Abstract: The Culture of Money in Nineteenth-Century China and the Coinage Act of 1873

Austin Dean


This paper provides an overview of the coinage system of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and follows attempts by the United States to replace the Mexican silver dollar as the coin of choice among Chinese merchants through the minting of the U.S. trade dollar in 1873. The paper argues that conventional understanding of the Coinage Act of 1873 adopts the perspective of the 1890s and overlooks important developments in the changing role of the United States in East Asia during the late nineteenth century.