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