Early 1800's Porcelain Gambling Token____thailand, Siam-chinese____legal Tender
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Early 1800's Porcelain Gambling Token____thailand, Siam-chinese____legal Tender:
A BEAUTIFUL THICK PORCELAIN GAMBLING TOKEN OF THAILAND, SIAM-CHINA FROM THE EARLY 1800'S AD .
These porcelain token bore Chinese inscriptions naming the issuing house or wishing the users good fortune and pictorial designs mostly of Chinese origin.
For a number of years, locals used these tokens as legal tender.
THE SIZE IS 22.3 MM AND 3.09 GRAMS.
OBVERSE – Raised Chinese script
REVERSE – Inscribed Chinese Script
Times of emergency such as war, recession, or other economic crises, often result in shortages of metal. Occasionally, this has led to the use of non-metal materials for coins and tokens. One of the most interesting materials used in lieu of precious metal was porcelain.
The most famous instance of porcelain coins are the gambling tokens of 18th and 19th century Siam. They were made in China (hence the use of Chinese characters on the coins) for use in private gambling establishments in Siam. However, the locals began to use the tokens as legal tender.
These porcelain tokens were issued in Chinese-owned gambling houses (also known as hong) between the mid-17th and mid-18th centuries, and circulated locally as token currency as far as the issuer's authority was trusted.
In the early 19th century Chinese gambling houses in Bangkok produced porcelain tokens for use as gambling counters. They would exchange them on demand for silver, and changed the designs frequently in order to pre-empt forgeries. At the time there was a shortage of silver for coinage, and the porcelain tokens soon became a popular form of small change in the city.
The control of these tokens by the Siamese government became more and more difficult, and at last in 1871, it became necessary to prohibit and stop completely all circulation of these counters. However, the circulation of these tokens continued long after their prohibition. After the turn of the century, gambling was prohibited everywhere except in Bangkok, and after a decade, gambling was prohibited there as well, rendering the tokens useless.
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NOTE: Frascatius is a life member (LM #6864) of the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Frascatius fully complies with the ANA Member Code of Ethics.
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