The Origins of the Yema-po Coins


Among the 25 Asian coins found at Yema-po, 20 were Chinese wen , one was a Japanese mon , and four were Vietnamese dong. The reverse of 16 of the wen exhibited clear Manchu characters indicating five mints in different parts of China: six from Yunnan Province, three from the Peking Board of Revue mint, five from Kwangtung Province, one from Shensi Province and one from Chekiang Province. No mints in central China were identified.

The prominence of the southern mints in the Yema-po assemblage is probably a simple product of Canton being the port of embarcation for most of the laborers sailing to California. The presence of Vietnamese dong , in an overseas Chinese site may seem, on first appearance, to be odd. Vietnamese dong circulated freely, however, in Kwangtung Province which borders Vietnam on the north. Thus, it would be quite natural for a small percentage of Vietnamese dong to be mixed among the Chinese wen in most overseas Chinese communities.


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