How to Buy Coins from Asia on eBay

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How to Buy Coins from Asia on eBay

eBay is a great place to buy coins from Asia. Whether the shopper is buying the coins to put in a collection, for sentimental reasons or as a long-term investment, eBay sells a large range of coins from Asia. Coin collecting is not a new phenomenon, however, the variety of places to buy coins has changed during the years and decades. Shoppers can now buy coins from Asia on the internet as well as at antique shops and auctions.

The purpose of this guide is to inform the reader and potential buyer all about coins from Asia and how to purchase them from renowned internet shopping website eBay.

What is Coin Collecting?

* Coin collecting is the collecting of coins and other forms of minted legal tender. It is an enjoyable and often profitable hobby for many collectors. Collecting coins also allows the collector to own a piece of history.

* Coins that appeal to collectors are often those with short circulation periods, coins with mint errors and especially beautiful or historically significant pieces. The coins collected often display key elements of cultures and key historical figures (kings, queens and other leaders).

A Brief History of Coins

In Western history, coins were first used by the neo-Hittite civilisation of Lydia, but globally, the Chinese were the first to utilise the currency type. The Greeks used coins for trading and so did Alexander the Great who sustained the usage of coins in the realms he conquered. But perhaps our gratitude for coins is owed to the Roman Empire who persevered with coins using them as a trading object which aided in the contribution of modern day monetary systems.

Coins from Asia

Coins come from many different countries from all over the world, but coins from Asia are one of the most popular collection types. This is largely to do with the fact that the earliest coinage of Asia is the oldest coinage of the world. Although the dating of the earliest coinage is almost impossible to establish, the first coins of China are at least as old as the earliest Lydian coins mentioned previously.

Pre-modern Chinese coins were made from cast bronze or brass- Japan, Korea and Vietnam would later also adopt this notion.

Far Eastern Coinage

* China was the first country in Asia to produce and utilise coins. Many East-Asian countries including Korea, Japan and Vietnam used Chinese coins for currency for hundreds of years and as such Chinese coins are the most popular coinage to collect.

* Chinese coins vary a great deal in shape and size from spade and knife-shaped coins in the North-East to small oval pieces in Southern China. These coins emerged around the 7th century BCE (Before the Common Era) and were not organised by China's central authority.

* The first coins minted to be uses as currency were not made until the 4th century BCE with the introduction of Ban Liang coins. These coins also known as cash coins, were produced in the Western state of Qin and were round and made from cast bronze with holes in the centre.

* Following the conquering of the other Chinese states, the Qin Dynasty in 221 BCE replaced all other coinage in China with the Band Liang coinage system. These coins were often strung together with threads made of hemp into standardised-size strings of cash which represented fixed values.

* The Ban Liang coins would be replaced in 118 BCE by the Wu Zhu coinage. These coins were minted until 621 CE, the period of the Tang Dynasty.

* The Wu Zhu and Ban Liang coins were produced for almost a thousand years combined which is why there is an abundance of these coins available in many different varieties.

South Asian Coinage

The first coins in South Asia were produced in India around 600 BCE shortly after the first Chinese coins were circulating. The first Indian coins were either round, square or long sticks of silver with punch marks depicting the various kingdoms they were issued in. The Indian kingdoms issuing coins included:

* The Eastern Deccan

* Saurashtra Peninsula

* Avanti (Narbada Valley)

* Kamboja

* Gandhara

* Taxila

* Panchala

* Kuru

* The Magadha Empire

* Kosala

* Kashi

The first coins issued under a united India were from the Maurya Empire from 322 to 185 BCE although they were similar to the older issues.

During the 4th century BC, following Alexander the Great's invasion of the Indus Valley and Punjab region, the Drachma (Greek currency) was introduced and stayed for many years.

Coin Terms

Coin sellers use a multitude of terms to describe coins and their condition. Buyers should familiarise themselves with these common terms prior to purchase for a fully-informed purchasing decision:




No evidence of tarnish or oxidisation.

