Banknote seal (China)

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A Yuan Dynasty banknote and its matrix. The Mongolian dynasty used 'Phags-pa script, Tibetan originated writing, beside hanzi at this time. Yuan dynasty banknote with its printing plate 1287.jpg
A Yuan Dynasty banknote and its matrix. The Mongolian dynasty used 'Phags-pa script, Tibetan originated writing, beside hanzi at this time.

A cash seal (simplified Chinese :宝钞印; traditional Chinese :寳鈔印; pinyin :Baochao Yin; "Baochao" means "valuable money", "Yin" means "seal") is a type of seal used as an anti-counterfeiting measure on paper money or banknotes. The cash seal first appeared during the Song dynasty in China.


The short name is Chao Yin (simplified Chinese :钞印; traditional Chinese :鈔印), and the full name is Seal of Baochao (simplified Chinese :宝钞之印; traditional Chinese :寳鈔之印; pinyin :Baochao Zhiyin), or Baochao Yinjian (simplified Chinese :宝钞印鉴; traditional Chinese :寳鈔印鑑). The name can also be simply translated as "money seal" or "banknote seal".


A Ming Dynasty banknote with two seal stamps in the centre. Ming Dynasty banknote.jpg
A Ming Dynasty banknote with two seal stamps in the centre.
Qing Dynasty banknotes. In the centre of the left note is the Seal of Cash of the Great Qing (Da Qing Bao Chao Zhi Yin ). Qing Dynasty banknote (Xianfeng Era).jpg
Qing Dynasty banknotes. In the centre of the left note is the Seal of Cash of the Great Qing (大清宝钞之印).

The economy of China during the Song dynasty outpaced the supply of traditional coinage, leading the government to issue banknotes ( Jiaozi (交子)) to increase the money supply. Subsequently, a government department was created to manage cash affairs, with its responsibilities including producing and issuing cash, and combating counterfeiting. The cash seal was developed as an anti-counterfeiting measure; official banknotes received a red, sometimes black or purple, stamp at their centres. This forced counterfeiters to attempt to replicate the seal, presumably leading to distinguishable lower quality stamps. Severe punishments, including the death penalty, were given counterfeiters.

The Ming [1] and Qing dynasties also stamped banknotes.[ citation needed ] The Ming government department responsible for cash affairs and the use of the cash seal was the Baochao Bureau (simplified Chinese :宝钞局; traditional Chinese :寳鈔局; pinyin :Baochao Ju). [2]

Modern time

The use of cash seals is no longer restricted to governments. Seals or private individuals and organizations may be used in the same manner on private banknotes to represent the parties' trust, credit, or authority.

In the era of the Republic of China, these seal stamps could also be called Yinhang Yin (銀行印/银行印; direct translation: the seal stamp of bank, or just "bank seal").

In Japan, ginkō-in (Japanese: 銀行印) seals have similar functions.

Typical seals

In late imperial China:

See also

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Ming dynasty coinage Historical coinage of China

Chinese coinage in the Ming dynasty saw the production of many types of coins. During the Ming dynasty of China, the national economy was developed and its techniques of producing coinage were advanced. One early period example is the Bronze 1 cash. Obverse: "HUNG-WU T'UNG-P'AO" (洪武通寶). Reverse: blank. Average 23.8 mm, 3.50 grams.

Yuan dynasty coinage Historical coinage of China

The Yuan dynasty was a Mongol-ruled Chinese dynasty which existed from 1271 to 1368. After the conquest of the Western Xia, Western Liao, and Jin dynasties they allowed for the continuation of locally minted copper currency, as well as allowing for the continued use of previously created and older forms of currency, while they immediately abolished the Jin dynasty’s paper money as it suffered heavily from inflation due to the wars with the Mongols. After the conquest of the Song dynasty was completed the Mongols started issuing their own copper coins largely based on older Jin dynasty models, though eventually the preferred Mongol currency became the Jiaochao and silver sycees, as coins would eventually fall largely into disuse. Although the Mongols at first preferred to have every banknote backed up by gold and silver, high government expenditures forced the Yuan to create fiat money in order to sustain government spending.

Qing dynasty coinage Historical coinage of China

Qing dynasty coinage was based on a bimetallic standard of copper and silver coinage. The Manchu-led Qing dynasty was established in 1636 and ruled over China proper from 1644 until it was overthrown by the Xinhai Revolution in 1912. The Qing dynasty saw the transformation of a traditional cash coin based cast coinage monetary system into a modern currency system with machine-struck coins, while the old traditional silver ingots would slowly be replaced by silver coins based on those of the Mexican peso. After the Qing dynasty was abolished its currency was replaced by the Chinese yuan of the Republic of China.

Yongle Tongbao

The Yongle Tongbao was a Ming dynasty era Chinese cash coin produced under the reign of the Yongle Emperor. As the Ming dynasty didn't produce copper coinage at the time since it predominantly used silver coins and paper money as the main currency, the records vary on when the Yongle Emperor ordered its creation between 1408 and 1410, this was done as the production of traditional cash-style coinage had earlier ceased in 1393. The Yongle Tongbao cash coins were notably not manufactured for the internal Chinese market where silver coinage and paper money would continue to dominate, but were in fact produced to help stimulate international trade as Chinese cash coins were used as a common form of currency throughout South, Southeast, and East Asia.

