The edges are generally sharp and unfinished, with a rough area where the casting sprew was broken off.
With the exception of some very late issues (Han period), none have inner or outer rims.
This series is difficult to classify, with specimens occurring at weights from 2 to 18 grams (but rarely over 12 grams), and diameters from 14 to over 34 mm.
Having examined a number of Pan Liang hoards, we found most specimens within a single hoard will be of uniform diameter but the weight can vary significantly.
If they really had been the principle coinage of China for over 75 years, they should be fairly common. Examples this size are scarce and like other Pan Liang coins, the heavier specimens are most prized by collectors so sell for more, even through all were probably part of the same issue. Average (4 specimens) 6.38 grams (range 4 to 12 grams).
This takes us back to our earlier theory that square-foot spades, and possibly ming knifes, were still in use throughout much of the Ch'in period, and may in fact have been the principle coinage of Ch'in. It is likely that the 34 mm Pan Liang coins are the earliest issues and may date to the period when the Chin Dynasty was a sub-dynasty under the Zhou. Collectors prize the heavier specimens, so the weight does affect the value in the market, but when these coins were in use it probably was not a factor in their circulating values.
Unfortunately, not enough dateable hoard or archeological evidence currently exists to work out the exact classification of the Pan Liang series, but the Records of Han provide a clue, stating that heavy Pan Liang were cast until about 187 BC.
We believe this refers to the larger specimens (over 30 mm) which range between 6 and 12 grams but averaging 7 to 8 grams or 15 shu.
The many calligraphy variations probably hold the key to this puzzle but with no official records extant, it is unlikely this will ever be fully understood.
They appear to have been cast in reusable carved stone (steatite) molds, several of which still exist today.
According to Michael Mitchiner (in Oriental Coins and their Values, The Ancient & Classical World, page 684), the suicide of Erh Shih Huang Ti (last Emperor of Ch'in) in 206 BC, resulted in a civil war in which a series of rebels fought for control of China.
img src="chis93.jpg" alt="Pan liang without rim" height="294" width="300" During the Zhou period, there had been a direct connection between the "Liang as a weight" (12 grams when applied to coinage) and the Liang as a coin denomination.
About the time the Chin Dynasty established control over China (and possibly a little earlier), the Pan Liang (or 1/2 Liang) coinage was introduced at this weight standard (about 6 grams), but very quickly the connection between the weight and the monetary unite ceased to apply.