Silver Snail Sycee "Yuansi" from Yunnan Province - Lot of Three (Personal Collection)
Hi everyone! Today, I would like to share some more silver sycee that I got from an old, vintage collection! It is actually a batch of three silver sycee. Be sure to scroll through the post as I have multiple photos, scans, as well as videos.
This type of silver sycee is a "yuansi" or a snail shaped sycee and originates from Yunnan Province or the border regions with China and Southeast Asian countries. Also, these could have been used in Thailand under the Shan tribes. These were used in the 19th Century and may have been used for the Opium Trade. I need to do more research on this, and I will be sure to keep you updated. Nevertheless, back to the name, these sycee resembles a "snail" because on the top of the silver sycee, there is a swirly thingy LOL that resembles a snail's shell. This type of sycee is also more spherical and is quite common, though more thorough research is needed. Moreover, these sycees has a nice and original patina to it which is that there is some original dirt and soil that seem to encrust the silver. I will try to pick them out and do some gentle cleaning with, say, a toothpick. Lastly, appearance wise, these types of sycee do seem more crude and quite jagged in their casting, that is, one of the pieces has a hole in the rim, and the edges are quite sharp. One must be cautious! However, I am able to see that the casting mold holes are sharp and uniform, with nice pimples and dimples on the bottom of the sycee. I think they look like craters!
The weights of these are about TWO TAELS, though slightly less, and this is a clear identifier. These little sycee do pack a punch and are quite heavy. I expect the silver fineness to be quite high and decent, though not as high as the ASSAYED Yunnan saddle pack (with, say, two assaying chops). One of the specimens, E, weighs 61.3 grams, which is about 1.6 taels, and D, which weighs 58.5 grams, which is about 1.56 taels. The last piece, specimen C, should be around that weight.
[Summary] Silver sycee of the "yuansi" or a snail shaped type and originates from Yunnan Province or the border regions with China and Southeast Asian countries. This could have been used in Thailand under the Shan tribes. These were used in the 19th Century according to various sources, and may have been used for the Opium Trade. I need to do more research on this and I will be sure to keep you updated.
From my Personal Collection. Acquired Mid January 2023. A Lot of Three Pieces.