BU Rolls

Wrapped in paper coins.


Unintentional variations from the normal coin.

Full Strike

Full detail created by metal flowing into all areas of a die.

Large Date or Large Letters

Include larger dates or lettering present on the coins. It implies that small or medium numbers/letters exist of the coin/series.

Slabbed Coins

Coins encapsulated in a sonically-sealed plastic holder by a grading service.


Coins that never circulated as a currency type (this term sometimes refers to coins without any wear).


Describes the erosion of a coin's metal which can cause the design, lettering and date to fade.

The Sheldon Scale

Although there are several different coin grading scales used in the world today, the most common is the Sheldon Scale. This is a brief guide to the Sheldon Scale:

Mint state


Perfect (MS-70)

No flaws, bright with an outstanding appearance.

All-But-Perfect (MS-69)

Uncirculated, perfect until under a microscope.

Quality (MS-68)

Uncirculated, no visible contact marks.

Choice (MS-65)

Uncirculated, average strike, few contact marks.

Acceptable (MS-63)

Uncirculated, contact marks and nicks visible.

Basal (MS-60)

Strictly uncirculated, obvious markings, no luster.

Very Choice Uncirculated (AU-58)

Slight traces of wear, luster, contact marks.

About Circulated (AU-50)

Slight wear, contact marks often.

Extremely Fine (EF-40)

Lightly worn, devices are clear and bold.

Very Fine (VF-20)

Moderately warn with finer details remaining.

Fine (F-12)

Very worn but wear is even and design is bold.

Very Good (VG-8)

Very warn but design may be faint with little detail.

Good (G-4)

Heavily worn, details mostly gone.

Fair (FR-2)

Worn almost smooth but better than Poor coins.

Poor (P-1)

Almost identifiable, must have date and mint mark.

How to Buy Coins from Asia on eBay

* eBay is a fantastic place to buy coins from Asia. Should the buyer be looking for a Ban Liang coin for Ancient China or a rare coin from the Saurashtra Peninsula in India, eBay sells an extensive range of coins from Asia.

* eBay is one the most popular ecommerce websites on the internet known for its highly competitive pricing, excellent customer service and overall great user experience. As part of this great user experience, eBay offers its customers a choice when purchasing products from the website. Shoppers can either buy the item immediately (Buy Now) or they can opt to bid for the item (Bid Now) seeking out the best price available for that product.

* Finding the sought-after Asian coin is easy with eBay's search functions. Simply type in the name, origin or era of the coin, into the search toolbar and press Enter. Then scroll through the search results to find the most relevant one and once clicked onto it, the shopper is taken to that products individual listings page.

* Each product for sale on eBay has its own listings page. This page includes information about the product (detailed analysis, product specification, comments about the items condition) and photographs of it.

* eBay also provides information about the items seller including their: eBay rating, selling history and their location (so the buyer can decide whether to pick it up or have it delivered). If the buyer reads the product listing page and still requires more information or wishes to have a query answered, they can contact the seller directly themselves.

* Once the shopper has found their desired coin from Asia, they have two choices concerning payment; to buy it immediately (simply click Buy Now) or to bid for it in an auction format (click Bid Now).

* All transactions made on eBay are 100% safe and secure thanks to PayPal. PayPal enables you to pay the seller without having to share any important bank details or personal information. The secure payment authority provides 100% protection for their customers against any unauthorised payments from their account.


There are many considerations to take into account when purchasing coins from Asia. However with the great user experience and comprehensive help section that the website offers, buying coins from Asia on eBay is easy. Collecting coins from Asia is not only a great hobby activity but is also a good investment strategy.

This guide has provided some invaluable hints, tips, and information on how to purchase coins from Asia on eBay and what to look for when buying these products. As has been highlighted there are a large number of alternatives from all countries in Asia, so coin collectors are spoilt for choice.

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