From Marco Polo journal: http://www.galmarley.com/framesets/fs_monetary_history_faqs.htm Life under this system was actually extremely good. "This was the most brilliant period in the history of China. Kublai Khan, after subduing and uniting the whole country and adding Burmah, Cochin-China, and Tonquin to the empire, entered upon a series of internal improvements and civil reforms, which raised the country he had conquered to the highest rank of civilization, power and progress. Tranquillity succeeded the commotions of the previous period; life and property were amply protected; justice was equally dispensed; and the effect of a gradual increase in the currency, which was jealously guarded from counterfeiting, was to stimulate industry and prevent the monopolization of capital. It was during this era that the Imperial canal, 1660 miles long, together with many other notable structures were built." Del Mar Inflation took hold in 1287. The second Mongol issue continued falling in value until about 1310. At about this time a third issue replaced the second, duplicating the 5 - 1 ratio with which the second had replaced the first. Then things changed markedly for the worse. "Population and trade had greatly increased, but the emissions of paper notes were suffered to largely outrun both, and the inevitable consequence was depreciation. All the beneficial effects of a currency which is allowed to expand with a growth of population and trade were now turned into those evil effects that flow from a currency emitted in excess of such growth. These effects were not slow to develop themselves. Excessive and too rapid augmentation of the currency, resulted in the entire subversion of the old order of society. The best families in the empire were ruined, a new set of men came into the control of public affairs, and the country became the scene of internecine warfare and confusion." Del Mar In the final phase of the Mongol dynasty in about 1350 huge efforts were made to correct the management of the currency but the situation was beyond repair, monetary paper having been issued in one form or another by all manner of private, provincial and central government agencies in what amounted to an explosion of credit. Upon the demise of the Mongol system of government which had presided over so many benefits only to see them destroyed through financial crisis, the usurping Ming dynasty issued yet more paper currency with the solemn legend "This paper money shall have currency, and be used in all respects as if it were copper money". There was no public confidence in the firmness of this declaration and at the outset the paper traded at 17 : 13 against copper coinage. Before long the ratio fell to 300 : 1. It was reported that gold and silver crept quietly back into circulation. If they did it was deeply unofficial, because neither was being minted in China at that time.