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Prices soar in hot Hong Kong bidding

By Kerry Rodgers

The results of the Spink Numismatic Collector Series sale Aug. 21 in Hong Kong clearly demonstrate the heat currently present in the Chinese market.

The company’s new Hong Kong showroom was packed with bidders on 1,514 mixed lots of coins, medals, scrip and bank notes. Collector enthusiasm was such that many of the prices realized exceeded both estimates and expectations.

The final total was U.S.$988,328 [H.K.$7,659,640].

Coins and medals accounted for the first 289 lots. They consisted of ancient types, cash, sycee, and milled Chinese coins with separate sections for issues of Hong Kong and the People’s Republic.

The auction opened with an extensive collection of ancient Chinese coinage. Most had been independently graded. Among these a thick and heavy Jin Yang Yi Jin spade c. 476-221 B.C.E. graded VF raced past its U.S.$400-650 estimate to realize U.S. $2,477.  And a 94 millimeter long, hollow-handled, Gan spade, Kong Shou Bu, from c. 1122-255 B.C.E.) in VF easily romped to U.S. $2,787 four times the low estimate.

Silver sycee are perennial auction favorites. Top price here of U.S. $2,787 went to a Shantung Province 10 tael graded XF. But the real action lay among the conventional milled coins.

Top selling Old Man dollar sold for $34,064. Image courtesy Spink China.

Top selling Old Man dollar sold for $34,064. Image courtesy Spink China.

Top coin in the sale was a classic, imperial era Taiwanese “Old Man” a.k.a. the God of Longevity, silver dollar, c. 1837-1845, KM C#25-3. Graded AU by the Professional Coin Grading Service it had no problem in exceeding its upper estimate and fetching U.S. $34,064.

This undated Taiwan “Ruyi” silver dollar realized $24,774.

This undated Taiwan “Ruyi” silver dollar realized $24,774.

It was closely followed by an undated Taiwan “Ruyi” dollar of 1853, KM C#25-4. PCGS graded XF, it took U.S, $24,774.

A third high flyer was a Fengtien silver dragon dollar of 1898, KM Y#87. Struck at the Central Mint and graded PCGS MS-62 it was comfortably bid up to U.S. $20,129.

The sale’s sleeper: Hunan silver one tael graded PCGS AU-55 achieved hit $13,161.

The sale’s sleeper: Hunan silver one tael graded PCGS AU-55 achieved hit $13,161.

And then there was a choice sleeper: a Hunan bullion silver one tael marked, “Struck in Changsha”. In PCGS AU-55 it realized U.S. $13,161 well and truly eclipsing its U.S. $1,000-$1,300 estimate.

But it was not all China. A small offering of British Trade Dollars did well. An attractively toned 1896B, graded PCGS MS-63, exceeded estimate when it made U.S. $3,406.

Full catalog details and prices realized can be found at the Spink website: https://www.spink.com/. A 20 percent commission is included in the amounts cited here. An exchange rate of 1 USD = 7.7501 HKD has been used to convert the Hong Kong dollar amounts.

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