Chinese Coins (page in preparation)
See also : 20th century coins Olympic Games
1890-1908 Kwangtung Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 580K by Heritage
In 1889 the first release included as its highest denomination a silver dollar whose inscribed weight was 7 mace and 3 candareens, which was 1 candareen more than the widely circulating Mexican 8 reales. The failure of that emission was immediate because the users went to hoard it for its excess of silver. This first modern Chinese coin was repealed and most were melted. A survivor graded MS 64+ by NGC was sold for $ 230K by Heritage on June 27, 2019, lot 30101.
The next pattern was a come back to the expected silver weight of 7 mace and 2 candareens. A specimen coin in copper was sold for $ 150K by Heritage on August 22, 2016, lot 29052.
A design change was made in 1890. The English inscriptions identifying the Kwang-Tung make and the 7-2 weight were transferred from the side with the imperial mark to the dragon side. This new design will then be used for all the dragon silver dollars including in the provincial mints established from 1897. It is known as the 'standard pattern' while the previous design is the 'reverse pattern'.
Dollar coins with the Guangxu mark were minted until 1908. None of them is dated. The single finest standard pattern ranked by PCGS is an SP 67 whose magnificent visual appeal is without equivalent in its style. It was sold for US $ 580K by Heritage in Hong Kong on June 24, 2021, lot 38213.
1898-1899 Mace and Candareens
2018 SOLD for $ 440K including premium
In 1897 the American company Ferracute is awarded a contract to supply and install coin presses in the Chinese provinces at the request of the imperial government. The material is sent without delay and the transfer of technology is successfully carried out in 1898 in Szechuen to produce silver coins and the small brass coin, the tsen colloquially named cash.
For silver the biggest denomination corresponds exactly to one US dollar. The word dollar does not appear, replaced by the weight in the units of the Chinese decimal system, mace and candareen, subdivisions of the tael.
That Chinese dollar is marked in English letters 7 mace and 2 candareens while the half dollar is 3 mace and 6 candareens. The emitting province is indicated on the same side which is centered on the effigy of a dragon. The other side is inscribed in Chinese characters.
Some other provinces immediately follow Szechuen with the same conception. Also in 1898 Guangxu attempted to start an ambitious reform program which was halted by a military coup organized by Cixi. These events culminated in 1899 in the Boxer War. Curiously the provincial coinage of American origin was to survive this xenophobic phase.
The sale by Heritage in Hong Kong on June 28 (June 27 in US time) includes three rarities in splendid condition, graded by NGC.
The 'dragon dollar' 1898-1899 'Cheh-Kiang Province' graded MS66 is estimated $ 500K, lot 30074. The half dollar of same period and same province graded MS67 is estimated $ 100K, lot 30073. The 1899 half dollar 'Kiang Nan Province' graded MS62-Prooflike is estimated $ 250K, lot 30088.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Kiang Nan half dollar SOLD for $ 310K
Cheh-Kiang half dollar SOLD for $ 106K
Cheh-Kiang dollar : SOLD for $ 440K
Auction alert: This 1898-99 China Chekiang Silver Dollar, graded NGC MS 66, is part of a @HeritageAuction sale in Hong Kong this month. Bidding is already at $260,000 and expected to go higher. Auction website: https://t.co/CH4dOtGMJs ... Article: https://t.co/U99LUw8lCz pic.twitter.com/AnB5LzEcqC— NGC (@NGCcoin) June 11, 2018
1903 Pattern Tael
2021 SOLD for $ 840K by Stack's Bowers
1907 Pattern Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 500K by Stack's Bowers
@stacksbowers will be hosting the April 2021 Hong Kong Auction. Offered is a 1907 Chinese Dollar Pattern graded as MS-65+. Estimates on this coin are $70,000 to $100,000. View our Coins in Motion video for Lot 50008 at https://t.co/YnTxqdaNYJ. Bid here: https://t.co/UIhPcdKErz pic.twitter.com/jd0skP34LM— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) March 27, 2021
1910 Yunnan Spring Dollar
2010 SOLD for US $ 1.06M including premium by Champion Hong Kong
1910 The Yunnan Spring
2020 SOLD for $ 660K including premium
The region is bordering Tonkin. The railway line connecting Haiphong to Kunming is an entirely French project with the authorization of the Chinese government. The rail reaches Kunming on April 1, 1910 after seven years of work in extremely severe conditions.
