Rare Ancient Korean Choson Tong Bo 1625 AD, King Injo 仁祖 palbun style

Rare Ancient Korean Choson Tong Bo 1625 AD, King Injo 仁祖 palbun style

Kingdom of Joseon

Korean Choson Tong Bo

1625 AD, King Injo (仁 祖) One cash, palbun style


Weight: 5.4 grams; Size: 24 mm; Bronze

Choson Tong Bo (朝鮮通寶)

Number: N# 29060
References: KM# 3



- Top to bottom:
朝鮮 = Joseon, the name for Korea
- Right to left:
通寶 = Tong bo, means currency

寶  通

Translation: Joseon currency





Korean Coins of King Ingo (仁 祖) of the Yi Dynasty

The second time coins with the inscription Choson tong bo (朝 鮮通寶) were cast was 200 years later in the 3rd year (1625 AD) of the reign of King Injo (仁 祖) of the Yi Dynasty (Choson or Chosun or Joseon Dynasty 李紀).

Unlike the earlier Choson tong bo (朝鮮通寶) coins, these coins had the inscription written in "official style" (palbun 八分) as in the example at the left.

The coins tend to have a yellow-brown color and the characters are not very standardized. The strokes can be thin or thick and small or large. Some varieties have broad rims while others have narrow rims.

Both government and private versions were cast and, therefore, coins can vary from well-made to crude.

Unlike the earlier version of the coin, coins with inscriptions written in clerical script (隸書) are much scarcer.


In 1625 under the reign of king Injo of Joseon a new series of cash coins with the same inscription as under Sejong the Great were minted. In order to promote the circulation of the new coinage, King Injo tried to rent out vacant rooms for the opening of new restaurants which would accept these cash coins, these rooms were situated in front of Gyeongbok Palace. This was an attempt to encourage the circulation of the new coinage and the King hoped to open the eyes of the Korean people to the value of using coinage over barter.

"The street in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace would make an ideal place for restaurants. I would like to gather people to manage restaurants there. I believe those restaurants will help deal with the thirsty and hungry."
- Injo Sillok (Annals of King Injo), June 18, 1626 (Year 4 of King Injo of Joseon)


The government soon enacted new national laws to stimulate the usage of coinage, for instance a law that allowed for people to pay their taxes using coins. Government officials were now also required to use cash coins to pay for their expenses when they would travel as a means to help promote their circulation. Another factor that led to the more widely adoption of coinage by the Korean people this time around was the fact seasonal problems such as droughts or less productive harvests made it more difficult to manufacture grains and cloth causing them to decrease in circulation.

The second series of the Joseon Tongbo came roughly two centuries after the first and the first issues were made in the year 1625 (Injo 3), these cash coins had their inscriptions written in "official style" script or palbun (八分, "eight part (script)"). During this era the government wasn't the only manufacturer as private minting was allowed to take place and as such these cash coins tend to be very diverse.

This second series of Joseon Tongbo coins became the inspiration for the following Sangpyeong Tongbo series, though later these coins would be suspended due to the Later Jin, and the Qing invasions of Joseon. After those wars Korea would become dependent on importing copper from Japan in order to sustain the production of coinage.


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Rare Ancient Korean Choson Tong Bo 1625 AD, King Injo 仁祖 palbun style