From the Siam of The King and I, rare porcelain gaming tokens...
Before Siam became Thailand, and when it was under Chinese rule, gaming houses used these small pieces of porcelain art as gaming tokens. Bright with colors and symbols of luck, these were found amongst the foundations of these once-busy structures - all that's left of a time long past.
Please Note: These are authentic Siam Porcelain Gaming Tokens, and you will receive the exact pendant in the photographs and description.
Made in China from 1760 to 1875, these colorful tokens were used as gaming pieces in private Chinese gaming houses in Siam (it became Thailand in 1939). In the absence of “small change” they were also used as money in surrounding areas. Scholars believe that there may have been as many as 1,000 “hongs,” or firms that issued the tokens, and more than 10,000 varieties have been recorded. To help reduce counterfeiting, the pieces were recalled with frequency and 2,000 to 6,000 new pieces were produced.
Your Porcelain Siam - Now Thailand - Gaming Token:
- Date circa: 1760 - 1875
- Token Material: Fine Chinese Porcelain
- Bezel Metal: Propriatary Non-tarnishing Sterling Silver
- Metal Smith: Robert Lewis Knecht
- Size: 1 1/8" wide, 1 1/2" Tall - just a little wider than a U.S. quarter. Perfect pendant size.
Special Note from Robert: Each of these tokens is a tiny work of art in legendary Chinese porcelain. Our collection comes from a long time treasure friend who carefully collected them when he traveled over there in the 1960s. They were originally recovered from the foundations of gaming establishments.
When we had our store in Cannon Beach, I have shown these to our Chinese visitors in hopes of getting a translation of what the hanzi (Chinese characters) said. In a few cases, some were able to make out a "word" or two, but its meaning is lost to time, as most of the characters' meanings were specific to the place and times they were in use.
The gaming tokens were created in delicate porcelain and hand colored in hues of green, blue, red and orange. The designs and inscriptions not only gave the value of each piece, but also denoted the issuing house, and depicted animals, sea creatures and good luck symbols.
The delicate porcelain tokens are fine examples of the famous Asian mastery of porcelain, long before such fine work was duplicated by European craftsman. In 1875, in an attempt to facilitate the use of new fiat currency, the government prohibited the use of the tokens as money.
Historical Note: These tokens were in use when Anna Leonowens was invited to Siam by King Mongkut (Rama IV). She recounted her adventures in The English Governess at the Siamese Court. Later, Margaret Landon fictionalized Leonowens' story into her best-selling novel, Anna and the King of Siam. And in 1951, Rogers and Hammerstiend's musical, The King and I hit the stage.
Your Porcelain Siam Gaming Token Necklace Comes Complete with:
- Our 100% Authentic Lifetime Guarantee
- A Detailed Certificate of Authenticity
- A Gift Box
- A Treasure Jewelry Care Card