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Last Update: Nov. 23, 2010.

The "Red Cash" Coins of China's Western Frontier
Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  Please write to
for permission to reproduce photos or text from these web pages.
This site contains information about the coins and money of Xinjiang, a part of the "Silk Road" also known as Sinkiang,
Kashgaria, Altishahr, East Turkestan, Eastern Turkestan, and the Western Regions. Because of the multitude of
alternate names and spellings used for this material, I have appended this summary of the site's contents to make the
information easier to find using search engines. The catalogues contain coins of the Qarakhanids (Qarakhans,
Karakhanids, Black Khans), Chaghatay (Chaghatai) Khans, Great Mongols, Moghul
or Eastern Chaghatayid Khans of
Yarkand (Sa'idiyya, Yarkand Khanate), the Dzungar (Zhungar, Zungar, Jungar) Mongols, and coins (cash) of the Qing
(Ch'ing) (Chinese, Manchu) emperors Qianlong (Qian Long, Ch'ien Lung), Jiaqing (Jia Qing), Daoguang (Dao Guang),
Xianfeng (Xian Feng), and Guangxu (Guang Xu), and the rebels Rashidin and Yakub Beg (Yakub Bey, Bedaulet).  The
coins were minted at Kashgar (Kashghar, Shu Le), Yarkand ( Sha Che) Aqsu (Aksu), Kucha (Kuche), Urumqi
(Urumchi, Dihua, Di Hua), Yili (gulja, ghulja, Bao Yi, Ili), and Ush (Ush turpan, Ush turfan).
China's Qing dynasty began casting coins in the Central Asian
region of Eastern Turkestan (which they named "Xinjiang" -
Chinese for "The New Frontier," sometimes transliterated as
"Sinkiang") in 1760, only one year after the emperor Qianlong's
generals conquered the region's capital of Kashgar.  Not only did
this primarily Muslim and Turkic-speaking region represent a
distinct cultural landscape for the empire, but also a special
economic environment.  The many differences between the coinages
of Qing Xinjiang and China proper reflected the special demands of
governing this area.  The coins cast in Xinjiang were made from
copper, rather than the br
onze used for the rest of the empire's
coinage, leading to the nickname "red cash."  These copper coins
were valued at five of the standard cash, and provided some
continuity with the monetary system used under the region's
previous rulers, the Dzungar Mongols.  Most of the red cash also
displayed mint names in the local Turkic language.  Lying far from
the empire's center, Xinjiang was somewhat loosely governed by the
court, and this is reflected in the great variety of coin types
produced, some of them quite innovative.  In spite of frequent
rebellions and invasions, the coinage of red cash continued on and
off through the nineteenth century and into the beginning of the
twentieth.  The final examples of red cash were cast 1909 in the
name of the last emperor, Xuantong (Puyi), using the same casting
technology employed by Chinese mints for 2,000 years.
The red cash of Xinjiang are quite popular among Chinese collectors
for their abundance of unusual types, and for their connection to the
"Silk Road" and "Western Regions" history/mythology.  Some of
the coins of Qing Xinjiang represent surprising breaks from Chinese
coinage traditions.  Most types are trilingual, and errors were
abundant.  Among the numerous types of red cash there are both
great rarities and common pieces with strong historical significance.  
These can be explored in this site's
reference catalogue, which
should also be useful as an attribution guide.  Hopefully this
catalogue can serve as a temporary reference for those who cannot
access the standard Chinese-language works on the subject.
Reference Catalogue
Catalogue Introduction
Pre-Yakub Beg Cash
Rebels' Copper Coins
Post-Reconquest Coins
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Pre-Qing Coins
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Pre-Qing coins
From the 11th century until the Qing conquest, 'Altishahr,' i.e. the
Southern two-thirds of what is now Xinjiang, was mostly in the hands
of Muslim rulers (the exception is the period of on-and-off Zhungar
rule from the last decade of the 1600s until the Qing conquest).  
Many of these rulers struck coins in Altishahr, but scholarship and
cataloguing for these types is spread across many publications,
some of which are rather difficult to find.  To partially address this
difficulty, the
Pre-Qing Coins page presents specimens from all
dynasties that struck coins in Altishahr from the arrival of Islam to
the Qing conquest.