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Historical Tibetan Coins

Before 1650, Tibet coins included the gold ingots marked with stamps, known as gold Tibetan sho. Chinese silver ingots were used until the 20th century for larger transactions. Earliest coinage of Tibet during the 17th and 18th centuries was the silver coins supplied by Nepalese Malla Kingdom until 1741.

The Chinese strengthened their hold on Tibet during Nepal-Tibet invasion. Hence joint Chinese and Tibetan authority coinages were introduced. Between 1791 and 1836 the Tibetan currency was largely decided by the Chinese government in consultation with Tibetan authorities.

Tibet had a dual and therefore a complex system of currency units. One was imported from Nepal and known as Tibetan tangka. The other was imported from China and its basic unit was called Tibet srang. Both tangka and srang were circulated concurrently from about 1640 to 1959. Presently Tibet’s legal tender is Chinese Renminbi.

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