A Short Primer on Chinese Weights and their Equivalent Denominations

The 5 Denominations found in General Issued Chinese Coins

From the smallest denomination (5 Cent) to the largest (1 Dollar)


General Information:

  • All coins were struck in silver
  • All coins were machine struck (milled)
  • The first machine struck coinage for general issue were at the Kwangtung Mint, with their first dies imported from the Heaton Mint, in Birmingham in 1888. 
  • Numerous provinces in China, along with the Central Mint, issued coins of the same size and denomination. 
  • Chinese denominations were based on the Ku Ping Treasury weight system. 

  1. The 5 Cent 
    1. Weight: 3.6 Candareens 
  2. The 10 Cent
    1. Weight: 7.2 Candareens
  3. The 20 Cent
    1. Weight: 1 Mace and 4.4 Candareens
  4. The 50 Cent
    1. Weight: 3 Mace and 6 Candareens
  5. The One Dollar
    1. Weight: 7 Mace and 2 Candareens
Information regarding subsequent Republican Issues:
  • During China's Republican era, there was a general shift from the weighting system of the Qing, such as denoting coins with the Mace and Candareen system. 
  • During this era, there were terms such as "1 Yuan" - a Chinese Dollar, that was the same size and weight as a Dragon Dollar of the Qing era, aka bearing a weight of 7 Mace and 2 Candareens
  • For smaller fractional issues, terms such as "Jiao" were used, denoting 10 cents. This is evident in Fukien and Kwangtung issues during the Republican era. 
Information regarding Sinkiang:
  • During this era's Qing and Republican years, there was a general adherence to a system called the Xianping Treasury Weight system, that was different than the standard Kuping System of the Chinese Treasury. 
  • For instance, the Xianping tael of Sinkiang, a "Sar", was heavier than their Kuping counterparts. 


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