34. The Nicholas Rhodes Collection of Tibetan Coins

A reminder of how useful auction catalogues can be…  The Nicholas Rhodes Collection of Tibetan Coins  (羅寶士收藏 : 中國西藏錢幣 中國西藏紙幣), sold by Spink China, 21 August 2013, in Hong Kong – is available online. 


Nicholas Rhodes (1946-2011) had an exceptional collection of Tibetan coins and banknotes. This beautifully illustrated catalogue is written by Wolfgang Bertsch, also known for his expertise on Tibetan coins and banknotes, and is an excellent resource (see the Table of Contents below).

In his retirement, Nick became a volunteer at the British Museum, helping us with the Online Catalogue, checking/creating all of the database records for the BM’s collection of Tibetan coins and banknotes.  These can all be viewed, with images, on the British Museum’s Collection Online.

Wolfgang Bertsch, well-known in East Asian numismatics, is the author of several books, including the two below. For his more recent publications, check the Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society, and Numismatique Asiatique.


The Currency of Tibet: A Sourcebook for the Study of Tibetan Coins, Paper Money and Other Forms of Currency (Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, 2002) ISBN 81-86470-32-8 [image source snowlandcoins.com ]


A Study Of Tibetan Paper Money, with a Critical Bibliography (Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, 1997) ISBN 81-86470-16-6 [image source snowlandcoins.com ]

The Nicholas Rhodes Collection of Tibetan Coins – Table of Contents

  • Nicholas Rhodes (1946-2011) (p.5)
  • Nicholas Rhodes and his collection of Tibetan coins (p. 6)
  • A brief introduction to the coinage of Tibet (pp. 7-11)
    • Historical overview
    • Tibetan currency units
    • Dates on Tibetan coins
    • Historical Photograph (1): Interior of the Tibetan Mint Trabshi Lekung (by F. Williamson, 31 August 1933) (p. 9)
    • Historical Photograph (2): Coin minting in the Dode Mint, located about 12 km north-east of Lhasa. From a film taken in c. 1930 by Sonam Wangfel Laden La. The coin press was most probably made by the British firm Taylor & Challen and imported by the Tibetan Government in the 1920s. The Tibetans extended the arms of the press with two tubes to improve the leverage. (p.11)
  • Catalogue
    • The earliest coins struck by the Tibetans (pp. 12-14)
    • Nepalese coins adapted for Tibet (pp. 14-16)
    • Sino-Tibetan coins issued under joint Chinese and Tibetan authority (pp. 16-35)
    • Kong Par tangkas (pp. 36-42)
    • Tangkas with Ranjana script (pp. 42-44)
    • Coins adapted with bow and arrow (p. 44)
    • Chinese issues for Tibet – Sichuan rupee (pp. 45-54)
    • Sichuan rupees countermarked in Eastern Tibet (pp. 55-58)
    • The Gaden tangkas (pp. 59-67)
    • Special tangkas (“Monk Tangka”) 1910 (pp. 68-69)
    • Tibetan pattern coins (pp. 70-78)
    • 20th century Sino-Tibetan coins under Chinese authority (pp. 78-81)
    • Other coins in the name of Xuan Tong (pp. 82-83)
    • Coinage of the 13th Dalai Lama (pp. 84-91)
    • The 3-srang silver coins (pp. 92-103)
    • Copper coins of the 20th century (pp. 104-109)
    • 20 tam srang gold coins (pp. 110-112)
    • Chinese Republic for Tibet (pp. 113-114)
    • Fantasy coins (pp. 114-119)
    • Miscellaneous (p. 120)
    • Banknotes of Tibet (pp. 122-124)
    • The multi-coloured 50 tam notes (pp. 125-126)
    • The 10 srang note (p. 127)
    • The 5 srang note (p. 128)
    • The 100 tam (srang) note (p. 128)
    • The 25 srang note (p. 130)
    • The banknotes of the Provincial Bank of Xikang (pp. 130-131)
    • Bibliography (p. 132)
    • Other references (pp. 133-135)

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