Chinese Silver Dragon Coins

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7 Mace and 2 Candareens

Dec. 21, 2007 – China only began producing mass circulation silver coins in 1889 when the first modern coining press was imported into the country. As circulated coins until then had largely been the Mexican Silver Dollar, the new coins were based on these, but with Chinese styling. The denomination used, however, was the then-standard “Mace” and “Candareens” – these being units of silver and measurable by weight. Therefore the legitimacy of the coin as being real and worth the value was obtained by weighing and measuring it – these units are the archaic version of what would now be 27.4 grams, containing 0.7814 of an ounce of silver.

Pictured is a real 7 Mace and 2 Candareens coin, which were circulated between 1898-1905 and are more correctly known as Kiang Nan Dollars. There were derivatives of these issued by other provincial governments at the time, however there are also many fakes of this type of coin, produced over the past decades. Some of these have also now become collector’s items, as in order to pass them off the silver content remains high – so they may be worth digging out at a local Chinese market. To ascertain the real thing, however, it will feel “heavy,” and accurate weighing scales would be required if you intend to uncover a legitimate example. Fakes are discernable by their price – from RMB3 each at the Panjiayuan Market in Beijing, to about US$10-15 on eBay. By comparison, the real thing will cost several hundred U.S. dollars from a reputable dealer.

This China cultural article is one of a regular series we are running at China Briefing. Conducting business in China is more than just legal and tax advise; one has to “feel” the country and its rhythms as well in order to properly advise clients on conducting business in this massive country. These China cultural articles are intended to assist with a greater business understanding of the background to doing business in China, and are provided by the research team at Dezan Shira & Associates. To view the China business cultural archives please click here.

35 Responses

  • rick marlow says:

    are chinese emperical silver dollars real? I can’t find any verification .They are the size of American silver dollars

  • Silver says:

    The chinese dollars are real silver but the newer ones are not.

  • Kritika says:

    Are these coins considered lucky ? If yes, then why ?

  • Han-Gwon Lung says:

    I have one of these coins that was passed down from my grandparents, and I’ve looked at some pictures of fakes and I think I have teh real deal based on detail, size of letters, front and back sides, etc. But instead of Hu-Peh Province at the top like in the picture, the coin I have reads “Kiang Nan _______ Province” And the blank is so eroded that whatever was there is gone. Is this a fake or just another version of the real thing?

  • Han-Gwon Lung says:

    oh and it’s definitely silver. The thing rings like crazy when you put it between your fingers and blow on it.

  • Gary Lambdin says:

    I have a coin that is identical to this but it reads teng-tien province. Is this coin real and worth anything? I cannot find anything on this coin!

  • Bruce W. Smith says:

    Imperial Chinese dragon dollars, minted from 1889 to 1911 by various provincial mints, are well documented in both English and Chinese sources. The most comprehensive listing is by Eduard Kann, Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Coins, published in 1954 (reprinted 1966 and 2007). There are many kinds of these dragon coins, including smaller denominations (5, 10, 20 and 50 cents). All are struck in silver. All of the machinery and nearly all of the dies used to make these coins were produced in the United States, England, Germany, Austria and Japan. * * * Regarding the Kiangnan coin, there are no words between KIANGNAN and PROVINCE — the mint simply left a large space there. * * * Regarding the TENG-TIEN coins. These exist only as patterns, that is, samples, made in Germany for examination, but never put into circulation. The first one of these coins was only discovered in 1977 or 1978 — the dollar, struck in aluminum. Since then a few more have turned up so that today we know of: two dollars in aluminum, one dollar in silver, one dollar in copper; at least one half dollar and at least one 20 cent in copper. The dollars are worth US $20,000 or more. The smaller coins are worth $5,000 or more. * * * The Hupeh dragon dollar shown here and some of the Kiangnan dragon dollars are worth US $50 to several hundred dollars depending on condition (an exceptionally nice Kiangnan dollar can bring over $1000). Several different dates exist for the Kiangnan dollar; the Hupeh dollar is undated.

  • Bruce W. Smith says:

    Most of the old Chinese silver dollars offered for sale in China today and on Ebay and at flea markets in the United States are FAKE. They contain little or no silver. At least some of these fakes are made of iron with some sort of plating on the outside — they will be attracted to a magnet. In addition to copies of real coins, sellers in China are also offering coins with mismatched front and back (often from two different provinces) or of designs which never existed. Some of these have blundered English inscriptions. There are a number of factories in China today, particularly in Fujian province, which make a wide variety of FAKE coins — not only Chinese, but also coins from the United States, England, Hong Kong, Japan and other countries.

