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Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Chinese coins found at great wall of china 1991


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Hey there,
In sept of 1991 I visited the great wall of china. As a long distance runner, I ran 12 miles into the ruins of the wall (far beyond tourist or guards) . During my run I stumbled upon 3 looters and surprised them. After they became comfortable with me, the begin to show me coins they had just found in the rubble. I purchased three of these coins with $60 US. Would you be able to help me figure out if these are real? Thanks.

Unfortunately you have fallen into a ploy that I've heard from several other visitors. These are typical novelty (modern) replicas of Chinese charms. They are often sold in markets on the cheap, but there have been various situations where creative ploys such as this have been employed to sell them for more money. You got lucky though, I have heard of people spending hundreds on a single one like this. $20 a piece is not all that bad for a memento of your trip and right around what they would be worth to someone interested in a fairly accurate looking copy.
PS: Looters, even if they did manage to find something, run the risk of being put to death. The Chinese government takes looting of culturally important sites extremely seriously. Certainly not worth the risk for $60.
Thanks for the question! :)

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Dmitry Livshits


My specialty is world coins from the 18th to 20th centuries, primarily non-US foreign coins and related areas such as errors and exonumia (tokens, medals, etc.). I can answer questions relating to identification, grading, selling, preservation and evaluation of such items. In addition to catalog value, I can give you the practical market value and trends for specific types of coins. I will also take questions regarding counterfeits (both modern and antique) and on how to identify them. I am NOT knowledgeable in paper money/banknotes, ancient or "shipwreck" coins. Thank you.


Collector of world coins since early childhood. Access to a variety of auction records and reference material. You can also find me on Facebook.

A.S. in Psychology (2006), B.A. in Forensic Psychology (2008), M.A. in Forensic Psychology (2011).

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