Xianchun Yuanbao coin

Southern Song Dynasty
Diameter: 3.7 cm, Weight: 7.2 g

The Xianchun Yuanbao coin is a ‘master coin’, a model directly sand-cast from the prototype for mass production of coins. Though slightly inferior to the prototype, it is still of an exceptionally high quality in material and workmanship. This coin is made of first-rate copper, with a clear, elegant inscription and a fish-back-shaped edge that give it a high aesthetic value.
Xianchun Yuanbao is the name for coins made in the reign of Xianchun (or Emperor Duzong, 1263~1274) in Southern Song Dynasty, which have three kinds of values, with regular-script inscriptions read vertically and their undersides marked with the years in which they were made (from ‘the first’ to ‘the eighth’). Since no coins were made from the reign of Emperor Gongdi to the end of Song Dynasty, this was the last kind of square-holed round coins made in the dynasty.