A Forgotten Kueichow Official Monetary Bureau Drum in 5 Taels
Weight: 182 grams/5 taels
Zhen Yuan (County) (Official) Monetary Bureau
* In the last year of the Kuang Hsu reign (1908, 1875-1908), the Kueichow government promoted a move to uniform weight and fineness for all sycee cast and circulated in the province. it also established a central bank of the province-The Kueichow Official Monetary Bureau (貴州官錢局), and opened branches in several major counties, such as Chun Yi (遵義), Li Ping (黎平), Zhen Yuan (鎮遠).
* The Bureau and its branches cast sycee using 36.28 grams as one tael and 98% as the uniform fineness. Based on the standardized sycee, the Bureau and its branches were able to issue sycee notes denominated in the same fashion. Reportedly, a series of sycee notes of 1, 5 and 10 taels were actually printed by the Bureau as a trial issue.
* Even though the reform was viewed favorably by the cabinet of the Hsuan Tung reign (1909-1911), it failed totally within a year since the Kueichow province was running out of budget.
* Until recently, the only known relics of this unsuccessful monetary reform conducted over 90 years ago were a few pieces of 1 tael Round or Half Ball cast by the Bureau and its branches, and we almost forgot that there might be other sycee of greater value cast to correspond with the experimental sycee notes. The discovery of this 5 tael drum cast by Zhen Yuan Monetary Bureau helps make the story more complete.
Return to Sycee Talks