China Southern Song Dynasty (Circa 1800 Forgery)


20 Taels, 1275-1276

20 Taels, 1275-1276 (Circa 1800 Forgery) front
20 Taels, 1275-1276 (Circa 1800 Forgery) back


Emperor Gongzong

Emperor Gongzong
Gongzong (1271-1323), Emperor of China Song Dynasty 1274-1276.


This note is part of a group of five notes purport to come from German collector George Pflumer of Hameln. In 1926 Pflumer sold his entire collection to the Marquess of Bute of Great Britain who in turn, sold the collection to Spink's in 1970. It was later acquired by Ted Uhl, a reputable paper money dealer. Around 1983, George D. Hatie, General Counsel and Immediate Past President of the American Numismatic Association, bought it from Ted Uhl. The note eventually ended up in the collection of William H. McDonald, Founder and Past President of Canadian Paper Money Society.

For over 150 years, the note was believed to be genuine because it is documented in the classic 1833 Chinese numismatic catalog, Ch'uan Pu T'ung Chih (Ancient Coin Catalog) by Lin Meng. This catalog was a major reference source for ancient Chinese notes. "Chinese Paper Money" published in 1911 by Henry Ramsden and "Certain Old Chinese Notes" published in 1915 by Andrew McFarland Davis were based on this catalog. The catalog was translated into English and published in 1918 under the title "Ancient Chinese Paper Money as Described in a Chinese Work on Numismatics" by Andrew McFarland Davis.

In the early 1980s, however, many numismatists began to question the reliability of the catalog. It's now a general knowledge that both the catalog and the note are bogus. Read The Story of Five Ancient Chinese Notes on my blog.

I bought this note from William H. McDonald's son-in-law through Joel Shafer of Lyn Knight Auctions on September 17, 2010.

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