|Old China copper coins|
|Traditional silver ingots|
|Foreign silver dollar|
|A Qing dynasty dragon silver dollar|
Currency reform was a constant issue from the late Qing through the Republican period. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the President of the Republic, Yuan Shikai, minted the official silver dollars featuring his own portrait for circulation. This coin was produced to replace foreign and Provincial dragon dollars in circulation.The coins were struck at many mints with uniform dies provided by the Tientsin mint. The Republic of China National Currency Regulations issued in 1914 had envisioned a uniform standard, with one Yuan Shikai silver dollar equal to, for example five 20 cents silver coins or 100 copper cent.These silver coins of of Yuan Shikai gained some traction between 1915 and 1925, the political fragmentation of China further complicated the monetary system, with various warlords and provincial officials making their own money.
The silver dollars minted by Yan Shikai, more commonly called the Yuan big Head, are a favourite among collectors as the coins were very well minted with the president's portrait and some bunches of leaves ( or grains stalks). Each coin has a weight of 26.4 g and contains 90 % silver. The genuine coin produces a really nice chime when hit against another genuine one (a traditional method to filter out the genuine ones from the fakes). As there so many fakes around, it is important to be extra cautious when buying these coins. Some contained only 40% silver (not minted officially) while others are generally alloys of copper with silver plating on the outside. The fakes are slight lighter and they are made slightly bigger to fool the collectors. There are four versions of the cons, bearing the year of he Republic, for instance, the 3rd, 8th, 9th and 10th year of the Republic. Other than these versions, they are all fakes. When buying coins, always remember a saying: good things don't come cheap.
|This coin was recently auctioned for over 4 million RMB|
|These rare coins of Yuan Shikai in military uniform|
|Another silver dollar depicting president Sun|
|Portrait of Yuan Shikai|