Ancient Chinese Charm coin
Chang Ming Fu Gui
Longevity, wealth and honor
Size: 53 mm; Weight: 40.5 grams; Material: Copper Alloy
Obv: reads chang ming fu gui (长 命富贵) meaning "longevity, wealth and honor".
Obv: Fu Lu Yuan Sheng (福禄 缘 神)
Introduction to Chinese Charms
China was one of the first countries in the world to use metal coinage and its ancient coin history can be traced back well over two thousand years. In addition to official coinage, China also has a long history of producing "coin-like" charms, amulets and talismans.
Coins, as a form of money, represent power. Coin-shaped charms are, therefore, a very compact form of power. They are filled with symbolism and are believed by the multitude of Chinese to have vast powers.
Cast throughout the centuries, these ancient charms, informally referred to by the Chinese as "ya sheng coins" (压胜钱), "flower coins" (huaqian 花钱) or "play coins" (wanqian 玩钱), were not used as money but rather to suppress evil spirits, bring "good luck", "good fortune" and to avert misfortune.
The Chinese also produced other "coin-like" pieces such as "horse coins" (马钱), depicting famous historical horses, which were used for games and as gambling tokens. Other metal coin-shaped pieces traditionally included by collectors in the category of charms are the chess pieces used in Chinese chess also known as xiangqi (象棋) or "elephant" chess.
For the most part, all these old charms, horse coins and chess pieces were privately cast and their quantities and dates are almost impossible to determine. Nevertheless, they serve as important cultural artifacts from the life of the common Chinese throughout the centuries.