  • frank says:

    I have a 7 mace and 2 candareens coin from yun(looks like an open lock)nan provence. Can anyone tell me anything about it? It is heavy appears to be silver and is in very good shape.

  • Tony says:

    Do these coins line up front to back? I have a number of them that seem to be misalligned by about five degrees between the front and back of the coin.

  • JD says:

    Okay after reading a great deal on these Chinese Dragon Dollars from here as I could find very little information on these I find myself questioning my own. I have two of these (Fairly Nice Looking – extremely detailed). However mine read @ top front Szechuen Province and @ (bottom) 7 mace and 2 Candareens. If this is a fake it is an extremely good one…Seriously! Can anyone direct me to a place were I might find more heavily detailed information on these coins…Oh Forgot…There is no date on this one…Thanks for your help peeps :)

  • There is a company dealing in Chinese rare coins;chinararecoins.com.They may be able to help you.I have several genuine Chinese silver coins.7 Mace and 2 Candareens which are $1 coins and a 3 mace 6 Candareen coin.
    I hope this helps.
    richie

  • Bruce W. Smith says:

    The most comprehensive and readily available catalog of Chinese dragon coins — and the rest of the world — is Standard Catalog of World Coins, originally compiled in the 1970’s by Chester Krause and Clifford Mishler, later edited by Colin Bruce, and updated every year or two since then. The book is now in 5 volumes, one for each century (1600’s, 1700’s, 1800’s, 1900’s and 2000’s), and is available at many local libraries. It is also available for purchase from coin shops, at coin shows, and online. Each volume is 2 to 3 inches thick, and is now also available as a CD-ROM. There is also a condensed version covering 1900-2000 called Collecting World Coins, also by Krause, Mishler and Colin Bruce. The coins are listed for every country in the world, with photos in actual size.

  • Jimmy Duns says:

    well i couldnt really understand, is the TENG-TIEN PROVINCE SILVER DRAGON COIN worth anything? i do have one and was wondering if it was or not?

  • Francis says:

    Hang on to the Teng Tien Province coin, it should read Feng Tien but these guys were minting Feng Tien In a very foreign language. If in doubt weigh it and measure it. Avoid cleaning it as it could be scratched even finely, and thus knock the collection value. I have several just like it and I think mine are genuine.

  • Mike says:

    I just bought about 500 fake / counterfeit coins that include 7 Mace and 2 Candareens coins, Japanese Meiji, Indian (KG V, Vicoria rupees) among others. All coins pass the magnet test as a magnet will not stick so I assume they have silver in them. They pass the tissue test and the ring test. They all weigh about 20% less than what the real coin should but are either exact or very close to the diameter of the actual coin. Some very interesting ones. I wonder what the % of silver is in these coins? Would they be worth more melted down or sold individually on ebay?

  • SYLVESTER GRAY says:

    I have seen a silver chinese coin with the dragon,but without any english written above or below! so what does this mean?

  • Bob Berzley says:

    I have a one dollar china dragon coin which is the size of a U.S. silver dollar, approximately the same weight, and passes the magnet test,(won’t stick), and unless the date is in chinese, there is no date on it..

    I have seen one just like it,(to my naked eye) on the numismaster web site last week, it was an article about the coin which had been published in the World Coin News, Feb 8, 2011. It was an undated one dollar chinese dragon coin, which sold at auction in Germany for $625.000. However, i have been unable to relocate the article again.

    I am wondering where I might be able to get more information on my coin. Or, at least find out what it is??

    Thank You

  • saptarshi mitra says:

    hey i have a china dragon hu peh province coin 3 mace 6 canaderrans..which i saw in the net is authentic nw i wd like to knw its presence of silver in it and what is its market value??..pls help me out

  • hilda says:

    this might be useful. it shows real examples of different versions of this coin. found out mine was fake :/ no inverted A as a V and it stuck to a magnet. oh well :)

  • Manfred Kremer says:

    I bought a coin in the nightmarket in Hongkong. It is 7 Mace and 2 Candareens.

    It is not magnetic and it is silver coated (you can test that by putting half of a hard boiled egg on the surface for some time, it gets grey stains).

    It weighs not 27.4 g (as the real one should weigh), but 23 g. If one scratches off some silver coating, one can see that the inside is made of brass. Put some vinegar on it and leave it over night, the brass will oxidize and be clearer to see.

