RE: The Currency Symbol of China

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Tue Oct 01 2002 - 11:28:05 EDT

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    On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Thomas Chan wrote:

    > (Was U+56ED what you saw, James?--I don't have my Krause catalog by me at
    > the moment, but I think it was present on older PRC coinage.)

    A correction to myself here--I thought I had seen U+56ED as a currency
    unit, but now I cannot find a reference in my notes, so I'm retracting
    this one.

    James Kass said:
    >I don't blame you. According to Krause...
    >One Dollar (Yuan) = 100 Cents (Fen/Hsien) = 1000 Cash (Wen/Ch'ien) =
    > (=) 0.72 Tael (Liang) = 7 Mace and 2 Candareens
    >...and, that's just for starters.

    Well, the last part is a different system--mace and candareens are weight
    measures for silver coins as part of the "tael" system: liang/qian/fei/li
    (tael/mace/candareen/?). Hence, there are three systems: dollar, cash,
    and tael.

    The 1/100th units fen and xian (hsien in Krause) are part of different
    systems: yuan-jiao-fen in the north, and yuan-hao-xian in the south.
    (xian U+4ED9 < English 'cent', even in Macau, where 1/100th of a pataca is
    an avo.) The northern and southern systems may be seen residually in
    contemporary Hong Kong and Macau, and historically during the early 20th
    century during a period of provincial minting in mainland China, where
    people used their local terminology on their coins, with the exception
    of the 1.0 unit. The situation is similar for the 1/10th unit; jiao in
    the north and hao in the south.

    Marco Cimarosti said:
    >U+5143 4~6~D^4~D6~^A
    >U+5186 4~6~D^4~DC^4~DC
    >U+5706 4~6~D^4~D^4~DC
    >U+570E 4~6~D^4~D^I
    >U+5713 4~6~D^4~D^O

    Thank you for finding these--I didn't realize that U+570E was encoded
    independently of U+5713, and not as a font variant of the latter. (And I
    had forgotten the obvious U+5713 ~ U+5706 connection.)

    I checked Krause--U+5713 may be seen on pre-war Japanese coinage for

    Alan Wood said:
    >I have added all of the symbols from this discussion to the second table
    >my page at:

    Please remove U+56ED--that was my mistake.

    U+6587 is not entirely appropriate there--while it was a currency unit
    (approx. 1/1000th yuan), it was gone in all regions by the early 1930s,
    and now it is just (a least) a colloquial Cantonese synonym for yuan, sort
    of like northern kuai4 U+584A/U+5757 'piece'. I can provide you with a
    bunch of other terms for 1/10th and 1/100th units, but once one steps into
    the realm of Han characters, one is no longer dealing with symbols but
    words, and the list can inflate very quickly unless restrictions are set,
    such as primary currency units (not 1/10th or 1/100th units) in
    contemporary use (not historical) that appear appear on currency (not
    other terms like "bucks", "benjamins", etc).

    U+5713 I wouldn't list as "yen/yuan variant"--it should be on the same
    level as U+5143 and U+5186, as U+5713 (Yuan) is the unit used in Taiwan
    and Hong Kong on the currency (despite being "dollars" in English).

    Thomas Chan

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