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Siam-Thailand ceramic porcelain notgelds coins tokens

Locally called PEI, PEE, HONG, most often thick discs made of white porcelain used for games by the Chinese aristocracy in Siam. The beginning of the issue of porcelain coins dates back to 1760 (according to Haas) or 1821 (according to Schlegel). These tokens, however, were not used in the most popular game in China, mah-jong, but mainly in the game called Fantan (today known as the card equivalent of dominoes). Initially, these discs were used to count winnings. Casino owners of the so-called The Hongs exchanged these tokens for money. Subsequent issues of these tokens were approved for circulation as a normal means of payment in city districts where gaming centers were located.
Some of them had inscriptions about convertibility into gold, images of animals, numerical values, or names of issuers.






Morn fakes for tourists as comparative material.



Unfortunately, porcelain coins were often counterfeited, so new issues were issued with different quantities, colors and inscriptions.
Their value was often given in Chinese or Siamese on the reverse.
By edict of King Rama IV in 1875, the issuance of porcelain tokens was prohibited, while metal tokens were introduced. However, for a long period after the edict appeared, porcelain coins were eagerly collected and used as a normal means of payment.


Original token from Siam. Weight 5.03g, 24.3mm, thickness. 6.0mm


In total, the number of different types of porcelain coins issued is estimated at about 8,000 pieces. The peak of monetary circulation in porcelain coins dates back to 1850.
In fact, the entire period of the reign of Rama III - Nangklao (1824-1851) was a fascination with porcelain. The heritage of this monarch is the technique of decorating temples with pieces of Chinese porcelain. For example, the temple of Wat Arun in Bangkok received such an original decoration.



However, porcelain fashion disappeared with the death of the ruler.
(based on the article by Dr.T.D.Yih from the website https://chinesecoins.lyq.dk/



One of the first studies of this type of coins is the catalog of Henry Alexander Ramsden (1872/1915) from 1911 (reprint from 1977) "Siamese porcelain and Other Token". Another interesting item is Ralf Althoff's catalog of the Köhler collection located in the Stadt Kultur Museum in Duisburg. The catalog contains 54 boards with 1,300 porcelain coins. Here is an example of one with arrays.







Photo gallery of the Köhler collection

Siamese tokens that appeared on eBay auctions recently







Notowania ceramicznych tokenów na auctionch in Bangkoku


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