Sycee Cast by the Branches of the Sino-Russo Asiatic Bank

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Left: 50 Tael Boat Cast by the Shanghai Branch of the Sino-Russo Asiatic Bank

Right: 1 Tael Boat Cast by the Beijing Branch of the Sino-Russo Asiatic Bank


* The Sino-Russo Asiatic Bank opened its first branch in Shanghai in the 23rd year of Kuang Hsu (1897),  one year after the establishment of its head-quarter in St. Petersburg. This earliest joint venture bank between a foreign country and the Chinese imperial government arose from an unfair treaty which gave the Russians the ability to run and control the bank unilaterally. This bank was utilized to command and facilitate the economic "invasion" of China by Russia.  

* Within a few years, the bank had opened many branches in a number of the major cities of China. In addition to the Shanghai branch, there were offices in Beijing, Tienjing and Hankow. The banks business operations were unexpectedly closed shortly after the Russian Communist Revolution in October 1917.

* In the history of the Sino-Russo Asiatic Bank which lasted for 2 decades , only the Shanghai and Beijing branches were known to have cast sycee. Specimens of each type are shown above. 

* Each of the two branches adopted the pattern from its own region when it cast sycee, including the adoption of the local shape, weight and purity standard. In the case of the 50 tael boat, it was featured with all the elements as of other counterparts from the Shanghai Foreign Concession; as to the 1 tael boat, the assaying chop of 十足 (sufficiently pure) and the denotation of 庫平 (the treasury scale) both identify that it originated in Beijin.

* There are known specimens of 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 5 tael boat cast by the Beijing branch,  but only the 50 tael boat was cast by the Shanghai branch.           

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