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Real Gold inlay value 5000 Knife, Yi Dao Ping Wu Qian 7 AD Xin dynasty Wang Mang


Real Gold inlay value 5000 Knife, Yi Dao Ping Wu Qian 7 AD Xin dynasty Wang Mang


Interregnum of Wang Mang, AD 7-23

Knife with gold inlay, worth 5000 Wu Shu
Yi Dao - Ping Wu Qian, 7 AD

Authenticity guaranteed for all items!

Reference: Hartill 9.12

Knife with gold inlay, worth 5000 Wu Shu

Yi Dao - Ping Wu Qian, which means: One knife worth 5000 cash.

Material: Bronze body with pure Gold inlaid letters.

Weight: 31 grams; Size: 72 mm


Wang Mang was a nephew of the Dowager Empress Wang, In AD 9, he usurped the throne, and founded the Xin Dynasty. He introduced a number of currency reforms which met with varying degrees of success. The first reform, in AD 7, retained the Wu Zhu coin, but reintroduced two versions of the knife money:

  • Yi Dao Ping Wu Qian (Chinese: 一刀平五千; pinyin: yīdāo ping wǔqiān; literally: "One Knife Worth Five Thousand") on which the Yi Dao characters are inlaid in gold.

S-119, "YI-TAO P'ING WU-CHIEN" (One knife: value five thousand). The "YI-TAO" inscription on the handle is of inlaid gold. Valued at 5000 Wu Shu (25,000 shu). The specimen illustrated is 74 mm long by 15 mm across the blade and 27 mm across the handle. The weight of these varies considerable. The three specimens we have weight range from 25.84 to 38.85 grams and average 31.41 grams.

At that time 5000 Wu Shu was equal to 1/2 cattie of gold. A cattie weighed about 120 grams, so these knifes were valued at about 60 grams (2 ounces) of pure gold. We have not been able to find a relative value for gold in ancient China, but in the same time frame in the Roman Empire, this would have been at least a year's wages to an average citizen.


FIRST REFORM, introduced in AD 7

This first reform was made while he was either regent for the last Western Han Emperor or Acting Emperor. In either case, these are technically Han Dynasty coins.

Wang's intent was to allow Wu Shu to continue to circulate for small transactions, but to introduce a fiduciary (token) coinage to replace gold in larger transactions. This was poorly received by a populous not used to token coinage, so Mang ordered that all gold be turned in and exchanged for the new coins. We have not found a record of the penalty for continuing to hold gold, but many of the aristocracy were executed at this time.

1 Wu Shu (5 shu)WU SHUROUND COIN
500 Wu Shu (2500 shu)CH'I TAO WU-PAIKNIFE COIN
5000 Wu Shu (25000 shu)YI-TAO P'ING WU-CHIENKNIFE COIN


Towards the end of the Western Han Dynasty, China was in effect ruled by the family of Wang through a series of puppet Han emperors. There is some dispute as to what happened in the beginning years of the first century AD, but it appears that Wang Mang became regent for the child emperor P'ing Ti. In AD 7 Wang Mang replaced P'ing Ti with the infant Ju Tze Yung, giving himself the office of Acting Emperor.

As Acting Emperor he introduced three new issues to circulate alongside Wu shus.

Interregnum of Wang Mang, AD 7-23

The interregnum of Wang Mang was a very interesting time in Chinese history, but remember the old curse, "May you live in interesting times".

The exact dates and events that led Wang Mang to power differ a little between references, but for the time being we are using mostly those given by Robert Tye in his essay WANG MANG (paperback, 20 pages), but in a few cases, where noted, other dates may be used. If you are interested in learning more about this period and would like to read his essay, let us know and we will see if it is still available from him.

About 47 BC, Mang was born into the most powerful family in China, a family that effectively ruled through a series of puppet Han emperors. He held a series of high governmental posts before becoming Minister of War in 7 BC, but fell from favor and retired two years later.



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Real Gold inlay value 5000 Knife, Yi Dao Ping Wu Qian 7 AD Xin dynasty Wang Mang

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