The “Horse Gaming Tokens” of Szechuan

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By Jeremy Bostwick – Senior Numismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers ……
 

Very like the American pastime poker typically involving some pleasant financial wagering, so too it’s for Mahjong in a big portion of the Far East.

Although enjoying playing cards have been round for over a millennium, probably being launched within the ninth century CE (coincidentally sufficient throughout China’s Tang dynasty), the sport of Mahjong probably had its debut throughout China’s ultimate imperial household, the Qing dynasty within the mid-18th century. Involving 144 tiles with numerous symbols and Chinese language characters, it’s usually performed with 4 gamers using a turn-based technique and should have derived from an earlier recreation referred to as Mah-tiae (“hanging horse”). Quite a few variants to common gameplay and home guidelines exist, although the general look to the design on the tiles tends to stay pretty constant, with bamboo and flowers, for instance, enjoying a big function.

Given the scoring system concerned, the usage of gaming counters or tokens is a necessity, with many tile units typically together with them as properly. Any kind of counter, nevertheless, can clearly fill this ‘token’ function, permitting for a participant to personalize their set and, in flip, the gaming expertise.

In our upcoming October 2020 Hong Kong public sale—our largest such public sale up to now—an unlimited array of reasonably uncommon gaming tokens will likely be provided. These fascinating items of exonumia will not be broadly understood, although they’ve been attributed to the province of Szechuan and dated to the second decade of the twentieth century. Most make use of the picture of a horse in a wide range of poses. The reverses supply a bit extra variance, as they typically function reeds and flowers similar to these discovered on a number of the Mahjong gaming tiles.

Along with the number of horse poses and reverse iconography, metallic content material and modules can fluctuate, permitting for the collector to pursue any variety of amassing avenues. It stays unsure what their meant function was, however the ubiquitous nature of Mahjong in addition to the necessity for reckoning its scoring make these “horse gaming tokens” a possible candidate within the early years of the Chinese language Republic. Whether or not one is a complicated collector looking for a extremely particular selection or a newbie merely trying so as to add one thing from the peripheries of numismatics, this unimaginable group—probably the most important and most various provided—will fulfill all who’re in a position to rating a token or three.

To view our upcoming public sale schedule and future choices, please go to StacksBowers.com the place it’s possible you’ll register and take part on this and different forthcoming gross sales.

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We’re all the time searching for cash, medals, and paper cash for our future auctions, and are at the moment accepting submissions for our 2021 NYINC public sale in January in addition to our subsequent CCO (Collectors Selection On-line) public sale in February. If you want to be taught extra about consigning, whether or not a singular merchandise or a whole assortment, please contact one in all our consignment administrators at this time and we are going to help you in reaching the absolute best return in your materials.
 

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