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Hunan Soviet Counter

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Hunan Soviet - 1931

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Hunan Soviet - Star Hammer Sickle C/S
Hunan Soviet - Star Hammer Sickle C/S

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Registered: August 2005
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 2,362
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HUNAN SOVIET: AE 20 cash, ND [1931], countermarked hammer & sickle within five-pointed star on Szechuan Province Y-464.2 type, Fine to Very Fine on worn host, RR. The only reference to these were from the 'Money Company' coin auction of September 1984 and a Gregory G. Brunk article in the Numismatics International "Bulletin" of July/August 2009. This coin was picked from bags containing 30,000 coins put aside during WWII as the Japanese were melting Chinese coppers for the war effort. Only 100 of these countermarked pieces were found in the bags on various host coins of which about 20% had clear countermarks. This is among the best in the group. [description of Stephen Album auction 13 Lot#984].
I bought this despite the crude nature of the host coin. I wanted to compare to other Star/Hammer/Sickle counterstamps I have acquired; see this site. I was shocked to learn that it required better than $350 to bring it home. The previous lot at the sale [lot #983] had a nicer host but a greater open crack or two. The lucky winner there was down better than $750. Part of the description seems to have come from this site but the juicy details about the Japanese collection of Chinese coins for melting was intrigueing, to say the least. RR and they're getting more expensive as they appear on the market. These may be the earliest efforts for coinage within the Red Army bases. Only the obverse for now, the Rx is almost worn flat. The Y 464.2 type is supposed to have a dot in the center of the first '0' in 200. I may see traces of it but, in addition to the heavy wear, there is a dimple there. Generally, the form of this coin is much more like Y464.2 with the plain rim and edge, appears like brass and this type is known to be overstruck on previous coins. Also, check out the rosette with rays above the 200, that's not supposed to be there. It's a beautiful and historical mess! [Please register and Comment below]

A great article published in the CHOPMARK NEWS (ed. Colin Gullberg; vol.22, issue 2, Dec 2018) is a fine, and first article on chopmarked and countermarked Chinese coins in copper. The following is a excerpt on 'Countermarks: Coins of Revolution and Propaganda,' by Cedric Cheung [see original and full article or contact me]:
Chopmarks and countermarks can appear very similar. However, we use the term countermark when it is chopped by a government entity with the intent to label the coin as legal tender within their borders as opposed to a chopmark which is made by a private business or person.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the ruling Nationalist (KMT) were not always mortal enemies, in fact they worked together at least twice before the CCP defeated the Nationalists in 1949.3 Five years after its inception in 1921, with the blessing of Sun Yat-sen, the CCP joined forces with the KMT forming the “First United Front” army to root out local warlords and unite China in the Northern Expedition. However, by 1927 the communists were viewed as a growing threat by the new Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and were purged by the thousands and the CCP was outlawed. The communists fled the cities and reorganized in rural areas focusing their efforts to recruit peasant farmers. By 1929, numerous “soviets” (local areas in control of the communists) were established, mostly in the southern
inland provinces of Kiangsi, Hepeh, Fukien, and Hunan and Shensi in the north.
By 1934, the area the CCP controlled was so large that the KMT could no longer ignore this threat and launched an allout offensive. After suffering several military defeats, the communists had no choice but to retreat, resulting in the so called "Long March" to their rural stronghold in central northern China in Shaanxi province. The party once again reorganized into a rural based guerilla force and were successful in recruiting peasant farmers and recapturing more land. However, when Japan invaded China in 1937, the Nationalists and Communists had a common enemy that neither were able to defeat alone and so they made an uneasy alliance. After Japan was defeated in WW2 the country plunged into civil war with Mao Ze Dong’s CCP emerging victorious in 1949.
For the purposes of studying the Communist coinage of this time, it is important to go back to the first National Conference of the Chinese Soviet Republic of 1931, where it became official policy to countermark existing coinage in all soviets for use as local money.[see Sanrock Part I, below] By this time, there were 231 counties spread out in over a dozen provinces with a population of 3 million under its control. Countermarking was done locally, accounting for the many varieties of Soviet countermarks. The most commonly found host coins are 20, 50, and 200 cash coins.
It must be remembered that to be caught with Communist money, of any kind, meant severe penalty in Nationalist held territory. [JM]
Here are a number of RARE articles on Communist Chinese Soviet coins & notes from the Moneta Library:
Chinese Soviet Coins and Notes - Raeburn (1st research 1937!): [ link ]
Chinese Soviet Coins Intriguing - Hogan: [ link ]
Chinese Communist Armies - Kann (excerpt): [ link ]
Soviet Chinese Copper Coins - Hua Guangpu (Little Brown Book): [ link ]
Chinese Soviet Copper Coins - Duan, Hong Gang: [ link ]

The premier articles on Early Chinese Soviet issues are the invaluable documents below. It covers the history, coins and notes from 1927-1935 and includes photos and a map: (with color photos; in 3 parts);
Money of Communist China - Sandrock Part I: [ link ]
Money of Communist China - Sandrock Part II: [ link ]
Money of Communist China - Sandrock Part III: [ link ]
· Date: May 19, 2012 · Views: 4,432 · Filesize: 32.2kb, 99.7kb · Dimensions: 890 x 451 ·
Keywords: Szechuan Hunan Soviet Chinese Red Army
Denomination: 20 Cash
Reference #: Szechuan Y#464.2 type [1926, 200 Cash]
Date/Mintmark: Hunan Soviet c/s ~1931
Condition: F-VF [S. Album]
Weight: 14.28 g; 32mm
Metal: brass

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