Rare 20 Cash Dragon Copper Jilin Kirin Province 1903 Sitting Dragon
Weight: 13.1 grams; Size: 33.2 mm; Copper
Reverse: Dragon, the symbol of the Qing royal family,
the emblem of flaming dragon flying in clouds playing a pearl in fire inside the beaded circle.
The province of Kirin (Jilin) lies in Manchuria, north of the present day border of North Korea. The mint opened in 1881 and for many years struck only trial pieces. Silver milled coins were produced from 1895 onward. Many were dated using the sexagenary cycle. The mint burnt down in 1911.
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.