Li Du was not schooled in antiques, but he could not let his ex-classmates down. As he released the little bug, he said, "I'll take a look at it, but please don't harbor too much hope. I'm really a novice."
After the little bug was released, it didn't fly towards the snuff bottle, but towards Yao Zhi Bo, who was quietly drinking tea.
To be accurate, it was flying towards his neck.
Li Du was puzzled. The little bug had flown to a pendant hanging on Yao Zhi Bo's neck. It was a copper coin covered with some rust and patina.
Seeing that, he stopped the little bug that was about to absorb time capability and said, "Hang on, Old Xu. Old devil, what's up with that copper coin around your neck?"
Yao Zhi Bo casually took it off and said, "Oh, wasn't I weak when I was a child? My parents had asked the doctor for a coin for safety. I have been wearing it for years."
Li Du picked up the coin for a look. The coin had been through years of perspiration and friction. The words on the coin were blurred from the friction and with a layer of patina on it, it looked rather nondescript.
He got the little bug to do a time reversal, and scenes involving the coin appeared.
In the first scene, the coin was fully unveiled, which meant that it had existed for at least 300 to 400 years.
At the beginning, the coin was in a box. Then a man from the Qing Dynasty appeared. He was wearing a green robe, and was bald on the front half of his head with a braid in the back. This man had treated the coin with care after receiving it until during wartime, when the coin became lost after it was retrieved from an old burning house and was misplaced.
Based on the time reversal, this coin seemed very valuable. Several collectors had valued it very much.
The old coin had been well preserved previously, and the words could be clearly made out: Tai Xia Zhen Xing.
He rubbed the smooth coin and said, "Does anyone know anything about this type of Tai Xia Zhen Xing coin?"
The group of people shook their heads blankly, and so, with an air of authority, Li Du said, "Then why not check on the net?"
He also had no idea what Da Xia Zhen Xing was, so he let everyone get on the internet. If they could find the explanation of the antique coin on the internet, he could make a quick escape.
If there was no explanation of this antique coin on the internet, he could then freely make up a story.
The crowd was overwhelmed by his demeanor, and everyone pulled out their mobile phones.
Zhang Xue Ning had the fastest access to the internet. After searching, she said in surprise, "Can't be, no, Du Zi, old devil, this antique coin is a Tai Xia Zhen Xing?"
Li Du nodded. "Yes, what did you find?"
"It is an antique coin made by Emperor Helian Bo Bo, the emperor during the period of the 16 states. It was the year 407. He had named the period 'Xia' when he had established his country in Shaanxi. During year 419, it was referred to as 'Zhen Xing' after he had seized Chang-an. It was during this time that the coin had been cast.
"The character 'Tai' also meant 'Da,' so this coin is also known as 'Da Xia Zhen Xing.'
'Da Xia' referred to the country, 'Zhen Xing' referred to the year. The diameter is 2.35 centimeters, and the hole measures 0.85 centimeters across. It weighs 3.03 grams it's extremely, extremely valuable!"
"How valuable is it?" asked Du Hang anxiously.
Du Zheng Nan held his mobile phone up and exclaimed, "In 2004, such an antique coin fetched a whopping 1.657 million yuan in Kyoto! For real?!"
Li Du was also dumbfounded. This coin is so valuable? It was already valued at more than 1.65 million a few years ago?
The others were even more shocked and shouted out, "Wow, that can't be right? Let me see! It's really old, then it should be worth more than this little amount of money!"
Yao Zhi Bo was frozen in shock. He looked at Li Du blankly and said, "Don't pull my leg, don't you kid around! Don't kid around with me!"
Li Du couldn't care less about pretending to be knowledgeable. He also took out his mobile phone to search for information online.
As Zhang Xue Ning said, the coin had been produced by the emperor of the great Xia Kingdom of the Xiongnu nationality during the period of the 16 states.
Helian Bobo had established the Da Xia kingdom in 407 AD, and during year 417 had joined forces with the East Jin Dynasty to overthrow the Qin Dynasty. The following year, it had seized the central government from the East Jin Dynasty and became the most domineering military power in the north.
During the seizure, many riches and valuable items had been received. While Da Xia Zhen Xing was made of a good material and exquisitely cast, because there were too few of them, not many had known about it.
Why was it so rare? It turned out that the country that Helian had built after he had launched the rebellion was unbalanced. It was strong in military and economic areas but was poor in administration. There were no proper administrative divisions at all. The country had grown through its victories in battle, but had hardly engaged in trading.
The Da Xia Zhen Xing was, in a sense, considered a commemorative coin. While Helian was keen to show off his wealth and power, not many of these coins were produced. Consequently, there would not be many circulating in the market.
In the sixth year of Zhen Xing, Helian passed on. Two years later, the capital of the Xia Dynasty was conquered by the Northern Wei Dynasty. The Xia Dynasty finally collapsed in the year 431.
In this way, even if Da Xia Zhen Xing had been cast in the first year of Zhen Xing, its legal existence in history was only a mere 12 years. There would naturally not be many such coins left.
There was evidence supporting how rare and valuable the coin was. During the Daoguang period, while providing an annotation for Weng Shupei's book, "Dictionary of Ancient Currencies," Liu Xihai had mentioned such ancient coins. He claimed that a collector named Gu Yuan of Suzhou had once obtained one from a person named Chen Zhongxi, and that it was very valuable.
At the end of the Qing Dynasty, a collector named Luo Zhenyu had a hard time getting one and had cited it as a rare commodity. Luo Zhenyu, who had been an avid traveler, even named his house "Helian House," meaning a house with a collection of coins from the Xia period.
As more and more information was retrieved, the shouts and exclamations continued.
The waiter had thought something had happened so he quickly opened the door and asked, "Is there anything else you need?"
Li Du waved his hand and said, "Please don't serve the food and drinks yet. We are discussing something here."
He returned the coin to Yao Zhi Bo, and more than a dozen people went to take a look at it.
This coin had been worn out, and two out of the four words on it were blurry. "Da" and "Xing" were still clear, but "Xia" and "Zhen" could hardly be made out.
However, with keen scrutinizing, one could still identify those two characters.
"This is real, right? Not some counterfeit made by the later generations?" Du Hang asked.
Li Du patted his chest and said, "You guys can rest assured that this is genuine. I can assure you of that."
Looking a tad bewildered, Yao Zhi Bo looked at him and asked, "This is worth more than 1.6 million yuan?"
"That's the price from a few years ago. It should be more than that by now!" someone said.
Li Du shook his head. "This coin wouldn't fetch more than 1.6 million yuan, because it would score lower in terms of appearance."
There was a picture of an antique coin being sold at auction. It looked like it had been kept in pristine condition.
Yao Zhi Bo looked at him expectantly and said, "Then how much do you think this coin could fetch?"
Li Du could not bear to disappoint him, so he put up a confident front and said, "Not a problem for it to exceed a million dollars!"