Historic Four, Five, and Six Character Knives

week we feature a trio of highlights from the Q. David Bowers Collection of
Chinese Copper Coins, to be offered as part of our April 2-4, 2018 Hong Kong auction. 
Ancient Chinese coinage includes many different types such as the familiar Cash
coins, hoes, spades, and of course knives. 

the Zhou Dynasty in the Waring States period (475-221 B.C.) the State of Qi
issued a variety of knives, and these have become a staple for those collecting
Ancient Chinese.  These knives are pretty
substantial and weigh between 40-50 grams. Minor to heavy earthen deposits and
thick patina usually obscure the major design features. Typically when
collections of this type of material come to market they contain one of the
more common three-character knives and maybe one of the extremely rare four,
five or six character knives.  It is an
exceptional case for a collection to contain not just one of these extreme
rarities, but to include one of each. 

early knives display an archaic form of Chinese characters known as seal script,
which eventually evolved into modern day Chinese. In this instance the obverse
of these examples bear the inscriptions “Ji Mo Fa Hua” (Jimo legal money) (four
characters), “Ji Mo Zhi Fa Hua” (Jimo legal money) (five characters) and
"Qi Jian/Zao Bang Chang Fa Hua" (Qi establish make state long legal
money) (six characters) with the last being more of literal translation.  A plethora of markings can be observed on the
reverses of these types, sometimes containing more than one character and
sometimes found without any characters or identifying markings. The present
examples bear the inscriptions “Tu” (four characters), “Fa Chang” (Execution
ground) (five characters) and “Qi” or “Bi” (six characters).

is much speculation as to who actually issued these, but based on archeological
evidence their time and place of manufacture can be narrowed down to specific
region and time period.

are no longer accepting consignments for our April Hong Kong auction. We are
taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our
May Collectors Choice Online (CCO), our August 2018 Hong Kong, August 2018
American Numismatic Association (ANA), October 2018 Collectors Choice Online
(CCO) and our 2019 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC)
auctions. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency
(whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our
consignment directors.​​​

Join our mailing list

Don't miss an auction!

Subscribe to our newsletter.


Contact Us

West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

Follow Us

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

We are sorry, an unexpected error occurred!
Please enter a valid email address

I'm Interested In...

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Stack's Bowers Galleries e-newsletter.