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Banknote Book & CPG® PRICE GUIDE

Greysheet Catalog Details
Paper was invented in China around 100 CE, and woodblock printing was also invented in China around 600 CE. The first banknotes appeared, as far as is known, around 50 years later. It is, however, still unknown, exactly how many and what kinds of banknotes were issued in China over the 750-year period between circa 650 CE and the early 15th century, when issuance ceased. All examined notes carry a Chinese title that translates to Banknote of the X Dynasty, where X is the name of the Chinese Imperial Dynasty. Each Emperor within a Dynasty had at least one, and in many cases several, reign names. If a reign name was changed mid-reign, it was usually due to auspicious, or inauspicious, events. The reign name and year number thereof generally appear at bottom left front. The three imperial dynasties most relevant to Chinese banknotes (name and dates in parentheses) are the Tang (唐, 618 - 907), Yuan (元, 1271 - 1368), and Ming (明, 1368 - 1644). Between the Tang and the Yuan Dynasties, China was divided and a number of regional dynasties were active, including the (Northern and Southern) Song (宋, 960 - 1279), Liao (遼, 916 - 1218), and Jin (金, 1115 - 1234) Dynasties. The Chinese character for the dynasty name generally appears as the second character from the right on the note title on top (the rightmost character being 大 = “Great,” so 唐大 = “Great Tang,” etc.). No specific issuer name is stated and this catalog presumes they were emitted by the Imperial Treasury, or similar institution. Due to their rarity and antiquity, buyers should be extremely skeptical of any unauthenticated Imperial Treasury banknote available on the market.

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