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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Asian Coins| ▸ |Vietnam||View Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of Vietnam

Vietnam was the only region to rival China in the production of cash coins, issuing a vast variety over a 1000 year period, from 960 A.D. to the early 20th century. The coins of Vietnam relate to historically relevant people, places, and events, and include coins issued by rebels and competing political factions.


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Later Le Restoration, Le Trang Tong, 1533 - 1548, Unofficial

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Later Le Restoration is a distinction current in Vietnamese historiography. This period marked the ending of first Le dynasty which had flourished for 100 years from 1427 to 1527 until the high-ranking mandarin Mac Dang Dung stole the throne of emperor Le Cung Hoang in 1527 and established the Mac dynasty, ruling the whole territory of Vietnam. The Le royalists escaped to the Kingdom of Lan Xang (now Laos). The Right Commander-General of the Five Armies, Nguyen Kim, summoned the people loyal to the Le emperor to form the new army and to organize a revolution against the Mac. Nguyen Kim returned to the land of Vietnam and led the six-year civil war. Nguyen Kim was poisoned and the power of royal court was succeeded to his son-in- law Trinh Kiem, founder of Trinh clan.
VN86956. Copper cash, Greenbaum 10, Hartill -, Toda -, F, chalky deposits, weight 3.036 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1533 - 1548; obverse Thien Thong Hi Bao, Thien in seal script, Zi and Tong in regular script; reverse plain; rare; $40.00 (35.20)


Kingdom of Quangnam (Southern Vietnam), The Nguyen Lords, Nguyen Phuc Khoat (Vo Vuong), 1738 - 1765

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In 1744 Nguyen Phuc Khoat proclaimed the southern region a kingdom and took the regnal name Vo Vuong. Although he listened to music by western missionaries, Vo Vuong banned both missionaries and Christianity. He expanded his territory, taking parts of Cambodia. The Vietnamese-Cambodian border established by the end of his reign remains the border today. After declining availability of coins became a serious problem, in 1746 he purchased zinc from Dutch merchants to cast coins. He also allowed over 100 private mints. Unfortunately, some of these mints mixed cheaper black lead (lead) with the white lead (zinc). In 1776, Le Quy Don wrote in Phu Bien Tap Luc ('Miscellaneous records in the border area'), "There was one kind of coin called Thien Minh Thong Bao, which had black lead mixed in and became very fragile. People refused to accept it because of its ugliness; therefore the trade did not go smoothly, coins were not circulated well."Vo Vuong
VN83965. Zinc cash, Barker 85.1, Toda 285, VF, earthen deposits, weight 1.703 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, 1746 - 1765; obverse Thien Minh Thong Bao; reverse plain; $20.00 (17.60)


Kingdom of Quangnam (Southern Vietnam), The Nguyen Lords, Nguyen Phuc Khoat (Vo Vuong), 1738 - 1765

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In 1744 Nguyen Phuc Khoat proclaimed the southern region a kingdom and took the regnal name Vo Vuong. Although he listened to music by western missionaries, Vo Vuong banned both missionaries and Christianity. He expanded his territory, taking parts of Cambodia. The Vietnamese-Cambodian border established by the end of his reign remains the border today. After declining availability of coins became a serious problem, in 1746 he purchased zinc from Dutch merchants to cast coins. He also allowed over 100 private mints. Unfortunately, some of these mints mixed cheaper black lead (lead) with the white lead (zinc). In 1776, Le Quy Don wrote in Phu Bien Tap Luc ('Miscellaneous records in the border area'), "There was one kind of coin called Thien Minh Thong Bao, which had black lead mixed in and became very fragile. People refused to accept it because of its ugliness; therefore the trade did not go smoothly, coins were not circulated well."Vo Vuong
VN83966. Zinc cash, Barker 85.2, Toda 285, VF, earthen deposits, weight 2.134 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, 1746 - 1765; obverse Thien Minh Thong Bao; reverse plain, thin raised rim on edge; $20.00 (17.60)


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Unknown King or Rebel, c. 1600 - 1700

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A number of cash coin types bearing the names of princes, of rebel chiefs, or of various mints have not been classified. Their Annamese origin is established, but no precise dates or other information. Many are from the Quang-nam Principality, the rulers of which were de facto kings and issued coins at various times. The names of these rulers are unknown. Some rebels who issued coins are otherwise entirely unrecorded by history.
VN83970. Bronze cash, Toda 264 (unclassified), Barker -, aVF, dark green patina, light dusting of chalky earthen deposit, weight 1.263 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, c. 1600 - 1700; obverse Thien Nguyen thong bao, regular script, nguyen in seal script; reverse blank; $18.00 (15.84)


