the 14th century, Ho dynasty printed Viet Nam's first leaf money (paper
money) with designs of seaweed, waves, clouds, and turtles using a simple
lithographic process. The material was passed through 2
carved stone rollers, which was inked with vegetable dyes. After the
Ho dynasty, money went back to being made from metal.
Tien Viet co the thanh 3 tieu muc:
1. Tien te Viet Nam duoi thoi phong kien 968-1874
2. Tien te Viet Nam duoi thoi Phap thuoc 1875-1846
3. Tien te Viet Nam duoi thoi ky doc lap, tu chu 1952-1975
Dong tien dau tien duoc duc duoi trieu vua Dinh Tien Hoang, mang chu "Thai Binh Hung Bao". Trong 1000 nam, tu nha Han den nha Nguyen, cac trieu vua da phat hanh kha nhieu tien, nhung so lieu ve tien duc va luu hanh khong ro vi khong co van kho.
The European commercial ships came to Viet Nam for commerce from 17th century
during the conflict between Trinh and Nguyen Lords. Foreign coins, local pieces of "sou", zinc coins were
utilized in business. When realizing Viet Nam is abundant in its resources,
the French want to occupy it because of their savage ambition. After Saigon
lost to the French in 1859, the Bank of Indochina was founded. The French
gradually replaced the foreign coins, pieces of "sou", ingots of gold by
Indochinese money to mark France's domination over the Indochina peninsula
consisting of colony of Cochinchina, protectorates of Annam and Tonkin,
Cambodia, and Laos.
In 1875, the French brought their 1 centime coins and had them punched
with hole at a Navy arsenal in Saigon. This coin was named sapeque and
intended to replace all Viet Nam coins. Since the rate of exchange was
not clear and lucrative, the centime was not preferred by the local people.
In 1879, the French produced a series of new coins to be used in Cochinchina.
The word COCHINCHINE FRANCAISE (French Cochinchina) was printed on all
the coins. They were composed of:
cent, 20 cent, and 50 cent silver coins, with picture of a seated lady
wearing crown symbolized of the republic of France.
1 cent bronze coins, with
centered rectangular hole and Chinese BACH PHAN CHI (one
percentage). It looked like a playing card thus local people called
it XU LA BAI (one-cent playing card coin).
The sapeque was casted again
with many new models made of brass, valued 1/5 of 1 cent. It was larger
than the centime, with centered square hole, and in Chinese - FRENCH ANNAM
DAI PHAP QUOC CHI AN NAM and DANG NHI. In
1885, the first 1 piastre silver coin was made, weighted 27.2156 gram
and pure silver of .9000 fine, after the design of the Republic Lady.
OF THE PROTECTORATE OF TONKIN
In 1905, the French issued another model of sapeque to North Viet Nam to
replace all bronze coins but without success. On one side of the coin, the
words PROTECTORAT DU TONKIN and on the other side, the Chinese LUC BACH
PHAN NHAT CHI THONG BAO indicating the value of this piece was 1/600 of
COINS OF INDOCHINA
At the end of 1885, all coins from sapeque to piastre were imprinted with
the sign of INDO-CHINE FRANCAISE instead of COCHICHINE FRANCAISE so they
could be used in entire Indochina. The production of Indochina sapeque
was stopped in 1903. Their values were declined since WW1 and the silver
content in the coin were continuously reduced. The first 20 cent coin
weighs 5.4331 gram with pure silver of .9000 fine. The last ones weighs
5.400 gram with pure silver.6800 fine.
A number of coins with new style
were made to replace the old ones.
1895, the 1 cent brass coins with symbol of France and Chinese BACH PHAN
NHAT CHI (1/100 of a piastre).
In 1923, the 5 cent bronze/nickel
coins with symbol of France wearing wreath of olive branches.
In 1931, the 1 piastre silver
coins weighing 20 gram and pure silver of .9000 fine, with symbol of France
wearing olive wrath.
In 1935, the 1/2 cent brass
coins with Liberty hat and letters RF.
OF INDOCHINA DURING JAPANESE OCCUPATION
During WW2, Paris was occupied on June 66 1940 which caused trouble on
politics and economics in Indochina. Communication with France was interrupted
and under the Japanese oppression in every aspect, the Indochinese government
changed the coins several times to mark new phases.
The coins produced
in this era were:
1939, 10 cent and 20 cent brass/nickel coins, with symbol of France holding
a branch of rice on the front, and picture of a bunch of rice branches
on the back.
In 1940, 1 cent bronze coins,
with picture of a Phrygian hat (bonnet phrygien= a red hat appeared in
In 1943, 1 and 5 cent aluminum
coins, with the words ETAT FRANCAISE.
In 1943, 1/4 cent bronze coins,
with the words ETAT FRANCAISE.
