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A short introduction to Tibetan coins. Click here to download the PDF.

Literature on Tibetan coins: Books and journals:

click the pictures for more information:

A Study of Tibetan Paper Money by Wolfgang BertschBertsch a study of tibetan paper money

The Currency of Tibet by Wolfgang Bertsch
Bertsch the currency of tibet

Geld aus Tibet by Karl GabrischGabrisch geld aus tibet

中国西藏钱币图录 Zhongguo xizang qianbi tulu by Yin Zhenminyin zhen min

中国西藏钱币 Zhongguo Xizang qianbi
krung govi bod kyi dngul

西藏地方货币 Xizang difang huobi by Wang Haiyan
xizang difang huobi

四川藏洋 Sichuan zangyang
sichuan rupee book

原西藏地方货币概况 Yuan Xizang difang huobi gaikuang
chin green coin book

Journal article in 西藏研究/ Xizang yanjiu/ Tibet Studies
bod ljongs zhib vjug

Journal article in 中国藏学/ Zhongguo zangxue/ China Tibetologychina tibetology

Journal articles in 中国钱币/ Zhongguo qianbi/ China Moneychina numismatics

Journal articles in 西藏金融/ Xizang jinrong/ Tibet Finance
bod lyjongs dngul rtsa


For more books in Tibetan language see:




a beautiful page by myself on Chinese Ration Coupons, so far mainly the minority areas like Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Guangxi (it is still under construction, but one can see already some of the enornous effort):


or interested in little antiques from Tibet:


I have a new project going on: it does not really fit with my coins ... but this is a birdwatching site for Tibet. I show pictures if the birds I can find here:


tibetbirds link


The Kar, Sho and Sang coinage was started in 1909, with the Tibetan year 15-43. There were coins of 2,5 Kar, 5 Kar, 7,5 Kar, 1 Sho, 3 Sho, 5 Sho, 1 Sang, 1,5 Sang, 3 Sang and 10 Sang.

The Sang had 100 Kar or 10 Sho, 1 Sho having 10 Kar,

This corresponds to the system of the later Qing Dynasty were: 1 tael = 10 mace = 100 candareens or later: 1 Yuan = 10 jiao = 100 Fen.

2.5 Kar43a

2.5 Kar43b

2,5 Kar, KM Y#10

2.5 Kar52a

2.5 Kar52b

2,5 Kar, KM Y#A19

2.5 Kar49a
2.5 Kar49b

2,5 Kar, KM Y#16.1

Lion looking up.

2.5 kar48a
2.5 kar 48b

2,5 Kar, KM Y#16.2

Lion looking back.

5 Kar KM Y#A10
5 kar 47a
5 kar47b

5 Kar KM Y#17.1

Lion looking up.

5 kar52a
5 kar52b

5 Kar KM Y#17.1

Lion looking back.

5 Kar KM Y#17.2
5 Kar KM Y#17.3

5 kar53a

5 kar53b


5 Kar KM Y#19.

Years 15-52, 53, 54, 55 and 56.


5 kar56dota
5 kar56dotb

5 Kar KM Y#19.1.

With dot above the denomination.

Only years 15-55 and 56. Year 55 is rare.

7.5 kar43b
7.5 kar43a
7,5 Kar KM Y#11. Very rare.

7,5 Kar KM Y#20

Years 15-52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 60. Year 60 is very rare.

1shoKM21 a

1 Sho KM Y#21

RARE, lion looking up.

1shoKM21b b
1shoKM21b a

1 Sho KM Y#21b

RARE, lion looking back.


1 Sho KM Y#21.1

without dots in the arabesques.


1 Sho KM Y#21.2,

with dots in the arabesques.


1 Sho KM Y#21a.

Denomination written above each other.

1 Sho KM Y#23
3 shoa
3 shob
3 Sho KM Y#27.1
3 Sho KM Y#27.2 with a double cloud line.
5 sho50a
5 sho50b

5 Sho silber

Lion looking up

Lion looking back
5shoKM28 a
5shoKM28 b

5 Sho KM Y#28

2 mountains.

5shoKM28.1 a
5shoKM28.1 b

5 Sho KM Y#28.1

3 mountains, 2 suns

5shoKM28.2 a
5shoKM28.2 b

5 Sho KM Y#28.2

no cloud over the central mountain

5shoKM28a a
5shoKM28a b

5 Sho KM Y#28a

moon and sun

1 sang
1 Sang, KM Y#12. The most common (still rare!) 1 Sang date. years 15-48, 52 and 53 are extremely rare!

1,5 Sang, KM Y#24.
There are the years 16-10, 11, 12 and 20.
16-20 is very rare.

3 Sang KM Y#25. Both years 16-7 and 8 are more rare than KM Y#26.




3 Sang KM Y#26. There are years 16-9, 10, 11, 12, 20. Years 9 is rare, year 20 rarest. There are a lot of varieties, "missing hook", "13 sun rays", counting the leg hairs etc. etc.
10 Sang KM Y#29.
There is only year 16-22 of thisvariety where the denomination is written in digits instead of letters.

3 Sang KM Y#29.1.
There is only year 23 of this sun and sun variety.
(in my KM version the picture has moon and sun, but this is wrong!)


10 Sang KM Y#29a. There are years 16-23 to 26. Year 23 is very rare. Dot varieties (dot/ no dot) behind the last digit of the date.


10 Sang KM Y#30.

There is year 16-24 and 16-25 and dot varieties behind the 4 or 5 (with/ without dot)



20 Sang, KM Y#22.

Years 15-52, 53, 54, 55. Year 55 is the rarest.





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