Dai Ngu (Northern Vietnam), The Ho Dynasty, 1400 - 1407

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The Ho Dynasty was a short-lived six-year reign of two emperors, Ho Quy Ly in 1400 to 1401 and his second son, Ho Han Thuong, from 1401 to 1407. In 1400, Ho Qui Ly dethroned the last Tran emperor, declared himself emperor, and renamed the country from Dai Viet to Dai Ngu. In 1401, he abdicated in favor of his second son Ho Han Thuong. In accordance with the former Tran dynasty's tradition, Ho Qui-Ly styled himself as Emperor Emeritus and still possessed much power over state affairs. In 1402 the Ho forced the Champa king to surrender southern Quang Nam and northern Quang Ngai. Ho Qui Ly initiated many economic, financial and educational reforms. He introduced paper money, but it failed due to counterfeiting. More successful reforms included land reform, opening of ports to foreign trade, reform of the judiciary, improved health care and opening the education system to the study mathematics and agriculture alongside Confucian texts. A surviving Tran prince appealed to the Chinese emperor. The Tran prince and a Chinese ambassador accompanying him to claim his throne were ambushed and killed. The Ming army invaded. Ho Qui-Ly was captured, exiled to China, and forced to enlist in the Ming army as a common soldier. Ho Qui Ly and Ho Han Thuong both died in Chinese exile.
VN83971. Bronze cash, Toda 31, Barker 122.1 and 138, aVF, dark patina, light dusting of highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.519 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, 1402 - 1407; obverse Thanh Nguyen Thong Bao, seal script; reverse plain, no rim, hole nearly round; $18.00 (15.84)


Kingdom of Quangnam (Southern Vietnam), The Nguyen Lords, Nguyen Phuc Khoat (Vo Vuong), 1738 - 1765

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In 1744 Nguyen Phuc Khoat proclaimed the southern region a kingdom and took the regnal name Vo Vuong. Although he listened to music by western missionaries, Vo Vuong banned both missionaries and Christianity in 1750. He expanded his territory, taking parts of Cambodia. The Vietnamese-Cambodian border established by the end of his reign remains the border today. After declining availability of coins became a serious problem, in 1746 he purchased zinc from Dutch merchants to cast coins. He also allowed over 100 private mints. These mints became a problem when they mixed cheaper black lead (lead) with the white lead (zinc). In 1776, Le Quy Don wrote in Phu Bien Tap Luc ('Miscellaneous records in the border area'), "There was one kind of coin called Thien Minh Thong Bao, which had black lead mixed in and became very fragile. People refused to accept it because of its ugliness; therefore the trade did not go smoothly, coins were not circulated well."Vo Vuong
VN83964. Zinc cash, Barker 85.1, Toda 285, VF, earthen deposits, weight 1.852 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, 1746 - 1765; obverse Thien Minh Thong Bao; reverse plain; $18.00 (15.84)


Vietnam, Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen The To (Gia Long), 1 June 1802 - 3 February 1820

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A nephew of the last Nguyen lord who ruled southern Vietnam, at age 15, Nguyen The To (also known as Nguyen Anh) was forced into hiding when his family was slain in the Tay Son revolt. After several changes of fortune in which his loyalists regained and again lost Saigon, he befriended the French Catholic priest Pigneau de Behaine. Pigneau recruited volunteers to help him take the throne. From 1789, he advanced north, defeating the Tay Son, reaching the Chinese border 1802, and reuniting all Vietnam, from China down to the Gulf of Siam, after centuries of feudal warfare. He took the regnal name Gia Long, moved the capital from Hanoi to Hue, and reinstated Confucian education and civil service. In return for French support, he tolerated Catholic missionaries, which was increasingly restricted under his successors. Using French expertise, he modernized Vietnam's military, gained dominance in Indochina, and made Cambodia into a vassal state.Gia Long
VN84043. Zinc Cash (7 Phan), Barker 99.11, Toda 213, SCWC KM 173a, Schroeder 441, VF, thin patina and earthen deposits, weight 2.625 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, 1 Jun 1802 - 3 Feb 1820; obverse Gia Long Thong Bao; reverse That phan (right to left, seven phan); $18.00 (15.84)


