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'33rd year of Kuang Hsu' coin


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No question here, just something I want to share. While looking for what to call a 大洋 in Dutch, I came across this picture of a Chinese coin from, well, you guessed it. Click on the picture to make it bigger. With the year name in English. I think this is really cool.

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Yah, that was an issue. If it were English, I'd simply translate it as 'silver dollar', but in Dutch it's weird to call a Chinese coin a 'zilveren dollar', since dollars here are a specific currency, not a word meaning 'piece of money', and Dutch readers wouldn't accept coming across dollars in a Chinese setting. Gulden or florijn would be weird for the same reason: they're Dutch coins, not Chinese. I considered daalder, but that was not great either. 'Zilveren munten', silver coins, was not suitable as it's too vague and also makes it sound like something from centuries ago.


To complicate matters further, that particular scene takes place in 1937, someone is betting 1000 大洋 on a cricket in Shanghai and it's implied that is a large amount. From a quick search, I got the impression that by 1937, inflation was already pretty serious and 1000 kuai wouldn't be that much.


So in the end I translated it as '1000 yuan', as I couldn't think of a better way to get the point across that it was Chinese money, and a lot of it. But now that I'm writing this I'm wondering if I should go back and change it to 'zilveren dollar' after all.


But the coin is cool, isn't it!

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