<i>Hongwu Tongbao</i> First cash coin to bear the name of a Ming Emperor

The Hongwu Tongbao was the first cash coin to bear the reign name of a reigning Ming dynasty Emperor bearing the reign title of the Hongwu Emperor. Hongwu Tongbao cash coins officially replaced the earlier Dazhong Tongbao coins, however the production of the latter did not cease after the Hongwu Tongbao was introduced. The government of the Ming dynasty placed a greater reliance on copper cash coins than the Yuan dynasty ever did, but despite this reliance a nationwide copper shortage caused the production of Hongwu Tongbao cash coins to cease several times eventually leading to their discontinuation in 1393 when they were completely phased out in favour of paper money. In the year 1393 there were a total of 325 furnaces in operation in all provincial mints of China which had an annual output of 189,000 strings of cash coins which was merely 3% of the average annual production during the Northern Song dynasty.

Vault protector coin

Vault Protector coins were a type of Chinese numismatic charm coins created by Chinese mints. These coins were significantly larger, heavier and thicker than regular cash coins and were well-made as they were designed to occupy a special place within the treasury of the mint. The treasury had a spirit hall for offerings to the gods of the Chinese pantheon, and Vault Protector coins would be hung with red silk and tassels for the Chinese God of Wealth. These coins were believed to have charm-like magical powers that would protect the vault while bringing wealth and fortune to the treasury.

Da Ming Baochao

The Da Ming Baochao was a series of banknotes issued during the Ming dynasty in China. They were first issued in 1375 under the Hongwu Emperor. Although initially the Da Ming Baochao paper money was successful, the fact that it was a fiat currency and that the government largely stopped accepting these notes caused the people to lose faith in them as a valid currency causing the price of silver relative to paper money to increase. The negative experiences with inflation that the Ming dynasty had witnessed signaled the Manchus to not repeat this mistake until the first Chinese banknotes after almost 400 years were issued again in response to the Taiping Rebellion under the Qing dynasty's Xianfeng Emperor during the mid-19th century.

Paper money of the Qing dynasty

The paper money of the Qing dynasty was periodically used alongside a bimetallic coinage system of copper-alloy cash coins and silver sycees; paper money was used during different periods of Chinese history under the Qing dynasty, having acquired experiences from the prior Song, Jin, Yuan, and Ming dynasties which adopted paper money but where uncontrolled printing led to hyperinflation. During the youngest days of the Qing dynasty paper money was used but this was quickly abolished as the government sought not to repeat history for a fourth time; however, under the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor, due to several large wars and rebellions, the Qing government was forced to issue paper money again.

Da-Qing Baochao

The Da-Qing Baochao refers to a series of Qing dynasty banknotes issued under the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor issued between the years 1853 and 1859. These banknotes were all denominated in wén and were usually introduced to the general market through the salaries of soldiers and government officials.

Hubu Guanpiao

The Hubu Guanpiao is the name of two series of banknotes produced by the Qing dynasty, the first series was known as the Chaoguan (鈔官) and was introduced under the Shunzhi Emperor during the Qing conquest of the Ming dynasty but was quickly abandoned after this war ended, it was introduced amid residual ethnic Han resistance to the Manchu invaders. It was produced on a small scale, amounting to 120,000 strings of cash coins annually, and only lasted between 1651 and 1661. After the death of the Shunzhi Emperor in the year 1661, calls for resumption of banknote issuance weakened, although they never completely disappeared.

String of cash coins (currency unit)

A string of cash coins refers to a historical Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Ryukyuan, and Vietnamese currency unit that was used as a superunit of the Chinese cash, Japanese mon, Korean mun, Ryukyuan mon, and Vietnamese văn currencies. The square hole in the middle of cash coins served to allow for them to be strung together in strings, the term would later also be used on banknotes and served there as a superunit of wén (文).


The Zhuangpiao, alternatively known as Yinqianpiao, Huipiao, Pingtie (憑帖), Duitie (兌帖), Shangtie (上帖), Hupingtie (壺瓶帖), or Qitie (期帖) in different contexts, refer to privately produced paper money made in China during the Qing dynasty and early Republic of China periods issued by small private banks known as qianzhuang. Other than banknotes qianzhuang also issued Tiexian.

Ta-Ching Government Bank Central Bank of the Qing Dynasty

The Ta-Ching Government Bank, known as the Ta-Ching Bank of the Ministry of Revenue (大清戶部銀行) from 1905 to 1908, was the name of the Bank of China as a government agency of the Manchu Qing dynasty until the empire's dissolution in 1911. It was originally created to serve as the central bank of China in 1905, originally as a division of the Ministry of Revenue, and would serve as the country's de facto central bank until the establishment of the Central Bank of China in 1924.

Banknotes of the Ta-Ching Government Bank

The banknotes of the Ta-Ching Government Bank, known as the banknotes of the Ta-Ching Bank of the Ministry of Revenue from 1905 to 1908, were intended to become the main form of paper money in the Qing currency system. These banknotes were issued by the Ta-Ching Government Bank, a national bank established to serve as the central bank of the Qing dynasty. The Ta-Ching Government Bank had branches throughout China and many of its branches outside of its headquarters in Beijing also issued banknotes.


Daqian are large-denomination cash coins produced in the Qing dynasty starting from 1853 until 1890. Large denomination cash coins were previously used in earlier Chinese dynasties and had faced similar issues as 19th-century Daqian. The term referred to cash coins with a denomination of 4 wén or higher.


Standard cash, or regulation cash coins, is a term used during the Ming and Qing dynasties of China to refer to standard issue copper-alloy cash coins produced in imperial Chinese mints according to weight and composition standards that were fixed by the imperial government. The term was first used for Hongwu Tongbao cash coins following the abolition of large denomination versions of this cash coin series.


  1. The paper money printing in Ming Dynasty Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. Minyi Daifang Lu (Waiting for the Dawn; a historic record): "... 上特设内宝钞局,昼夜督造,募商发卖,无肯应者。", recorded by Huang Zongxi in the Late Ming and Early Qing Dynasties