OF INDOCHINA AFTER WW2
The world war ended; the Japanese surrendered; the French followed the
Allied forces to disarm the Japanese in order to return to Viet Nam. The
Franco-Vietnamese war started again and the struggle for Viet Nam independence
grew stronger and stronger. In 1945, the French government in Indochina
issued a new metal coins made of cheaper material.
The coins of Indochina
increasingly lost value.
5, 10, and 20 cent aluminum coins, with the same design of bunch of rice
branches as of 1939.
1 piastre bronze/nickel coins,
also with the design of a bunch of rice branches.
50 cent bronze/nickel coins,
with the picture of Republic Lady.
OF FRENCH UNION
After the world war, the French economics was exhausted while the
battlefield of Indochina became raging. France wanted to mollify the high
tide of struggle for Viet Nam independence by using politics rather than
military forces. The Ha Long Agreement was signed followed by the Auriol-Bao Dai Agreement in 1949. According to these two agreements,
France should recognize the independence and unification of Viet Nam with
a condition that Viet Nam would join the French Union. The coins were
again changed their names.
In 1953, the National Institute of Issue of Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam
produced 3 kinds of new coins made of aluminum: 10, 20, and 50 cent with
picture of 3 Vietnamese girls representing North, Central, and South Viet
Nam. On one side of the coins were the words QUOC GIA VIET NAM. On the
other side, a picture of a bunch of rice branches on the 10 and 20 cent
coins; a picture of a dragon on the 50 cent coins. The "3 girl" coins
were in use until the French's defeat at Dien Bien Phu and withdrawal
from Viet Nam in 1954, after a few year of the foundation of the first
republic of Viet Nam.
Bo Lu - Banque De L'Indochine
In 1859, the French occupied Saigon and surrounding area which began the
formation of the Indochina peninsula under French administration. Indochina
was composed of five parts: Cochinchine (South), Annam (Central), Tonkin
(North Viet Nam), Cambodia, and Laos. Strings of zinc coins of Nguyen
Dynasty were replaced gradually by piastre and cent, new paper notes
In 1875, the French administration issued Law of January 21st allowing
the formation of Indochine Bank, a joint union between French administration
and 3 private banks in Europe. This bank monopolized the production of money
that circulated in Indochina peninsula and other French's colonies. The
central bank was located in Paris with branches in Saigon, Haiphong, Vientiane,
Pnompenh, Djibouti, Pondichery, Noumea, Paeete, and New Hebrides.
PAPER NOTES IN 1875-1923
The first Indochine paper notes were issued by decrees 21-1-1885, 20-2-1888,
16-5-1900, and 3-4-1901. On front is the decree date of issuance
DECRETS DU 21 JANVIER 1895, name of the branch, date of circulation, and
the value of the paper note in English and French ONE DOLLAR / UNE PIASTRE.
The piastre is equivalent to every foreign trade currency at this time.
On back is the design of dragon and phoenix, with the value of the paper
note in Chinese, the title INDOCHINE TRADE BANK, and Chinese inscription
REPORTED EDITION to display proof of issuance. After 1903, the piastre was
lost in value thus the value in dollar was not printed on the note. In 1920,
the inscription of decree date of circulation also vanished.
PAPER NOTES IN 1923-1940
Since 1923, a series of new bank notes were issued with the inscription
INDOCHINE BANK but without the embossed seal in the middle of two words
INDO-CHINE. On both sides are scenery of Asia. Based on the image of these
notes, people refered to them as "giay con cong" (peacock note) to indicate
5 piastre notes or "giay bo lu" (incense-burner note) to indicate 100 piastre
notes. The paper notes' values were printed in 5 languages: French, Vietnamese,
Cambodian, Laotian, and Chinese. The 500 piastre notes was the highest value
issued in 1939.
PAPER NOTES IN 1940-1945
WW2 broke out in Europe, the communication between France and Indochina
became difficult and completely interrupted in 1940. When the German troops
occupied Paris, the Japanese spreaded out into Viet Nam via China, but
still placed Indochina under the authority of French Governor Decoux,
being dependent on French Petain administration who took the side of Germans.
During this time, the Indochina administration issued a new paper note
with inscription GOUVERNEMENT GENERAL DE L'INDOCHINE (Government General
of Indochina) by contracting with IDEO (Imprimerie d'Extreme-Orient) printing
office in Hanoi. Due to the war and the lack of communication with France,
the scarcity of ink and material for fine paper printing has caused the
bad quality paper notes.
Japanese administration did not issue the occupation money in Indochina
as they did in Philippine, China, and Malaya. However, in areas under
their influence, the Japanese distributed a number of Japanese currency.
