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Desirable Shantung Pattern 20 Cash

By Kyle Ponterio, Senior Numismatist & Cataloger

Author: Kyle Ponterio / Wednesday, March 07, 2018 / Categories: World Coin of the Week

This week’s we offer another highlight from the Q. David Bowers/R.B. White Collection of Chinese Copper Coins to be offered in our April 2-4, 2018 Hong Kong auction as a stand along catalog. This extremely rare and desirable Shantung pattern 20 Cash is dated the twenty-second year of the Republic of China.  It displays a familiar design with the crossed flags of the Republic of China (right) and the Kuomintang (left) with tassels hanging between, Chinese inscription above and below from right to left as “中華民國廿二年” (Zhong hua ming guo nian er nian) (Republic of China twenty-second year (1933)) and “山東省造” (Shan dong sheng zao) (Made in Shandong province). The reverse displays a more refined style smaller wreath with central Chinese inscription that reads as “貳拾文” (er shi wen) (twenty wen (cash)), encircled by a beaded border then flanked by five-petaled rosettes at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, Chinese inscription “銅元” (Tong yuan) (Copper Dollar) above and English inscription “Twenty Cash” below.  The design features are simple yet elegant.

Scouring the internet and reference books reveals little information about these issues. No major events seemed to take place during or around their time of manufacture other than Governor Han Fuju unifying Shantung province in autumn of 1932 after defeating Liu Zhennian the “King of Eastern Shandong.”  After his triumph and the unification, Governor Han Fuju cracked down on narcotics trafficking and banditry virtually wiping them out under his watch. He was a strict disciplinarian, but also very generous making significant advancements to his province by donating to schools and hospitals and making civic improvements. It is suspected that after the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese war, Governor Han Fuju conspired with the Japanese to protect his province and his power.  When he discovered that the Japanese had crossed the Yellow River he abandoned his post. He was later arrested, tried and used by Chiang Kai-shek as an example of what comes from disobeying a direct order.  It is said that he was executed by General Hu Zongnan with a single gunshot to the back of the head.

Whatever the reason for their manufacture one thing is for certain, more research is needed to solve this numismatic mystery.

We are no longer accepting consignments for our April Hong Kong auction. We are however taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our May Collectors Choice Online (CCO), our August 2018 Hong Kong, August 2018 American Numismatic Association (ANA), October 2018 Collectors Choice Online (CCO) and our 2019 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) auctions. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.​​​