Early Chinese Illustrations of Foreign Coining Mechanism

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*These 3 images come from  illustrations in a Chinese book titled "The Revealing Secret of Silver" which was published in 1826, the 6th year of Tao Kuang Reign. This early Chinese publication introduced  native readers to  the various types of foreign silver coins circulating in China, taught them how these round shaped silvers were made, and showed how they could be authenticated.

*The images illustrate a western coining machine, including dies for stamping the obverse and reverse of a coin and a illustration of the overall mechanism. According to the image on the die the machine was  minting Spanish colonial Portrait Dollars.

*We don't know whether the author of the book had actually encountered a real coining machine before he made these illustrations.  In 1826 there were no machine struck coins being made in China, nor had any coining machines been imported into the country. Based on this, the illustrations probably came from the author's imagination and were based on discussions with foreign merchants travelling in China.         

*The terms used in this book for the die and the coining machine are interesting. The die were called "Tien Si" in Chinese, which means "Heavenly Master", and the machine as "Tien Tzui",  meaning "Heavenly Awl". These terms indicate that in 1826 the Chinese were still not familiar with the concept and technology of minting coins, even though they had been in contact with western culture for a long time. 

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