    Diamater and thickness are correct.

    Funny enough, on the English side it says “Hu Peh Province”, on the Chinese side it says “Hunan province” in Chinese characters. The coin looks excellent, but it is a fake.

    So be warned, there are many things to rule out, and even then it may be a fake.

  • Nik says:

    I have a extremely rare coins from a personal collection of a very famous collector and have done several tests to ensure authenticity of the coins. However i don’t understand teh exact worth, i found some links below on the price of coins in questions and several auctions these coins have received bids up to USD 32K.

    http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=1605253

    http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/COINS-%26-BANKNOTES/2010-News-Archive/Chinese-silver-dollar-doubles-its-estimate/2255.page

    Also, can someone tell me worth for the coin mentioned below.

    http://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces7387.html

  • Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Nik, you’d better take those to a reputable coin dealer.
    There’s several articles on old Chinese money – Tibetan Srang, the Chinese Silver Dragon, and banknotes issued by Xinjiang Warlords in the (free download) China Expat book available at http://www.chinaexpat.com/book

  • farhan shamsi says:

    sir,
    i have old chines provnces coins n 7 mace n 2 canadians coins also so i want to sell out can u tell me the current value of these coins

  • john says:

    hi i have a chinese coin i got few months ago
    it has on front cheh-kiang province
    7 mace 2 candareens
    it supposed to be silver but looks more like gold
    i got it tested it isnt gold
    i have pictures of it just like to know more bout it
    thanks

  • Amy Camp says:

    I have a Dragon Coin that is the size of a USA Quarter. Looks brass or copper. Says Fung-Tien province, Ten Cash. Was trying to find out more information, like if its real or not. Does it have value?

  • Damien Gregory says:

    I have a Hupeh dollar,Y-127.1, that I have been told is not genuine. This coin was obtained in China during WWII, and has been in my family’s possession since then. I am aware of the high volume of counterfeits currently being produced, but I am confused concerning the counterfeiting of coins during, and before, WWII. Could anyone recommend someone who could examine high resolution photos of the coin to determine its authenticity, or recommend a reference that would provide photos of counterfeits to use for comparison?

  • RISHAV JAIN says:

    Sir i have imperial chinese dragon 1 dollar coin of TENG-TIEN PROVINCE of 7 mace and 2 candareens in silver with original tone and lustre. kindly let me know the detail of this coin and its worth. it is an original coin and there is no doubt about the piece . thanx . regards RISHAV.

  • RISHAV JAIN says:

    SIR kindly let me know the current value of the imperial chinese dragon 1 dollar coin of TENG-TIEN PROVINCE OF 7 MACE AND 2 CANDEREENS. Its agenuine coin with original tone and lustre. thanx. regards RISHAV

  • Omazero says:

    To Rishav Jain:

    There’s no TENG-TIEN PROVINCE. but the spell is FENG TIEN PROVINCE . the value of 7mace and 2 candareen equal to S1 dolar. in current market price is up to US$4999
    i,m afraid you got the fake one.

  • Peter Ciccarello says:

    I bought this 7 mace and 2 candareen when I was station in taipei taiwan in 1962 trying to find some place were I can show the coin I live in Rocky Mount va 24151 note the 7 is block out but thr rest is their its a hu-peh coin

  • Brian M says:

    Hey :)

    I have been doing some crazy amount of research, and can’t find any info on this sertain coin. It is a 7 mace and 2 candareens. I have seen pixs of all the provinces coins aswell. The one I have says “HU BEN” province. Is anything special about this one? Or do I melt it for its silver?
    Please help me.

  • lieke van geffen says:

    hey there, i dont know much about coins. ive googled everywhere to find one the same as mine to see if its real or not. the closest ive found say
    yun-nan-province 7 mace and 2 candareens but mine says
    yun nan province 7 mace and 2 candareens

    does that mean mine is fake?

    thanks

  • Jenny says:

    To lieke van geffen: You said you’ve done crazy amount of research & have found information regarding the
    Yun-Nan-Province 7 Mace and 2 Candareens coin. . . can you please direct me to the site. I have recently purchased some of these coins but don’t know if they are fakes or if they will go towards my kid(s) college education. Thank You!

  • wwinmee says:

    i am also who love to collect somethings old and rare . but i have no idea to sell them before. i collected old silver coin most are china , japan and ,hong kong 1867 one teal ..1804 america coils too .. about 200 o coils …where i can post images for show them all. for collectors

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