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2,500-Year Old Coins
Made in China

20 June 2009

When you got up on a Sunday morning and dug soil in your backyard to plant tomato seeds, then discovered in the hole 6000 pieces of milled coins with the image of the cuirassed bust of George II, you must be a very happy soul. The 250-year old currency could bring you a not so small fortune.

It didn't happen to any of us last Sunday and we do not hold our breath to see it happen tomorrow. But it did happen somewhere sometimes ago on earth.

When a villager named Yu Younan (余友南) in China's Anhui Province (安徽) decided to become a home owner builder and dug soil to produce bricks for his housing project, he unexpectedly excavated 6,000 pieces ancient coins with a ghost-like image on them.

He was a very happy man by then, naturally. And when later he learned from the archaeologists that what he dug out were famous "Ghost Face (鬼脸钱)" coins dating back to the Warrior States (475BC - 221BC), an era before First Emperor Qin was born and before a united China came into being, he was even happier. Imagine what kind of fortune the 2,500-year old currency could bring to him!

But in the end the ancient coins have not brought any tangible windfall to Mr Yu, as the man decided last month to give them away for free to a museum.

The Ghost Faces were produced by Chu Kingdom (楚国) based in today's Hubei Province (湖北), the homeland of poet Qu Yuan for him Dragon Boat festival is allegedly dedicated. At the time there were seven kingdoms in the Middle Land and the Ghost Faces enjoyed a status similar to U.S. Dollars in 20th century, commonly used in inter-states trade.

Its supremacy didn't last, of course. The current Chinese currency is yuan, by the way.

(Source of info/photo: 中安在线)

Prev: Carapace Bone Script Unearthed
Next: 2,500-Year Old Crystal Ring


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