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China has a thousand years of history, and a civilization that developed before Western Europe's. You want to own a part of this culture, beyond your Gold Panda Chinese coins. What can you collect? And are there counterfeit Chinese coins like bootleg DVDs?
Are you looking to Confucious for world coin tips? Confucius say: Of course there are counterfeit world coins and foreign coins--just learn to recognize the true goodness.
Chinese knife, spade, and related bronze coins have overrun the market, so beware of these. We know of an ancient spade coin selling for $45 in Five/Very Fine grade.
Lower-value coins such as ordinary Sung and Ch'ing, or the cheaper reigns of Ming, regular pan-liang, wu-shu, and kai-yuan, usually aren't counterfeited since there are so many of them. But you're after rare and valuable Chinese coins. Avoid too-pretty coins minted after 1985, experts say. The Gold Panda is genuine, but a too-even patina can signal a fake. Chances are if your ancient Shang Dynasty coin or Ghost-Head Money (it looks like a ghost) from 500 B.C. is chipped and worn, it's not a fake.
Confucius also say: Avoid coins that are either too cheap or too expensive.
While price guides for Chinese coins are hard to come by, consult Chinese antiquities experts and numismatists, as well as dealers who specialize in Chinese coins--there are only a few in the West.
After all, fraud is fraud, no matter what culture you come from, but Chinese coin dealers are generally honest.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|