The 50 sen, 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, and 100 yen paper notes were similar
to the notes issued by the Japanese in China, but in different color plus
two letters RO and the Chinese inscription GOVERNMENT OF GREAT EMPIRE
OF JAPAN. Those rare paper notes are of high value in the numismatist's
NOTES FROM INSTITUTE OF ISSUANCE OF CAMBODIA, LAOS, AND VIET NAM IN 1951-1954
At the end of WW2, the French came back to Indochina. By confronting the
movement Independence for Viet Nam, the French applied a policy
of more tolerant rule, but still followed the general Lyautey's policy
of "divide to easy control and exert power". The Franco-Vietnamese war
became raging and exhausted French's potentialities which were already
declined after the world war. The Auriol-Bao Dai Agreement came
into being, the French recognized the independence and unification of
Viet Nam, but Viet Nam should join the French Union. On 31 December 1951,
the paper money issuance power was transferred to Institute of Issuance
(commonly known as Institute of Issuance of Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam).
However, Indochina Bank continued to publish Indochina paper notes until
the Institute of Issuance was capable of produce the required amount for
paper notes used in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, and within the French Union
had same characteristics. On front is the inscription INSTITUT D'EMISSION
DES ETATS DU CAMBODGE, DU LAOS, ET DU VIETNAM and the value of the notes
in French. On back is a symbol of each nation, INSTUTION OF ISSUANCE inscription
and the value in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian. The highest value
paper note in Indochina was 1000 piastre. The design was a sample and
has never been issued. In 1954-1956, due to shortage in small changes,
1 piastre notes were torn into two to replace 50 cents; when assembled
together, the note had the value of its sum.
a century of domination, the French was defeated in 1954 at Dien Bien
Phu. They signed the Geneva Agreement, marking their last days in Indochina
Tien SONG CHUC
right: Tien QUY DAU
FOREIGN MONEY in VIET NAM
17th century, Europeans have reached seacoasts of Asian countries for trading
services. Faifo (in Quang nam Province), Ke Cho (Hanoi), Macao, Malacca
had been busy trading centers in Asia under the dynasties
of Trinh and Nguyen. Coins, bars of silver, bars of gold had been utilized
as means of commerce, but they also caused many incoveniences for Europeans,
especially after the Chinese Thanh Emperors ordered ban of silver and gold
export. The need of money for exchange in business between European and
Asian countries became desperate. Thus, the Mexican "8 Reales" silver coins became commonly used.
8 REALES COINS
In 18th century, two types of Mexican 8 Reales coins were utilized for commerce
in most of countries along the coast from India to Japan, including Viet
Nam. The first type has a picture of two terrestrial globes with royal crowns
in the middle of two pillars, was commonly called "Pillar dollar" by numismatists.
These coins were produced in the reign of Philip V (1683-1746), Ferdinand
VI (1746-1759), and Charles III (1759-1788). Vietnamese history reported that in the reign of Chua Thuong, the Netherlands made a formal charge against
local Vietnamese authorities for confiscated 25,580 Mexican 8 Reales coins
when their ship was sunk and rescued in Viet Nam territorial waters. Section
27 of the Quy Mui Agreement under the reign of Hiep Hoa also mentioned
of the official circulation of Mexican 8 Reales in Viet Nam.
& back: Tien MA KIEM
(1.5 actual size): Tien GENHO TSUHO
In 19th century, the intercontinental communication became important to
the economic development of all nations. A great number of government allowed
to produce the silver trade dollars for convenience of commerce. In Viet
Nam, trade dollars of foreign countries were also widely utilized together
with the Mexican 8 Reales coins, piastre of Indochina, and silver bars of Nguyen Dynasty.
Bac CON CO with HOA XOE in back
right: Bac CAN CAN
Mexican 8 Reales coin weights 27.07 gram of pure silver.903 fine, with picture
of an eagle on the front, and the Libertad hat surrounded by sunlights on
the back. The local people gave it a nasty name as "bac hoa xoe" (coin
with picture of a fully opened flower) or "bac con co" (coin with picture
of a stork). A Vietnamese folk song also expressed that these coins got
deep impression in the life of people.
The Mexican 1 peso coin was
a reproduction of the 8 Reales coin after 1900 by the decimal system.
The Mexican 1 peso coin was
in the same weight as the 8 Reales coin. It has a picture of a scale on
the front and the picture of an eagle on the back. Its common name was "scale
left: Bac CON GAI
middle: Dong YEN
right: Dong ngoai thuong cua England
US 1 dollar coin weights 27.22 gram with pure silver .900 fine. On front
is a picture of a girl holding an olive branch surrounded by 13 stars
symbolized 13 original states. On back is a picture of an eagle and the
word TRADE DOLLAR. Its popular name was "girl silver coin". In Dai
Nam Hoa Te Do Luc (Annam, Etude numismatique = Numismatics of Viet
Nam), Albert Schroeder mentioned on "draped bust", Gobrecht (?), and "seated
Liberty" 1 dollar coins, but he did not say whether or not these coins
were utilized in Viet Nam. A Indochina document mentioned of "girl silver
The HK 1 dollar coin weights
26.9568 gram with pure silver .900 fine, with picture of Queen Victoria
on the front, and a big Chinese THO (meaning Longevity) with the word
ONE DOLLAR encircled Chinese HUONG CANG NHAT VIEN
(Hong Kong, One Dollar).
