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Chinese Coin Dating Systems


(1904) $1 Y-183a.2 LM-552 Sm Char, China-Kirin, PCGS MS64. PCGS Population 1. Finest known. Click image to enlarge.

chinese machine-struck coins use a number of dating systems. virtually all of the people’s republic of china coins use the common era calendar dating system. prior to the formation of the people’s republic of china in 1949, a few other dating systems were used.

(1902) $1 LM-542 Coarse Scales, China-Kirin, PCGS MS61. PCGS Population 1. Two finer. Click image to enlarge.

Close up of characters on reverse of coin. Tiger and Water. Click images to enlarge.

for some of the machine-struck coins of the qing dynasty (1644-1911), the lunar calendar system was used. this lunar system is a cycle that lasted 60 years consisting of 10 heavenly or celestial cycles representing the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) and 12 earthly branches representing the 12 zodiac lunar animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig). the coins were dated with two chinese characters, one being the earthly branch and the other being an element. based on these two characters, a corresponding year from the common era dating can be established. for instance, if the coin has the characters for “tiger” and “water” the year would be 1902 because that is the only year in the 60-year cycle that corresponded with both of those celestial and earth symbols.

(1914) $1 Y-329 LM-63, China Republic, PCGS MS66. Click image to enlarge.

云图彩票平台after the fall of the qing dynasty and the chinese empire in 1911, the republic of china was founded and the dating system for coinage changed. for coinage under the republic, the coins were dated with a year that corresponded to the year of independence and age of the republic. so, if the year is 3 then the common era year would be 1914. the coinage of taiwan continues to use this dating system and is currently on year 109. a quick note to dating republic of china coins – many issues were produced for years using an unchanging or frozen date. just because a dollar is dated year 3 doesn’t mean it is actually 1914, as coins were struck into the 1950s with that year.

(1914) $1 Y-329 LM-63, China Republic, PCGS MS65. Click image to enlarge.

Other issues from China include the Lunar Hijri system, which was used in Sinkiang province; and the article further detailing this can be found here: Other dating systems under Tibetan issues will be discussed under a different article.