Guang Xu unknown province
machine struck cash coin

Obverse:
Guang Xu Tong Bao
Reverse: Unlisted Manchu mint mark.
Possible Manchu reading W - U - ... - Ng

Diameter: ... mm
Weight: ... g
Metal: white metal
Message receivd on 3-Nov-01 from Mr. Dirk de Boer:       Your coin shows the mintmark FUWENG. (See the mintmark FU for Fukien) The first character could be a F or a W, but in manchu it is impossible to write WU. When they wanted to write a chinese character WU in manchu they wrote U (see the mintmark for Wuchang).
      Some observations:
      All chinese (not the Sinkiang) mintmarks show only the transliteration of one character in in manchu. Your coin shows two (if it is chinese) but written as one word.
      When there were two words meant, the Pinyin and the Wade-Giles spelling would both have been FU WENG. I have no idea wether that means anything in chinese.
      The only mintmarks known to me that are longer than one character are some Sinkiang marks. However: in my opinion two things oppose the possibility that your coin stems from Sinkiang.
      First: the language seem to me rather chinese than turkic.
      Second: all Sinkiang cashcoins I have seen pictures of were very crudely made. Your coin on the other hand is beautifully made.

      Vladimir Belyaev additional notes (03-Nov-01):       Mr. Boer's suggestion seems to be very reasonable.
      I've checked mintmark reading with the book which I recently purchased (Gertraud Roth Li. MANCHU: A Textbook for reading documents. University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2000). First leter is really F not W (w occurs only before a or e) and full reading is fuweng. It is Manchu transcription of two Chinese words Fu Weng.
      Almost all Xinjiang mints (with one exception - Ili) consist of more than one Chinese word transliteration in Manchu:
  • Aksu - aksu
  • Hotan - hotiyan
  • Kashgar - kasigar
  • Kuqa - kuce
  • Wushi - usi
  • Yarkand - yerkyang
  • Yerkim - yerkim

      My current supposition is that fuwang is not mintmark but some good luck phrase thransliterated from Chinese to Manchu.
      There are two Chinese words weng:
  • - old man; father, father-in-law
  • - luxuriant vegetation; lush
Together with first word Fu (happiness, good fortune, blessing), usually used in the mintname designation (Fuzhou, Fujian provinces) the second word Weng can combine some good luck formula .

Thanks to Sergey Shevtcov for the coin image.
Any additional information highly appreciated.
Please send your comments to Vladimir Belyaev.
Chinese Coinage Web Site