The Japanese 1 yen coin weights
27.220 gram and of pure silver .7876, with picture of a dragon and the
word TRADE DOLLAR on the front, and Chinese MAU DICH NGAN (Trade
Silver) or NHAT VIEN (One Dollar) on the other side.
The English 1 dollar coin
weights 96.9568 gram with pure silver of .9000 fine. On front is a picture
of maritime goddess Britannia holding a spear and design motifs on the
were also the French 5 franc coins with picture of Napoleon III, and the
Cambodian 1 piastre/ 1 peso coins with picture of Norodom I circulated
in Viet Nam. During this time, due to the shortage of small change, the people usually
cut the coins into two, four, or eight parts. The word "giac" (meaning
angle; a common Hue term) used
to indicate one "cac" (ten cent piece). The trade dollars were also categorized
in "clean dollar" and "chop dollar" to differentiate verified and non-verified
coins. Once verified, the merchants usually imprint a tiny personal mark
such as "thap" (cross), "thien", or a circle for future
identification. At times, people preferred "chop dollar" over "clean
dollar". In the beginning of 20th century, when the Bank of Indochina
came to existence, the trade dollars of other nations and the pieces of
"sou" (bronze coin) of Nguyen Dynasty were gradually replaced by the CENT coin, and PIASTRE paper notes.
JAPAN EARLY TRADE
COIN AND THE COMMERCIAL TRADE BETWEEN VIET NAM AND JAPAN IN THE 17th CENTURY
There was no historical record to recite exactly when the Japanese started
trading with Viet Nam. Vietnamese historians only knew that Chinese merchants
traded with the Viet a couple hundred years before the Japanese. According
to Professor Hasebe Gakuji and Professor Aoyagi Yogi from a recent archaeological
expedition in Japan, fragments of Vietnamese ceramic were found in a northern
part of Kyushu island. Among them was a wooden plate with character showing
the date 1330 on it. Did the Japanese go to the Viets or the Viets sailed
to Kyushu? Or perhaps the Chinese, and the Javanese acting as middle man
traded these goods northward? Vietnamese history records showed that when
Lord Nguyen Hoang founded Hoi An port at the beginning of the 17th century,
hundreds of Japanese residents were already there.
official records documented the first contact between the Japanese and
the Viets occurred in 1585. Lord Nguyen Hoang's sixth son led a squadron
of more than ten ships to Cua Viet seaport where he destroyed two of the
pirates' ships of Kenki, a Japanese pirate mistaken for a Westerner. Later
in 1599, Kenki's ship had been wrecked in the ThuanAn seaport and captured
by Lord Nguyen Hoang's general. In 1601, Lord Nguyen Hoang sent the first
official letter to Tokugawa Shogunate apologizing for his attacking the
ship belonging to Kenki, a Japanese merchant, and to praise for the amicable
friendship between the two countries.
through history, there were good explanations for the Japanese wanting
to trade with the Viets. Since the Tang dynasty in the 8th century, Chinese
merchants had already crossed the open ocean to Japan, Champa, and Java
for commercial trade. And in the 12th century, the Japanese merchants
began sailing to China with the same purpose. During the Ming dynasty
in the 16th century, trade friction between Japan and China mounted as
Japanese pirates attacked many Chinese seaports. The Ming banned its citizens
from trading abroad with foreigners, especially the Japanese regardless
of whether they are honest Japanese merchants or pirates and applied the
embargo policy towards Japanese ships. During that period, Japan desperately
needed high-quality Chinese raw silk for their royal Court and war materials
for their army. Therefore when direct trade with China was becoming increasingly
difficult, the Japanese merchants alternatively turned south towards Vietnamese
ports, neutral trading sites with Chinese merchants. That may explain
why Hoi An in Cochin-china and Pho Hien, Ke Cho in Tonkin became prosperous
for several decades during the 17th century.
POLICY OF TOKUGAWA SHOGUNATE
1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the Hideyori loyalists in the battle of
Sekigahara. Three years later, Ieyasu was appointed Shogun by the emperor.
It marked the beginning of the Edo era and the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled
Japan for over 250 years. The Shogun often exchanged correspondence with
Lord Nguyen Hoang. The commercial trade between the two countries prospered
during this period.
to Professor Kawamoto Kuniye, in the Gaiban Tsuuho - a collection of official
diplomatic documents of trade between Japan and other countries from 1599
to 1764, in a reply to Lord Nguyen Hoang in the 10th month of the year
1601 Ieyasu stated that 'In the future, ships visiting your country from
our country are to be certified by the seal shown on this letter, and
ships not carrying the seal should not be deemed lawful'. Hence the Shuinsen
(Vermillion Seal) policy came into effect. Any Japanese merchant ship
carrying the red seal of Tokugawa must be considered as the Shogun's representative
to trade with foreign countries. The powerful Shuinsen trade license,
by the authority of the Shogun, was issued only to the noble families
in Japan such as Chaya, Araki Store, Phuramoto, Suminnokura.