A 1 dollar silver coin surfaced in 1920. Its characteristics are unusual. An inscription in four Chinese characters on the reverse indicates that it was made in the spring of a year corresponding to 1910, defined in the calendar cycle of 60 years and not by the year of the reign. This is the only known example of a Chinese coinage naming a season. An English inscription on the side of the dragon recalls the Chinese value of 7 mace and 2 candareens and the production in the province of Yun-Nan.
This piece was considered unique after three runs of fakes had been identified. Graded AU55 by NGC, it was sold for US $ 1.06M including premium by Champion Hong Kong on August 22, 2010, lot 12 here linked on LiveAuctioneers bidding platform.
A few months later, another coin was authenticated. NGC and Champion testified that it was struck with the same dies as the discovery coin. Graded AU58 by NGC, it was sold twice by Heritage : for $ 550K including premium on September 8, 2011 and for $ 660K including premium on July 12, 2020, lot 30141.
The two surviving pieces referred above are certified AU (Almost Uncirculated) by NGC. This variety has thus the characteristics of a pattern coin which has not been followed by production. Champion supports the very plausible hypothesis of the project of a presentation coin to celebrate the completion of the rail line.
The 2020 Heritage catalog announces a total population of three units certified by NGC and confirms that the coin for sale is the finest.
1911 Long Whisker Pattern Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 1.02M by Stack's Bowers
Immensely Popular Long Whisker Pattern DollarOne of the Finest Examples Seen— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) April 5, 2021
(t) CHINA. Silver Long-Whisker Dragon Dollar Pattern, Year 3 (1911). Tientsin Mint. PCGS SPECIMEN-64 Gold Shield.
Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000.
Bid on Lot 50009 at https://t.co/52ITGOOfBL. pic.twitter.com/Z6wEENtNmE
1911 Silver Dragons by Luigi Giorgi
2020 SOLD for $ 460K including premium
The Tianjin mint survives the changes of regime : the fall of the Qing is followed by the republic, established on January 1, 1912, interrupted in 1915 by the self-proclamation of its president Yuan Shikai as emperor and restored after his death in 1916.
From 1910 to 1920 the head designer and chief engraver of the Tianjin mint was Luigi Giorgi on whom biographical details are scarce. He produced several designs of silver coins, some of which were signed with his name. His coins are drawn and engraved with great sharpness. His One Dollar with the Dragon in the Clouds, dated to the 3rd year of the child emperor Xuantung which is 1911 CE, is the last imperial coinage of the Qing.
Designed in the same year by Giorgi, the silver dollar with the Long Whiskers Dragon was not released for circulation. The best surviving specimen is graded SP-65 by NGC. It was sold for $ 430K including premium by Bowers and Merena on December 4, 2010 from a lower estimate of $ 50K. It is estimated US $ 400K for sale on October 6 in Hong Kong as lot 41244 by Stack's Bowers successor to Bowers and Merena.
The fall of the Qing makes the dragon obsolete. This imperial symbol is soon replaced by the portrait of Yuan Shikai. The silver dollars with this effigy dated to the year 3 of the Republic, 1914 CE, were also prepared in Tianjin by Giorgi.
1914 Yuan Shih-kai Pattern Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 500K by Stack's Bowers
1919 Hung Hsien Flying Dragon Dollar
2021 SOLD for $ 550K by Stack's Bowers
The undated coins with the effigy of Hung Hsien on one side and a flying dragon on the other side were probably memorial posthumous coins. The 10 dollar pattern gold coin was prepared by Giorgi, who left China in 1917.
