The sale of Q. David Bowers’ magnificent collection of Chinese copper coins was the undoubted highlight of a coin- and bank note-filled Hong Kong week that ran from April 2 to April 5. The 427 lots realized a remarkable total of $4,146,840 for $9,711 per lot. Two lots alone realized $504,000 apiece.
The first of these high rollers was a Szechuan 30 cash pattern of 1904 struck in bronze and displaying a “Water Dragon” (KM-Pn4; Duan-1730; Sun-II-101-01[plate coin]). Just 12 pieces are known to exist from this pattern issue, half of which are in institutions. The present example was once part of the Farouk Collection and came graded Professional Coin Grading Service AU-53. It carried an estimate of $100,000-$150,000.
The second big hitter was the only known example in private hands of a Kiangsu-Chingkiang 20 cash pattern of 1906 (KM-Pn7; Duan-2731; Sun-V-3-11). Its rarity arose when the Chingkiang mint found it was unable to strike coins of the intended size of the 20 cash despite having installed new equipment. Only two known patterns were produced. In PCGS SP-64 BN, it had gone to the block with a $50,000-$75,000 estimate.
Third top-priced coin was an outstanding piece, a superb striking of a 10 cash of the Republic of China depicting Yuan Shih-Kai, first formal president of the republic c.1913 (KM-Pn5; Duan-3097). In superb PCGS SP-65 BN condition, it proved something of a sleeper in that it came with an estimate of just $10,000-$15,000. On sale day, it was vigorously bid up to $228,000.
Full catalog details and prices realized are available at the Stack’s Bowers website: www.stacksbowers.com.
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