Spade-shaped Coin with Three Holes inscribed "Wang Dayu"
The State of Zhao (403-222 BCE) in the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE)
Overall length 5.5 cm, width 2.9 cm, weight 7g
The coin's stem, shoulders, arch, and feet are all rounded. The stem and feet have holes. One side of the coin is inscribed "Wang Dayu"(王大于), the other side "Twelve Zhu". The coin was issued by the State of Zhao in the middle Warring States period.
The spade-shaped coin with three holes is the most valuable among all pre-Qin coins. Generally, the coin's obverse was cast with a place name and no lines, while the reverse specified its weight, liang for the heavier coin, "12 zhu", which is half a liang, for the lighter one. The stem of the coin is inscribed with "12".
The spade-shaped coin with three holes was the coinage of Zhao in the middle Warring States period. More than twenty place names written on coins of this type have been deciphered, and it has been shown that they refer to dependencies of Zhao. The reverse not only specifies the weight but is also inscribed with the number "12". In addition, according to the inherited relationship between the spade-shaped coin with three holes and the spade-shaped coin with round-foot, the place names on the coin, and the historical records, it is believed the spade-shaped coin with three holes was probably cast in the era of prince Zhang, eldest son of King Wuling of Zhao, who destroyed the State of Zhongshan (414-296 BCE).
According to Eastern Zhou and Qin Civilizations by Li Xueqin, the inscription on the head of the spade-shaped coin with three holes in the Capital Museum has been interpreted as "Wang Kua"(王夸) or "Yu Tai"(玉太) in the Dictionary of Chinese Ancient and Modern Spring Coins written by Qiu Wenming of the United States. "Wang Dayu" is the interpretation of Tang Shifu. In addition, He Linyi also made a study of the place name on the coin in his article Research on a spade-shaped coin inscribed "Wang Kua." His study of the pronunciation of geographical names related to "Wang Kua" and state affiliations in historical documents led him to conclude that "Wang Kua", "Wang Zhu", "Wang Du", and "Qing Du" are all phonetic transliterations of a single place. According to The Book of the State of Yan and the Book of the State of Zhongshan, "Wang Zhu" (recorded in DiLi Zhi as "Wangdu") belonged to Zhongshan, and according to the Basic Annals of the First Emperor of Qin, "Qingdu" belonged to Zhao. The written records can be mutually verified with the viewpoint, which says the spade-shaped coin with three holes is the "latest coin issued by the state of Zhao" in the Warring States period.