Skip to main content

Amazing Pattern Coin Estimated to Sell for $250,000+

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Heritage will be offering a rare pattern coin in the upcoming Hong Kong Auction #3092 that is estimated to sell for a quarter of a million dollars or more! These coins reveal the close relationship between Chinese and British minting technology and artistry at the time.

Representing the culmination of a series of trials and experiments aimed at modernizing China's coinage, the so-called "standard pattern" Kwangtung Dollars produced between 1890 to 1908 would become the model for all other silver Dollars minted in the Empire. The design had gone through several iterations before reaching its final state, owing first to the disastrous hoarding of silver brought about by the original "heavy" standard on which the first patterns were based (weighing 7 Mace and 3 Candareens), and secondly to the distasteful juxtaposition of Chinese and English text on the obverses of the 1889 and early 1890 issues. Though the mint in Canton had by this period assumed the mintage of such coins, dies continued to be supplied by the Heatons in Birmingham, England, who had secured the original contract in 1888.

The fascinating pattern in question is a Kuang-hsü Specimen Dollar ND (1890-1908) graded Specimen 67 by PCGS from the Kwangtung mint. This coin was struck from dies engraved in Heaton, Birmingham. Catalogers describe it as "Quite simply magnificent, and a coin which could hardly be meaningfully improved upon. Only very rarely does a coin of this age survive with such splendid originality, and so readily recognized as the absolute best of the best, as the present specimen--hardly a blemish can be found over surfaces that glimmer from an abundance of die polish lines, all carefully decorated in a halo of sky-blue tone framing a central dragon silhouetted by electric purple highlights. Even without the aid of magnification, the standout quality of the piece is immediately evident, its utter perfection very nearly mimicking what might be expected from a Pattern Proof of Record. Even given its standout certification of SP67, the coin could easily been seen with a star or plus for its one-of-a-kind visual appeal. Missing from such major collections as Jacobs and Wa She Wong, with perhaps only the Goodman example approaching this piece in terms of technical preservation, not a single other certified representative approaches this offering, the next finest at both major grading services being a small cluster of SP65's. Through-and-through a connoisseur's coin par excellence, and likely among the finest, if not the finest, that exists."

In addition to its rarity and history, this coin is also beautifully toned, which adds to its appeal! It will take a strong bid to own this piece of Chinese and British history. Check it out here: