This is a reference guide to the cast coins of China, not a listing of coins offered for sale (although a listing of examples we currently have available can be viewed on our : our vcoins store.
Some date it to 221 BC when they finished unifying China (note this unified China was much smaller than the China we know today), but the Ch'in themselves probably would have used a date of about 325 BC when Duke Hsuan Wen adopted the title of Emperor after defeating the state of Wen and withdrew Ch'in allegiance to the Zhou.
* "Duke" is the closest title we have found for the early rulers of Ch'in.
It is commonly accepted that in 221 BC, at the time of the unification, Ch'in introduced the Pan (pronounced "Ban") Liang coinage, discontinuing knife and spade coinage.
This is by no means certain and we find it difficult to accept, believing the coinage of this period is more complex and knife and spade coinage was phased out gradually.
We previously discussed the possibility that some Square-Foot Spades and early Square-Holed Round Coins were cast under the Ch'in, but we also believe the earliest Pan Liang were cast before 221 BC.
img src="chis93.jpg" alt="Pan liang without rim" height="294" width="300" During the Zhou period, there had been a direct connection between the "Liang as a weight" (12 grams when applied to coinage) and the Liang as a coin denomination.About the time the Chin Dynasty established control over China (and possibly a little earlier), the Pan Liang (or 1/2 Liang) coinage was introduced at this weight standard (about 6 grams), but very quickly the connection between the weight and the monetary unite ceased to apply.This series is difficult to classify, with specimens occurring at weights from 2 to 18 grams (but rarely over 12 grams), and diameters from 14 to over 34 mm.Having examined a number of Pan Liang hoards, we found most specimens within a single hoard will be of uniform diameter but the weight can vary significantly.This had lead us to believe the coins diameter is the important factor in determining the period or issue.While the AVERAGE weight of an issue is closely tied to the diameter, the weights of individual specimens can vary so much (up to 200%) as to be almost meaningless (see our earlier discussion of weights).