Iwao Seichi has traced the number of Japanese red-seal ships clearing
for the Great Viet and found that at least 124 ships visited both Tonkin
and Cochin-china in the period from 1604 to 1635, besides the number of
ships which did not have license or arrived before 1604. The Viet rulers
successfully achieved commercial trade with Japan in the 17th century.
of ships in year
during the month of January through March, when the favorable NorthEast
wind for sailing South was blowing, Japanese ships with heavy loads of
silver and copper arrived at the Viets river-ports. In Hoi An, to handle
the large influx of Japanese, the local authority set up a Japanese town
quarter, Nihomachi. And the Chinese merchants had a nearby town quarter
as well. They exchanged goods with each other or with the locals in open
market fair. The Japanese preferred Chinese or Vietnamese raw silk, sugar,
spices, sandalwood. In the early 17th century, Christoforo Borri who lived
in Hoi An noted about the profit from the trade 'This Calamba (sandal
wood) where it is gathered, is valued 5 ducats the pound; yet at the Port
of Cochin-china it yields more; and scarcely to be had under 16 ducats
the pound: and being transported to Japan, it is valued at 200 ducats
the pound...with a piece of such greatness that a man lay his head on
it, as on a pillow, the Japanese will give 300 or 400 ducats the pound'.
When the SouthEast trade wind blew during July, August, the fleet of merchant
ships began to leave the Great Viets heading home. In the Inner Region,
Chaya Shirojiro was the most famous merchant who bought fine silk, sandalwood,
calamba and sold copper coins, silver, bronze to Nguyen Lord.
FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN JAPAN AND GREAT VIET
friendship between two countries developed quickly at both national and
local level. Nguyen Lord and Tokugawa exchanged letters and gifts annually
through Japanese merchants. In 1604, Lord Nguyen Hoang even took the initiative
to adopt Hunamoto Yabeiji, a Japanese merchant. Later on, Lord Nguyen
Phuc Nguyen, Lord Nguyen Hoang's son, tried to improve upon relationship
even further. According to Phan Khoang in Viet Su, Xu Dang Trong (Vietnamese
history, the Inner region), Lord Nguyen Phuc Nguyen married his daughter,
Princess Ngoc Khoa, to Araki Shutaro, another Japanese merchant. Lord
Nguyen even permitted Araki to have a royal Vietnamese name as Nguyen
Taro, called Hien Hung. Nguyen Lord also wrote to some other Japanese
merchants, Honda Kouzukenosuke and Chaya Shiro Jiro encouraging them to
pursue trading in the Inner Region.
the relationship between Japan and the Outer Region did not improved much.
Before 1635, fewer Japanese ships arrived in Tonkin and Japanese merchants
set up trade office in Pho Hien and Thang Long. The most famous Japanese
merchant in the Outer Region was Suminokura Kyoi who sold copper coins,
arms and silver to Lord Trinh and bought fine silk. Until Tokugawa promulgated
the close-door policies, sakoku, in 1635 and Japanese merchants were banned
to go abroad, a number of Japanese merchants decided to stay and moved
to the Outer Region to settle definitely. The Dutch as their best intermediaries
to contact with the Vietnamese merchants hired those who were familiar
to Vietnamese customs, experienced in trade and spoke the local language
fluently. Because the relationship between the Dutch and Nguyen Lord was
poor, the Dutch maintained more frequent contacts with Trinh Lord. According
to Dumoutier, some Japanese had close relationship with the Court. He
mentioned about a Japanese lady, Ouroussan became a beloved concubine
of King Le Than Tong.
merchants were at ease with the natives in the region. They mixed with
Vietnamese people and adopted local customs gradually. A great number
of Japanese merchants married the local people and donated money to repair
or to build Buddhist pagodas and bridges. In the ancient town of HoiAn,
the Japanese bridge, namely the Bridge-shaped Pagoda also, connecting
Tran Phu street and Nguyen thi Minh Khai street was the best symbol of
the Japanese-Vietnamese friendship.
JAPANESE COIN TRADE IN THE 17TH CENTURY
understand why Japanese merchants brought copper coins to the Viets for
trade in the 17th century, one should review the monetary history of Japan.
Japan was originally rich in natural resources of precious metals such
as silver, gold and copper. As early as the beginning of the 8th century,
gold, silver and copper coins not only existed but also were minted in
Japan. These coins were made for reward more than for use as a means of
exchange. In those days, Japan was still in the stage of barter economy.
