The new currency was not welcomed and financial problems accumulated. The production included a value in bronze of one cent and five silver denominations: 5, 10 and 20 cents, half dollar and dollar.
The mil, a holed bronze coin, was not maintained but attests to the difficulty of adjusting the colonial currency to the local need. Conversely, bigger values than one dollar were not scheduled. Even the name was still a matter of confusion. A 1867 pattern coin (already discussed in our column) made in Hong Kong for the use of Shanghai is a tael in English and a liang in Chinese.
In 1868, the financial situation is no longer sustainable, and coins of that year are extremely rare. Doubts were even issued on the existence of 5 to 10 cents of that year.
In 2007, a complete set of the five silver denominations of 1868 with the name and portrait of Victoria suddenly appeared to the amazement of the specialists. In a presentation box, they are prototypes in proof condition, and certainly patterns. It was sold as a single lot by Spink on 27 September 2007 for £ 90K. At that time, the pound was more expensive than now.
The set including the five coins and the box is for sale on August 18 in Hong Kong by Stack's Bowers, lot 40068, estimated USD 225K. The coins were graded PR 61 to PR63 by NGC.
Sold in 1868 to a trading house, the machinery of the Hong Kong mint will be sent to Japan in 1871 to produce the coins of the first modern currency of that country, the yen.