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China: Around The Nation

Hundreds scramble for silver coins found in demolished Chinese home

Cash dating back to the Qing dynasty found in the walls of the house in Jiangxi province and owner wants looted money returned, according to media reports

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 12:13pm

Hundreds of villagers in eastern China scrambled for old silver coins that fell out of the walls as a house was being demolished, according to Chinese media reports.

A large number of silver coins emerged when a bulldozer knocked down the walls of an old home in Jishui county in Jiangxi province on December 20, the local news website Jxnews.com.cn reported.

Villagers started to pick up coins from the rubble and some were able to take dozens away, the report said.

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Some coins were issued in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) while others bore the portrait of President Yuan Shikai during the Republic of China in the early 20th century, which collectors call Fatman dollars.

Owners of the old house were not present when the demolition work began under a village development project.

Li Chungen, one of the owners, was quoted as saying that the house used to belong to his grandfather and the family’s living members did not know about the coins hidden inside the walls.

Li has demanded the coins be returned and police are now looking into the case, according to the report.

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A lawyer, whose full name was not given, told reporters the state would have ownership of the old cash if Li could not prove the coins belonged to his family.

Silver coins were first produced in China during the Qing Dynasty and the Kuomintang government decided to replace them with paper money in 1935.