From the 12th century to 1587, Japan stopped minting and sent goods to
China to exchange for Chinese copper coins, as demand for coins gradually
increased. In the 15th century Ashikaga Shogunate sent request to the
Ming dynasty in China many times for a supply of copper coins. Therefore
the Toraisen, a imported coin from China, and such as Jia Ding Tung Pao
(Katei Tsuho) of the Sung, Hong Wu Tung Pao (Kobu tsuho) and Yung Lo Tung
Pao (Eiraku Tsuho) of the Ming circulated throughout Japan. Meanwhile
the supply of Toraisen was still not enough to fulfil the demand for money
due to the expansion of commercial trades. The nobles to fill the gap
minted Shichusen, privately minted Japanese coin. In the 16th century,
cracked or worn out Toraisen and poor quality Shichusen were called Bitasen,
a poor quality coin. People began to select coins and to refuse the face
value of Bitasen. In the Tokugawa period, the exchange ratio between the
Toraisen and Bitasen was 4 to 1. The Shogun wanted to resolve the monetary
disorder, to monopolize the authority of minting coins and to standardize
Japanese currency. In 1608, Tokugawa prohibited the circulation of Bitasen,
including the imported Chinese coins. He promoted the production of gold,
silver and copper mines and the application of sophisticated Chinese technology
to refine the metal. Gold and silver coin and bar as well as the Tensho
Tsuho, Genna Tsuho and Kanei Tsuho began to replace the old coins.
merchants got a bright idea of buying these devalued and banned coins
with a low price in Japan and selling them to the foreign merchants, then
to other countries, making huge profits. In that period, Nguyen Lord had
conflict with Trinh Lord. The southern Nguyen ruler needed copper to cast
canon for the war. And in 1651, Prince Yung Ming in China required Nagasaki
to provide copper coins as well. The local authority in Nagasaki began
to cast the Yung Li Tung Pao (Eiryaku Tsuho) for the Ming. Near the end
of the 17th century, Lord Nghia (Nguyen Phuc Tran) asked Tokugawa to provide
copper coins on his behalf. Japanese coin export was so profitable for
the merchants and the Shogunate. However, after the local government following
repeated rejections made several requests by the Shogunate, finally Tokugawa
permitted Nagasaki to cast coins only for trade from the 2nd year of Manji
(1659) to the 2nd year of Jokyo (1685). According to Kristof Glamann in
the Dutch Asiatic trade 1620 - 1740, the VOC vessels also shipped the
Nagasaki coins to Europe, Netherlands on their way back home.
the Japanese trade coins were circulated or were melted to make utensils
as well. Alexandre de Rhodes, the French priest lived in the Outer Region
in 1627, recited in his book that the current coin in Tonkin consisted
of large copper coin brought in from Japan and small coin minted locally.
Large coins were circulated everywhere, but small coins were used only
in the capital and four surrounding districts. The value of the local
coin varied depending on the quantities of great cash brought in each
year but was normally priced at 10 small cash to 6 large cash.
||Some details in the Register of the British East India Company showed the busy activity of coin trade in Pho Hien, Tonkin
||3 Dutch ships arrived from Batavia bringing 6 millions Japanese cash and 1000 tael of silver
||1 Chinese junk arrived from Japan with copper cash and silver
|Jun 17, 1675
||1 Dutch ship arrived from Batavia with 80 chests of Japanese cash
|Feb 23, 1676
||2 Chinese junks arrived from Japan to bring silver and cash
Meanwhile Cochin-china did not have natural resources for casting coin and Nguyen
Lord desperately needed copper during the wartime. Source of copper of
the region mainly came from Japan, and then China and Batavia. Even later,
the fighting between Trinh Nguyen was over, the southern Nguyen ruler's
need for copper for trading became increasingly important. The VOC Registers
provided some details about the coin trade business. From 1633 to 1637,
VOC imported 105,834 strings of cash coin, each string had about 960 coins.
The total of imported coins to Cochin-china was 101600640 coins for the
five year period. Dr. A van Aelst gave more details: 1,250,000 Yung Lo
Tung Pao coin and 1,000,000,00 Kanei Tsuho coins. When the Japanese closed-door
policy came into effect, Japanese merchants transferred their stock of
200 tons of cash coins to the Dutch to ensure a continuous supply.
Was the amount
of imported copper coins into Cochin-china tremendous? That was the reason
why Le Quy Don complained in his book Phu Bien Tap Luc that 'The Nguyen
wasted lot of copper. They even used copper to make nails, door hinges.'.
to the Register Record of the VOC, we could see the profit margin of the
coin trade in the 17th century. During 1635 - 1636, one string of cash
coins valued 1 liang of silver in Japan could be priced at 10.5 liang
in the Great Viet.
