Dragon Copper 5 Cash Fujian FOO-KIEN Mint China Emperor Guang Xu, 1901-03 AD
1901-1903 Fujian FOO-KIEN
Reign title: Guang Xu, AD 1875-1908
3.6 grams; 22.1 mm; Copper
Catalog Number: Y# 99
This milled copper coin was first minted in Foochow of Fukien Province in 1900. During the period, there were two official mints existed in Foochow. They are Fukien Silver Coin Bureau (or known as Southern Bureau established in 1898) and West Branch of Fukien Machinery Bureau established in 1890 [later known as Copper Branch of Fukien Machinery Bureau]. These 2 mints combined with Mamoi Foochow Shipping Administration Bureau as Fukien Mint Branch under former Ministry of Revenue in 1905. I think this coin was minted in West Branch of Fukien Machinery Bureau, as the Mint renamed as Copper Branch of Fukien Machinery Bureau later. On the center of the obverse are 4 Chinese characters reads "Kuang Hsu Yuan Pao" and means "Kuang Hsu Valuable Coin" and 2 Manchu scripts (Fu Kien Mint) inside beaded circle in centre: in the outer circle, Chinese characters (made in Fukien Official Bureau) above, (Every One Equivalent to 5 cash) below; small rosettes right and left. On the reverse is the symbol of the Qing royal family, the dragon (This is a Side View Dragon normally used in copper coins.). Around the dragon are the words in English "FOO-KIEN" at the head of the dragon and "5 CASH" at the foot of the dragon.
Chinese Dragon Copper Coin
For the shortage of the old copper cash in the late Qing dynasty, the tradition casting method did not help economically to solve the problem. When Hong Kong one cent copper coins were occasionally in circulation with the value to ten cash coins in the local market of Kwangtung. The existence western style coinage in Hong Kong directly influenced the Chinese mint authority.
The Acting Viceroy of Kwangtung and Kwangsi Province, Te Shou consulted with Li Hung-chang , his predecessor, decided to mint a new model copper coin called "T'ung Yuan". "Tung Yuan" was first minted in Kwangtung in the 26th year of the Kuang Hsu reign (1900AD). The coin was minted by machine without hole in the center. It was equivalent to ten cash at the early beginning. The use of copper to make one "T'ung Yuan" is equal to six old cash coin only.
The "Tung Yuan" was quiet welcomed by the population for its convenience compared with the old cash coins. The Chinese government also encouraged other provinces to follow the good example of Kwangtung in order to solve the fiscal problem. Other provinces found it was profitable to mint "T'ung Yuan", they vied with each other to do the same business of minting the new coins. For the over-supply of the new copper coins, this caused the value of "T'ung Yuan" declined in the rate of exchange with silver dollars. In 1911, Its rate of exchange to the silver dollar was approximately dropped to 180 to 1 from 100 to 1 of the early beginning.