Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Who needs eBay? Meet chancientcoins.com.

Go straight to the source!

If it's fake Chinese coins you need, whether cash coins, or struck coins, this company is probably the source of many of the fake coins on eBay that are sold by middlemen in China. Though I hate to discourage the petty entrepreneur by going around him, in this case I don't feel too bad. Besides, why limit yourself to what Zhou Shimou (Joe Schmo in Pinyin) has in his auction if it's not exactly what you're looking for. Take a look at this!


The prices can be pretty high, but if you are looking for that special 'space filler' copy of a coin you'd like to own for which you cannot find an authentic specimen, it might be worth it to look here. This company also has periodic 'sales' so it pays to visit on a regular basis if you're looking for something at a good price.

Looking at what appears on their welcome page, don't let those high prices dissuade you. They're just there to make it look like they're dealing in legitimate product, although if you know foreign coins, you'll notice right away that only the first piece, a replica 1847 British Gothic crown (called 'kroner' by these folks), is a copy of a real coin. The rest are fantasies.

The quality of these 'high end' replicas is sometimes very high, the Gothic crown, for example, and the Hei Lung Kiang dollar, both of which look really convincing, but then some others, even on this spendy page, are pure junk, like this Sungarei tael (spelled 'Teal' on the coin). I think I've seen this last piece somewhere on eBay starting at 99 cents.

I'm not sure that you couldn't talk them down on some of these prices if they thought you were a serious buyer. If that Gothic crown replica is real silver and that nice, I might pay $50 for it, as a replica, but no more. It probably isn't pure silver, though, and in that case, even $20 might be too much. As for their asking price of $500... good luck!

Spades and Early Round Coins (No Knife Coins!)

Looking at their cash coins, starting with the first category Shang-Zhou-Warring States they have some fairly authentic looking pieces, but I imagine in hand they would not look as authentic.The prices they're asking for these are still too high, even starting at $8 each. I'd pass on this section, unless I was really needy of some odd piece for maybe educational purposes. Many of these can be found as fake coins on eBay—and eBay should be so proud!

Qin, Han, and Xin (Wang Mang) 

I really had to laugh when I noticed a set of two different SILVER huo bu spades, at the low, low price of only $120 a set. Except for the ultra rare replicas, most of the stuff in this section you can buy as authentic pieces at prices very close to what they're asking. Does that mean that their pieces are authentic? Probably not. But it's fun to pretend, isn't it, otherwise they wouldn't be in business.

Three Kingdoms and Pre-Tang

The replicas (copies, fakes, all mean the same, they are modern-made) of the early cash coins before the Tang dynasty are an interesting group, still over-priced, I'm afraid.

A complete Northern Zhou set with that lovely 'hanging needle' calligraphy will cost you $30 if you're willing to pay it. If you are satisfied with just the crown of the set, the Yong Tong Wan Guo, you can get a nice copy of that coin for only $8.

Sui, Tang, and Five Dynasty Ten Kingdoms

Here the replicas are a mix of fairly decent and a few silly, and the price range is between $6 and $25, with most in the $8 to $12 range.

You can get a nice set of De Yi multiples, one with crescent above, the other below, for a mere $15. The patina on most of these pieces looks pretty real too. If you buy any of these, you'd better pull out the old bottle of white ink and your quill, so you can mark the pieces as 'COPY'.

Northern & Southern Song Dynasties

I almost didn't want to look here, because these are my favorite dynasties. Silver oversized replicas are for sale, along with roughly made large Da Guan charms, and other oddities. Again, the drop dead price per piece here is $6 for one coin, with $8 to $12 being more normal, and a few more expensive pieces, either because they are made of silver or for some other mysterious reason.

If you're silly enough to pay $35 for a badly fake-patinated set of value-1, 2, and 3 Daguan Tongbao (see image above), then I'm sure you deserve to have them. As for me, I am happy to own several dozen authentic cash of this reign title in sizes value-1 and value-10 in bronze, and value-3 in iron, along with one or two deplorable fakes which have come my way.

In Conclusion

I could continue down their list and review the other sections, but I am getting a bit fatigued. I will say that in my other favorite dynastic period, Ming and Ming Rebels, they have some very nice replicas of some of the larger cash multiples which are actually collectible, but overpriced.

Many of these will turn up at regular eBay sellers of fakes, so find what you want here at chancient.com and, if you can't get them to give you a lower price on something you want, wait for it to come around on eBay, it probably will.

A Final Note

I've mentioned using white ink to mark directly on a cash coin that it is a COPY. Some of the cash coins in my collection must have belonged to museum collections at one time, or at least were in personal collections of serious collectors since the second World War or earlier, because they are marked on the backs with old catalog reference numbers.

I used white ink and a metal quill pen as a youngster when we pasted our black and white photographs into black paged photo albums, and I'm guessing this was the same ink used to inscribe numbers on some of my older cash coins.

What I just discovered, looking on the web, is that they make white gel pens. I am wondering if they would work to mark on metal and be visible, like the old white ink was. If anyone knows the answer to this, let me know. Otherwise I'll buy a white gel pen and experiment.


  1. This is just astounding information!
    How can an amateur trust anything at auction or flea market? Thanks much.

  2. You just have to study and gain experience. Whatever coin series you are interested in, go to the trusted dealers and buy from them, and gradually build your knowledge. This blog has a list of trusted dealers on eBay but it's out of date. Still, most of the trusted ones are still selling. It's the dealers of fakes who come and go, lasting only long enough to make some money before they are discovered.