mentioning about the Bitasen coins like Eiraku Tsuho that the Japanese
brought in the Great Viet, there were three kinds of Nagasaki coins:
YungLi coin (Nagasaki Eiryaku Sen)
Nagasaki Five Element coin
(Nagasaki Gogyo Sen)
Nagasaki trade coins (Nagasaki
YungLi coins were copied from the Chinese Yung Li coin and used in Taiwan
island. Yung Li was the reign title of Prince Yung Ming who was enthroned
in Kwang Tung after the Ching already captured PeKing. The Prince sent
order to Nagasaki for copper coins. The Nagasaki Five Elements coins were cast to wish good luck to Teiseiko
who defected to Taiwan. There were five types of this coin: Four Metal
(Kin Sen), Four Wood (Moku Sen), Four Water (Sui Sen), Four Fire (Ka Sen)
and Four Earth (Do Sen). The Nagasaki
trade coins, as well as silver and gold bar and raw copper were used for
trade between the Japanese and the Great Viet in the 17th century. According
to Kristof Glamann in 'Dutch Asiatic trade 1620-1740', in 1621 ,the Japanese
copper coins were shipped to Netherland for testing in Amsterdam. The
result did not come up to expectations.
common Nagasaki trade coins were found with the inscription Yuan Feng
Tung Pao, namely Genho Tsuho in Japanese. There were about 40 versions
of GenHo Tsuho Nagasaki coins. Some had the character Feng smaller than
the others. Some were written in orthodox style, or grass style (Gyo Sho
Genho), seal script style (Cho Kan Ho Genho).
of Nagasaki trade coins were copied from the Sung dynasty's reign title.
The diameter of Nagasaki trade coins was about 24 mm. However there were
special characteristics between Sung's coins and Nagasaki coins to differentiate
them. The prominent feature of Nagasaki coins was the large square hole
with the side about 7mm to 8mm, the rim of the hole were very straight
and neat. The second important feature was the simplicity of characters
on the coin. Sometimes the stroke was so simple making the coin unique,
for example the character Feng of Genho Tsuho in grass styles. The rust
of oxidized copper on Nagasaki coins sometimes looked different in color
than Chinese coin. Perhaps the combination of alloy in Japanese coin played
an important role for this feature.
Fu Yuan Pao, namely Shofu Genho in Japanese, were commonly used as the
Genho Tsuho. Its characters were on the clockwise direction. Other Japanese
trade coins written in orthodox style as Jia You Tung Pao (Kayu Tsuho),
Xi Ning Yuan Pao (Kinei Genho), Tian Sheng Yuan Pao (Tensei Genho) and
Huang Sung Tung Pao were found in Vietnam territory.
to Ta Chi Dai Truong in 'Nhung Bai Da Su Viet' (The Vietnamese unofficial
history), the Tai Ping Tong Pao, namely Taisei Tsuho in Japanese, with
either the character 'bun' (Van in Vietnamese) or the dot and crescent
on the reverse side was considered as Nagasaki trade coin.
trade coins were written in seal script style such as Zhi Ping Yuan Pao
(Jihei Genho), Shao Sheng Yuan Pao (Shosei Genho) and Xi Ning Yuan Pao
to Mr. Le Hoan Hung in Saigon and Mr. Francois Thierry in France, there
were Vietnamese copied versions of Nagasaki trade coins. With several
years of collecting Vietnam cash coin, Hung cited that the most common
Vietnamese copied version was Genho Tsuho and that the calligraphy of
character Feng of the copied version was poor. Other copied versions were
small and thin. Francois recently informed me about his study in alloy
of Nagasaki trade coins and coins mentioned in Phu Bien Tap Luc (Miscellaneous
Records of pacification in the Border Area). His research would be published
1633, even as Tokugawa Shogunate banned Japanese traders from going abroad,
the trade between Japan and other Asian countries still flourished. After
the closure of Japan, the Dutch ships and the Chinese junks from Southeast
Asian ports were still permitted to visit Nagasaki. The main Japanese
supplier turned over his stock of copper coins for Cochin-china to the
Dutch East India company. The Japanese sakoku policy was not primarily
a policy of economic isolation. However until 1685, when the regulations
of restricting silver export and then copper export in 1715 were strictly
applied, the trade was in decline. Silver and copper acted as stimulus
to the trade in Asia at that time. When the export of these metals were
restricted, the copper coin trade declined rapidly and trading overseas
in Asia was in an deep slump.
At the beginning
of the 18th century, Englishmen and Spaniard merchants seldom visited
the Great Viet because they realized that the profit was not significant
as it was in the past. Englishmen found that the cotton market in India
was more promissing. The Malayan peninsula and West Java lost its monopoly
on spices market because these products could be found in Africa and South
America as well. The overseas trade in the Great Viet was reduced significantly.
The declining period of Pho Hien, HoiAn ports and Cachao came into existence.