The use of the flying dragon design for a commemorative silver dollar was not required at the Tientsin Mint before 1919. The portrait with plumed hat and military attire had already been used in 1914 in undated pattern silver dollars in memory of the creation of the republic but some die variants may be due to a competition between Giorgi's successors.
A Hat Touching Rim Flying Dragon dollar was sold for US $ 72K before fees by Champion Hong Kong on April 4, 2018.
These coins normally feature a reeded edge. A highly unusual specimen with plain edge, graded SP 65 + by PCGS, was sold by Stack's Bowers on April 6, 2021 in Hong Kong for US $ 550K from a lower estimate of $ 75K, lot 50011.
1927 A Chinese Warlord
2012 SOLD 4.1 MHK$ including premium
When the central government is weak, warlords seek to establish military dictatorships. The money has kept the memory of Roman usurpers. In the early twentieth century, coins also provided the image of ephemeral rulers of China.
Zhang Zuolin (Chang Tso-lin) was one of these power-hungry generals. Having become the master of Manchuria aftersupporting the Japanese, he managed to win several provinces and to control Beijing in 1927. He then took the extravagant title of Grand Marshal of the military government of the Republic of China.
A gold coin of 50 yuan is then prepared in Tientsin, with his image in military uniform. The other side is dated to thesixteenth year of the Republic, assessing that Zhang had not, or not yet, the imperial ambitions of Yuan Shikai.
The regime of Zhang was short, and only a few prototypes of this coin was made. It is nevertheless important in the history of Chinese numismatics, because it is the largest gold coin of the Republic.
It is known in two copies only. One of them, which was presented to Zhang, was kept by his family. Remained in uncirculated condition, this piece of outstanding quality is estimated $ 650K, for sale by Bonhams in New York on December 16.
POST 2011 SALE COMMENT
Too expensive. Unsold.
POST 2012 SALE COMMENT
It was certainly more suitable to sell this coin in Hong Kong after lowering the price. Bonhams did it on November 24. Result: HK $ 4.1 million including premium.
I had not viewed this lot before the second sale. I include post sale the link to the catalog.
1928 The Grand Marshal
2021 SOLD for $ 2.3M by Stack's Bowers
The new leader of the Kuomintang (Guomindang), Chiang Kai Shek (Jiang Jieshi), set out to reunify China. Chang Tso-lin lost Beijing on June 3, 1928. The next day, he died in the explosion of his private train, perpetrated by a rival faction. His son Chang Hsueh-liang (Zhang Xueliang), nicknamed the Young Marshal, succeeds him.
Currency is essential to ensure the loyalty of soldiers, especially in a civil war. Since 1912, the official currency of the Republic of China has been the dollar.
A silver dollar was prepared with the effigy of Chang Tso-lin in civilian dress on the year of Republic 17, 1928 CE. Its text announces it as memorial, which suggests that it is posthumous. Its terminus ante quem is December 29, 1928, when the Young Marshal rallies to the government of the Kuomintang. Having become politically incorrect, this coin will not be issued.
A specimen graded SP-64 by PCGS of Chang Tso-lin's dollar will be sold on April 6 in Hong Kong by Stack's Bowers, lot 50016.
2008 Olympic Games in China
2011 SOLD for $ 575K by Heritage
On this occasion, China has issued in 29 copies a exceptional piece of gold: each copy weighs 10 kg with a purity of 24K (0.9999). It is indeed a coin and not a medal, as it has a face value of 100,000 yuan.
It is decorated with both sports themes and traditional themes. Art lovers will be amused to recognize a typical Taotie pattern of Shang bronzes, proving that in our time China is still sensitive to the full span of its history.
Serial number 21 was the single one that was assigned to the U.S. market. It was sold for $ 575K by Heritage on January 2, 2011. See its two sides with other highlighted lots of the sale in the weekly newsletter shared by the auction house.
Its estimate of $ 600K had only been 36% higher than its price of gold per weight.