This rough and ready approach means that early Chinese coins are very diverse, as each was cast from a different mould bearing the same inscription.
Master bronze moulds were later introduced to gain consistency.
It was in the mid 19th century that the first machine-struck cash coins were produced following the introduction of a machine operated mint in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
These coins tended to be made from brass rather than pure copper and as the copper content decreased and cheaper metals like lead and tin became more dominant, the coins took on a yellowish tint.
Originally the hole in the centre of the coin was used to string them together, creating higher denominations, however in the modern era the coins are strung together and placed round the necks of children, or over the beds of sick people for luck.
Some Chinese businesses also hang Chinese cash coins as store signs for good luck and they can even be seen featuring on the logos of the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank.
The cash coin is also used in Feng shui, where they represent an abundance of resources, personal wealth, money, and prosperity.
It’s always fascinating to learn about world coins and the stories behind their origins.
Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year today? Keep your eyes out for any Chinese cash coins and see if your luck could be in this year!
Own the Lucky Chinese Cash Coin
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a coin that many believe will bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
Each coin comes housed in a wallet with informative Certificate of Authenticity detailing the history of the coin.