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Vietnam (Annam) Cash

Vietnam (Annam) Privately minted cash

Strange Private Coins

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Indonesian "Naive" Copies: Shimasen

The coins on this page all were probably made in Indonesia in the recent couple of centuries. This type is known in Japanese as shimasen or "Island coins." They are characterized by having the Chinese written in a naive style without regard to conventions of character simplification and shape, and look as if they were created by someone who could not read Chinese.

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These six examples all came from one lot of 29 coins I purchased on ebay. Most all of them were covered in soot of the same color and they included 3 Indonesian Coins from 1943-44. They may have been cast in a fire at a ceremony, left there, and later dug up by someone else. The fact that there are two pairs of shimasen which each come from the same mother coin suggests that they were made not long before they ended up as a sooty group, which I will guess was at a burial ceremony. If this is the case, then these shimasen could not have been made long before the 1940's and are perhaps more recent yet.

This Kai Yuan Tong Bao has a fairly orthodox version of the first three characters, but the Bao character is very different from the norm. It is based on the famous 7th century Tang Dynasty coin.

24mm x 1.5 mm

Jʕ@K

Notice that this coin is, front and back, almost identical to the one above.

24mm x 1.5 mm

Jʕ@K

This Kan'ei Tsuuhou is based on the bunsen type of Japanese coin first minted in 1668. However, the 'Bun' character on the back is behind the Tsuu character on the right, rather than behind the Kan which is the way in the original. It is as if the reverse had been rotated 90 degrees clockwise. This thought is interesting because even the center squares of the front and back are not well aligned, and there may have been something in the manufacturing process of the mother coin which produced this anomaly.

24.5mm x 1.5 mm

iʕ@w@K

Notice that this coin is, front and back identical to the one above, but cast more poorly.

24.5mm x 1.5 mm

iʕ@w@K

Chen Long Tong Bao. This is based on the Qing Dynasty Chen Long Tong Bao of 1736-95. Each of the characters are unorthodox and the Tsuu character a rectangular grid with horzonal lines on top and bottom, a trait that is seen in many Indonesian charm coins. This coin has a gloss like graphite.

24mm 1.2 mm

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Chen Long Tong Bao. This is also based on the Qing Dynasty Chen Long Tong Bao of 1736-95. However this coin is not identical to the one above. The characters are blockish and angular but more orthodox in shape. The Manchurian writing on the back was minted upside down.

24.2 mm x 1.5 mm

ʕ@K

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Here are some more shimasen which I have collected. I bought all of these from a dealer in Java.

This one seems very similar in character style to the second Chen Long coin in the section above. However, I bought this from a dealer in Java.It is so sharp and clean that I wonder if it wer part of the coin making process, such as an unfinished mother coin? Just guessing.

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This one is based on the Ming dynasty Hong Wu Tong Bao. The characters are simple and "naive." The Wu character is the most different. The manufacture of this coin is very strange. It seems almost to have been carved rather than cast.

23mmx1mm

^ʕ@K

This is a private mint version of the Ming Dynasty Yong Le Tong Bao. It seems to have been made from a newly carved mother coin but just might have been a drastically recarved Yong Le coin. This coin was unfortunately overcleaned. It may be a Japanese privately made "shimasen" type coin. This was found in Java.

24mm

iyʕ@K

This is a version of the Xiang Fu Yuan Bao, a Song coin, but the reverse of this coin has a Manchu writing (Qing Dynasty) mintmark sideways on the reverse. So it is at the oldest a 17th century coin. Found in Java.

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This coin is much like the one above but the Manchu mintmark, purporting to be from the Bao Quan mint, is correctly placed. Found in Java. All three of these coins seem to have been broken off the casting tree without much care.

25mmx1mm

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This has the same front legend as the two coins above, and the same Manchu mintmark on the back but placed upside down. but a more narrow rim, smaller center hole and the characters are larger. It is in excellent condition except that it has been broken, perhaps when removing it from the tree. It appears to be made of a lead tin alloy. Found in Java.

24mmx1mm

˕ tw @K

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