from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Lumps of pure silver bearing the stamp of a banker or an assayer and formerly used in China as money.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An ingot of silver, shaped like a shoe, once used as currency in China.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Silver, pounded into ingots of the shape of a shoe, and used as currency. The most common weight is about one pound troy.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Properly, an epithet meaning ‘pure,’ applied to the uncoined lumps of silver used by the Chinese as money, but frequently used by itself, in the sense of ‘fine (uncoined) silver.’ See sycee-silver.
Chinese lump silver, called sycee (fine silk), is made into ingots resembling in shape a shoe.
At Kiukiang, where the vessel stopped, the lowdah and his men went ashore after receiving the gold dust and sycee shoes as their share of the plunder, while Wang, taking the junk and cargo as his portion, shipped a fresh crew and sailed on to Hankow, where he set up in business with the proceeds of his ill-gotten gains.
All preparations having been slowly completed the day for departure arrived, and Chin, with much bowing and ceremonial posturing, having wished his wife and little son adieu, embarked with Wang, taking the equivalent of five thousand dollars  in sycee shoes and gold-dust, and amidst valedictory fusillades of fire-crackers, as well as a beating of gongs, the flotilla cast off and sailed away down river.
Repeat, word for word, as closely as you can remember, all that was told you by the sycee
The Mexican, or chop dollar, becomes sadly depreciated after long circulation, by the clippings and innumerable marks put upon it, so that it will not pass outside of China, nor does it long remain out of the pot of the sycee melter.
Although they are cursed with as abominable a currency as any nation in the world, they do not appear to experience any great difficulty in settlements, every merchant having his balance, and weighing off the proper amount of silver, larger payments being made in sycee.
And the sodden, stupefied merchantman, as if drunk with opium, goes yelling and staggering with her sleepy drugs to the bottom, and stays there, sycee silver and all.
The sleepy Celestial seasons had gone flowering their way to paradise, and the opium-smuggler and her sycee silver lay safe and swallowed in ribs and jowl of quicksand.
Ceylon they proceed to Siam, and thence to Hong-Kong, where they drop anchor in the offing, and by a special custom the cargo is sold and paid for in sycee silver before disfreighting, and the bullion is in the safe of the huge smuggler, although the opium has not yet been removed.
The captain and purser are gloating over the sycee silver, for the Chinese government is as jealous of its exportation as of the importation of opium; and the sky and the sea are dark and angry.
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