Both the Inner Region and the Outer region of the Great Viet saw unpleasant
economic hardship. A series of famine, natural disaster and epidemic lead
to the collapse of both Trinh Nguyen regimes before the rise of the great
PAPER NOTES OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
The Geneva Agreement signed in 1954 has concluded the French
colonization of the Indochinese peninsula. The 17th latitude was designated
as border of two regions: North and South Viet Nam. In the South, the
first republic was established by Ngo Dinh Diem when he was elected president
on October 26 1955. The second republic was established by Nguyen Van
Thieu when he was elected president on September 3 1967. For numismatists,
the period of 40 or 50 years isn't long enough for a formerly, largely
circulated paper notes to become scarce. However, a number of paper notes
in these two republics, for some reason became interesting objects/subjects.
FIRST REPUBLIC VIET NAM
$1000 BANKNOTES: 1,000 samples of
this paper note were printed out, but the handy notes were never issued.
17,500,000 of this paper note
were printed and issued in South Viet Nam; however these paper notes aren't
relatively available for collectors. According to a reliable source, President
Diem ordered the recall after reviewing the design. In his knowledge, there
isn't any state with design of combat soldiers on its paper notes.
The 2 types of $500 paper notes,
one with picture of Thien Mu Pagoda and other with picture of Independence
Palace, which issued during the first republic were recovered on August
21 1964. The recall was dued to a large number of counterfeits were in circulation.
Totaled of 5,599,000 old paper notes were returned for new ones. The replacement
note has a picture of the Museum.
SECOND REPUBLIC VIET NAM
$5000 and $10000 BANKNOTES: The economic situation in South Viet
Nam declined after the withdrawal of the Allied forces. Inflation pressure
was overwhelming during 1973 and 1974. Public opinion vehemently opposed
when the government planned to circulate $5000 and $10000 paper notes. The
National Bank had printed 46 million $5000 paper notes with picture of a
leopard head and 24 million $10000 paper notes with picture of a cow head.
According to a friendly source, 2 months before the historical event of April 30 1975, these paper notes were issued to pay salaries
to high level functionaries, to use in bank transactions, and to distribute
to local banks. Few number of these paper notes still can be found in numismatists'
circles dued to already circulated ones and possibly stolen ones when the
banks were plundered during their transitions.
The last paper notes of the
second republic was the $1000 paper notes bearing the patriot Truong Cong
Dinh's picture. This paper note was only sample and never issued. According
to a friendly source, the issuance of this paper note had been planned before
the above-mentioned $5000 and $10000.
lieu 'Tien Te Viet Nam, tap Tien co trieu Nguyen', Luc Duc Thuan (chua xuat
Tu lieu 'Tien Te Viet Nam, tap Tien Dong Duong', Luc Duc Thuan (chua xuat ban).
Bien Tap Luc by Le quy Don.
Dai Nam Thuc Luc Tien Bien
by Quoc Su Quan Trieu Nguyen.
Viet Nam Su Luoc by Tran Trong
Nhung Bai Da Su Viet by Ta
Chi Dai Truong, Thanh Van published, 1996.
Hai Ngoai Ky Su by Thich Dai
San, SaiGon, 1963.
Catalogue des monnaies Vietnamiennes
by Francois Thierry,
Cochin-China by Christoforo
Pho Hien by Association of
Vietnamese Historians Peoples Administrative Committee of Hai Hung province,
The Gioi Publishers
Southeast Asia in the Age
of Commerce 1450-1680 by Anthony Reid, Volume II.
Ancient Town of Hoi An by
The national Committee for the international symposium on the ancient
town of Hoi An, TheGioi Publishers
Histoire de royaume de Tonkin
by Alexandre de Rhodes, Lyon 1651
A description of the Kingdom
of Tonqueen by Baron Samuel, London 1732.
Sources of Japanese Tradition
by Ryusaku Tsunoda, WM Theodore de Bary, Donald Keene.
The World of Southeast Asia
by Harry Benda, John Larkin.
Diary of Richard Cocks 1615-1622
by Richard Cocks
Voyages and discoveries by
Southern Vietnam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by Li Tana.
History of the Yen by Hiroshi
Shinjo, The Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration,
Kobe University published.
Dutch-Asiatic trade 1620-1740
by Kristof Glamann, Danish Science Press published.
Japanese coins in Southern
Vietnam and the Dutch East India Company 1633-1638 by Dr. A van Aelst
Catalog of Japanese cash coinage
by Robert Jones, 1985.
of Vietnam: coins and Currency, Howard Daniel III
catalog of World coin, 19th century edition, Krause publications.
Standard catalog of World Paper Money, Vol 2, Krause publications.
Viet Su: Xu dang trong, Phan Khoang.
Quan dan Viet Nam chong Tay xam, Quan Xu 3, Bo Tong Tham Muu Quan Luc VNCH.
Monnaies Francaises, Colonies 1670-1942, V.G, numismate, Versailles 1942.
Histoire monetaire des Colonies Francaise, E.Zay, Paris 1892.
Dai nam Hoa Te Do Luc, Albert Schroeder, Paris 1905.
Les Billets de la Banque de l'Indochine, Kolsky, new edition, Paris.
Indochina in the 1940s and 1950s, Takashi Shiraishi.