Dai Viet (Northern Vietnam), The Mac Dynasty, c. 1540 - 1590

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In A Guide to Cash Coins, pages 142 - 143, David Hartill provides convincing evidence attributing this type to the Mac in the north, cast from c. 1540 - 1590.
VN83975. Bronze cash, Hartill Cash, small copper, distinct calligraphy group 1 (An Phap Type), 2.822; cf. Toda 17 (running script nguyen), Barker 13.1 - 13.2 (larger), aVF, dark patina, chalky highlighting deposit dusting, weight 1.245 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, 1540 - 1590; obverse Nguyen Phong Thong Bao, in seal script; reverse plain, no rim; $16.00 (14.08)


Dai Viet (Vietnam), Later Le Dynasty, Le Thanh Tong, 1460 - 1497

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Le Thanh Tong was the 5th emperor of the Later Le dynasty. In 1459, his elder half brother, Nghi Dan, staged a coup and killed their brother, the emperor Le Nhan Tong. Nine months later, Nghi Dan was executed by rebels. Prince Tu Thanh, then 17, was asked to become the new emperor and he accepted. Known by his posthumous name, Le Thanh Tong, was the most prominent of all the Le rulers and one of the greatest Emperors in Vietnamese history. His rule was one of the high points in the history of Vietnam. Le Thanh Tong created and widely distributed a new legal code, also called Hong Duc. The new laws included recognition of the higher position of women in society. Parental consent was not required for marriage, and daughters were granted equal inheritance rights with sons. Le Thang Tong tried to be and essentially succeeded in becoming the ideal Confucian ruler; he was deeply concerned with maintaining a good government and keeping personal morality.
VN86967. Copper cash, Barker 35.8, aVF, red and green patina, earthen deposits, light green encrustations, weight 3.154 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1460 - 1497; obverse Quang Thuan Thong Bao, two dot Thong; reverse plain; $12.00 (10.56)


Giao Chi (Chinese Occupied Northern Vietnam), Le-Loi's War of Independence, 1414 - 1428

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The Chinese invaded Dai Ngu (northern Vietnam) in 1407, and, after seven years of resistance from rebels and Annamese who remained loyal to the last two Tran Dynasty kings, they occupied the country, and it was formally annexed to China as Giao Chi. Le Loi began his campaign against the Ming Empire on the day after Tet (New Year) in February 1418. By 1427, the original Ming army of occupation had been ground down and destroyed. The new Ming ruler, the Xuande Emperor, wished to end the war, but his advisors convinced him to send a massive army (some 100,000 strong) into Giao Chi. The final campaign did not start well for the Ming forces. Le Loi's forces staged a mock retreat. The Ming general, Liu Sheng, urging his troops forward, was cut off from the main part of his army, captured and executed. Then, by sending false reports of dissent within the ranks of Le Loi's generals, the Ming army was lured to Hanoi where it was surrounded and destroyed in a series of battles. The Ming army lost over 90,000 men (60,000 killed and 30,000 captured). During Le-Loi's rebellion several coin types were cast for the payment of his followers. They are all of diminutive size, and the copper employed varies in color according to the provinces wherein the coins were cast.
VN83972. Bronze cash, Toda 48, Barker -, aVF, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.209 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, rebel mint, 1417 - 1428; obverse Tri Thanh Binh Bao, regular script; reverse plain, no rim, hole nearly round; $12.00 (10.56)




  



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REFERENCES|

Barker, A. The Historical Cash Coins of Viet Nam. (Singapore, 2004).
Greenbaum, C. The Nguyn Ho Era Coins of Vietnam (1533-1548 AD). (Nantes, 2013).
Krause, C.L. & C. Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. (Iola, WI, 2010 - ).
Krisadaolarn, R. & V. Milhailovs. Siamese Coins: From Funan to the Fifth Reign. (Bangkok, 2012).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2: the Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values, Vol. 3: Non-Islamic States & Western Colonies. (London, 1979).
Mitchiner, M. "Some Early Annamese Cash" in NC XI. (London. 1971).
Novak, J. A Working Aid for Collectors of Annamese Coins. (Merced, CA, 1989).
Schroeder, A. Albert Schroeder's Gold and Silver Coins of Annam. (London, 1968).
Toda, E. Annam and its Minor Currency. (1882).

Catalog current as of Monday, August 19, 2019.
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