For several centuries China has been accustomed to use silver at its intrinsic value; in many parts of the country - as a matter of fact, more than three-quarters of the area in China - even silver is too valuable for the ordinary transactions. For all practical purposes, the only recognized currency of the country is a small copper or rather a brass coin with a square hole through the centre and certain mysterious characters displayed on the margin. This copper cash has been the standard of value for centuries. Until the reign of Hien Feng, the copper currency was more or less carefully regulated. The war with England and the gradual deterioration of the finances led the Ministers of that Emperor to attempt the wholesale debasement of the copper currency. The old copper cash were called in; tokens representing 5, 10, 15, and 100 cash were coined instead, while an attempt was made to foist on the people in place of the ordinary cash a new coin somewhat resembling it in size and form. This introduction of the new coin is not new to the history of China, but this is probably the first occasion when tokens were issued in China. The provinces simply would not touch this token and, in 1864, during the Taiping Revolt the tokens were simply sold as old brass. Since then, of course, after several tussles between the people and the Government, the copper coins (including the ten cash coins issued from the new mints), practically all became tokens. But the people got their own back on the Government by accepting these coins only at a great discount. At first, of course, when the new ten cash pieces were introduced, the appearance of the coin went a long way to induce the people to accept the coin with as little discount as possible; later on the promiscuous and ever increasing issue of the ten cash pieces lead to an unprecedented depreciation in values.