Hartill 9.54 Huo Quan, Four Corner Coin, Xin Dynasty Wang Mang 14-22 AD China

Hartill 9.54 Huo Quan, Four Corner Coin, Xin Dynasty Wang Mang 14-22 AD China


Xin Dynasty Wang Mang interregnum

Four Corner Coin, Huo Quan (Wealth Coin) ca. 14-22 A.D.


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Reference: Hartill 9.54

Lines Radiating from corners of hole on obverse 面四出

14-22 A.D.

Obverse: Huo Quan (Wealth Coin) Lines Radiating from corners of hole.

Reverse: blank


is an example of a Huo Quan that has four oblique lines extending outward from each corner of the hole to the rim on the obverse side. In Chinese, this is referred to as si chu (四出). Si (四) means "four" and chu (出) means "going out". The coin is also known as a "corner coin" (jiao qian 角钱). Cities in ancient China had walls built around them as a means of protection. It is said that the square hole of this coin represented the city and that the four lines going out represented wealth flowing out, portending the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 AD. The rays extending from the inner rims on these coins are said to represent the four walls of a city. As of yet, we can find no reason to assume this is true. The use of rays radiating from the central hole, but with varying numbers of them, also occur on the Huo Quan and Bu Quan coins of Wang Mang.

Wang Mang, floundering around in his efforts to make a "fair and honest" financial structure, kept changing the money. The Huo Quan coins ("Q" = "ch" in Chinese Romanization) began to be counterfeited and debased almost immediately, but somewhere and for some reason big, heavy, extremely crude versions were also made. Whether these were official or private, authorized or illicit is unknown. An interesting series meant to replace the Wu Zhu. Immediately counterfeited and inflated, they got smaller and smaller.



In AD 14, all these tokens were abolished, and replaced by another type of spade coin and new round coins.

  • Huo Bu (Chinese: 貨布; pinyin: huò bù; literally: "Money Spade")

  • Huo Quan (Chinese: 貨泉; pinyin: huòquán; literally: "Wealth/Money Coin")

According to Schjöth, Wang Mang wished to displace the Wu Zhu currency of the Western Han, owing, it is said, to his prejudice to the jin (Chinese: 金; pinyin: jīn; literally: "gold") radical in the character zhu (Chinese: 銖; pinyin: zhū) of this inscription, which was a component part of the character Liu, the family name of the rulers of the House of Han, whose descendant Wang Mang had just dethroned. And so he introduced the Huo Quan currency. One of the reasons, again, that this coin circulated for several years into the succeeding dynasty was, so the chroniclers say, the fact that the character quan (Chinese: 泉; pinyin: quán) in the inscription consisted of the two component parts bai (Chinese: 白; pinyin: bái; literally: "white") and shui (Chinese: 水; pinyin: shuǐ; literally: "water"), which happened to be the name of the village, Bai Shui in Henan, in which the Emperor Guang Wu, who founded the Eastern Han, was born. This circumstance lent a charm to this coin and prolonged its time of circulation. The Huo Quan did indeed continue to be minted after the death of Wang Mang – a mould dated AD 40 is known.



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Hartill 9.54 Huo Quan, Four Corner Coin, Xin Dynasty Wang Mang 14-22 AD China



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