Chinese Empire, Northern Song Dynasty, Huizong, 10 Ch'ien

Copper was a highly treasured metal in China. It was not only used for coins, but also for every-day utensils and religious purposes. The result was a constant shortage of copper, which in turn drove its price up. The value of the metal itself was therefore often higher than the face value of Chinese coins. Accordingly many freshly cast coins were immediately smelted after coming into circulation. In 1107, Emperor Huizong (1100-1126) tried to issue coins of a higher face value in order to restrain smelting. The experiment failed, however: The new, high face value coins were immediately counterfeited, so that their issue had to be ceased two years later already.