Ancient Korean Coinage


The coinage of ancient Korea (pre-13th century CE) first employed Chinese coins, known locally as the oshuchon. Korean rulers began minting their own metal coins from the late 10th century CE, first in copper and iron, and later in bronze. These coins never really gained wide circulation, though, and it would not be until the 17th century CE that coinage fully replaced the barter system prevalent throughout the peninsula. Another form of currency, in use from the 12th to 14th century CE, was the unbyong silver vase, stamped by the state and given an official rate of exchange with staple commodities such as rice; it was shaped like the peninsula of Korea.

More about: Ancient Korean Coinage


  • 996
    The first Korean coins are minted by the Goryeo Dynasty.
  • 1097
    The Goryeo king, Sukjong, mints copper coins in Korea.
  • 1101
    The unbyong (aka hwalgu) silver vases are first made and used as currency in Korea.
  • 1102
    The Goryeo king, Sukjong, mints a second issue of copper coins in Korea.