China Ming Dynasty


1 Kuan, 1367-1398

1 kuan 1367-1398 front
1 kuan 1367-1398 back

This note was printed on recycled gray mulberry bark paper from discarded government documents and examination papers.
The six Chinese characters on the top read "Ta Ming T'ung Hsing Pao Ch'ao" (Great Ming General Circulation Treasury Note).
The note was hand stamped with two square red seals for authentication. The upper seal reads "Seal of the Great Ming Treasury Note"; the lower seal "Seal of the Board of Revenue"
The outer frame is decorated with ornate dragon patterns. Inside, the upper half shows the denomination "1 Kuan" and a pictograph of 10 strings of coins. These are framed by two panels, one on each side, with eight Chinese characters "Ta Ming Pao Ch'ao, T'ien Hsia T'ung Hsing" (Great Ming Treasury Note, Circulating Everywhere Under the Heavens).
Written in Chinese inside the lower half: The Board of Revenue...Having petitioned and received Imperial Sanction...(to print) The Great Ming Treasury Note...which shall be current as copper cash...Counterfeiters shall be decapitated...Informant shall be rewarded with 250 taels of silver and all the properties of the criminal...(issued on) this day___of the ___month of___year of the Era of Hongwu.


Certificate of Origin

certificate of origin


The note later came into the possession of Ed Bohannon, a contributor of the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. I bought it from Ponterio & Associates auction of the Ed Bohannon Collection of Chinese Paper Money on April 28, 2001.

row spacing

This note, measuring 220 mm x 335mm (8 3/4" x 13 1/4"), was the world's largest banknote until 1998 when Philippines issued a 355.6mm x 215.9mm (14" x 8 1/2"), 100,000 Peso note to commemorate the Centennial of Independence.


Emperor Hongwu

Emperor Hongwu
Hongwu (1328-1398), Emperor of China Ming Dynasty 1368-1398.


1 Kuan, 1367-1398 Forged Note

1 kuan 1367-1398 front
1 kuan 1367-1398 back

I bought this note on eBay from a college history teacher in China on March 12, 2010. I believe it is forged.

How can you tell a forged note from a genuine note?

1. The size of the forged note is slightly wider and shorter, 230mm x 325mm (9" x 12 3/4") versus 220 mm x 335mm (8 3/4" x 13 1/4").
2. The paper looks different.
3. The color of the seals on the reproduction is dull brown rather than iridescent orange.

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