The history of Chinese currency spans more than 3000 years. Currency of some type has been used in China since the Neolithic age which can be traced back to between 3000 and 4500 years ago. Cowry shells are believed to have been the earliest form of currency used in Central China, and were used during the Neolithic period.
Around 210 BC, the first emperor of China Qin Shi Huang (260–210 BC) abolished all other forms of local currency and introduced a uniform copper coin. Paper money was invented in China in the 9th century, but the base unit of currency remained the copper coin. Copper coins were used as the chief denomination of currency in China until the introduction of the yuan in the late 19th century.
In 1889, the Yuan was equated at par with the Mexican peso, a silver coin deriving from the Spanish dollar which circulated widely in South East Asia since the 17th century due to Spanish presence in the region. Banknotes were issued in yuan denominations from the 1890s by several local and private banks, along with the Imperial Bank of China and the "Hu Pu Bank" (later the "Ta-Ch'ing Government Bank"), established by the Imperial government. During the Imperial period, banknotes were issued in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 jiao, 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan, although notes below 1 yuan were uncommon.
Currently, the renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is the legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau use the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca, respectively. Having used decimal units for at least 2000 years, the yuan is suspected of being one of the first currencies to use the decimal currency system. It is also considered by some to be the first to use metal coins and bank notes.
Today, the Chinese Yuan is growing aggressively in popularity because of the News releases about China's investment in billions of dollars worth of REAL GOLD over the last several years. With China's strong world trade contributions, Gold purchases and economic stability, the Chines Yuan remains a highly sought after collectible foreign currency. The Yuan currency remains an affordable collectible currency, and still remains a monetized currency in many parts of the world, adding to the luster of many collectors.