One of the reasons we use money is because bartering is not a very practical way to do it anymore. The days of when we would offer a Cow for 20 bags of grain or perform some manual labour for board and lodgings are now part of the past. As society grew these methods became unpractical and one of the quickest to advance was the Chinese Empire. Coins were used from about 770 BC onwards, for ceremonial purposes originally, and these early coins can be of great interest to Coin Dealers UK.
UK Coin dealers like GM Coins can help with the identification of many different coin types.
The big difference between the ancient Chinese coin and that of those in Europe is that they used molds as opposed to someone cutting and hammering the metal into shape. This certainly allowed for more quantitative easing back then and it was the Qin Dynasty, which unified China for the first time, which introduced the coin to a standard level throughout the country. This made life a lot easier for everyone and contributed to the smooth running of the economy certainly in the urban areas. However, by the start of the Han Dynasty everything was based around coin. You paid your taxes in it, you were paid physical in it and if you had misbehaved you paid any fines with it as well.
Another departure from the European coin is that the Chinese made theirs with cheaper metals. The most common coins used were made of copper and tin or lead. Their value was not linked to the metal but to the wider market. It was also an attempt to reduce the temptation of theft and you could never be sure how much of the coin was made up of its component metals. One other feature was the inclusion of a hole in the middle. This square hole was used so that you could tie them together making them easier to carry around and count off when paying for something.
Due to the vast size of the country it was not possible or practical to have a central Mint so there were regional offices that would try and stick to standardisation. However, there were also several privately owned Mints set up and the Governments were hard pushed to stop them. In some cases, such as in hard to govern areas, they simply gave up altogether.
The value of the coins in modern terms varies. Some were mass produced, for example the Han Dynasty produced millions, compared to the Da Quan from the Eastern Wu where there are only 6 examples left in the world.