Stack’s-Bowers April 5-7 $3.9 million Hong Kong sales consisted of five catalogs: Hong Kong issues, Vintage Chinese, Foreign coins, Modern Chinese issues, and Chinese & World coins (Internet only). The strength and depth of the present Chinese collector market was clearly shown by the demand each section attracted.
Right at the top of the tree are modern gold rarities. These were headed by Chairman Mao and Pandas.
A five-ounce, gold 500 yuan of 1993, Fr-78, struck to celebrate the centenary of Chairman Mao’s birth came with a mintage of 100. Its reverse differs from a similar 500 yuan KM-544. In Professional Coin Grading Service Proof-68 Deep Cameo it was bid up to $89,625 on a $55,000-$70,000 estimate.
However, the Great Helmsman was eclipsed by a 10,000-yuan, 2002, kilo gold Panda, KM-A1475, Fr-B12. With a mintage of just 68 and a grade of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation Proof-69 Ultra Cameo, it quickly bounced past its upper estimate of $60,000 to realize $95,600. That is more than $50,000 above the gold spot price of the day.
A desirable PCGS Proof-69 Deep Cameo, 1995, bimetallic 500-yuan Panda, KM-728, Fr-B50, took $43,020, while a 12-ounce gold, 1992, 1,000 yuan with a mintage of 99, KM-401, Fr-B2, managed a most comfortable $45,410 in NGC Proof-68 Ultra Cameo.
Lunar gold and silver rarities also sold well but, on the whole, proved slightly less popular.
Among “Vintage” issues a very rare silver, Year 3 (1911) pattern 50 cents, Y-30, was top of the pops. The design stars a magnificent, life-like, four-toed Kung-lung in frustrated pursuit of a Pearl of Great Price. This coin was never adopted for mass production due to the outbreak of the 1911 revolution. Graded PCGS SP-62+ it edged-past upper estimate to fetch $92,612.50.
Just a little way back in the price stakes was a second, equally rare, Year 3 (1911) piece: a reversed dragon pattern dollar (Type II), KM-Pn308. Well-struck on a highly lustrous planchet it graded PCGS SP-62 and managed an easy $86,637.50.
Other late imperial and early republican silver dollar-sized rarities sold exceedingly well, fetching hefty five-figure sums. Among them was one oddity: a pattern 7 mace 2 candareens struck in brass with the spelling error TENG-TIEN instead of FENG-TIEN, c. 1897, Graded PCGS SP-62 it sold well in excess of its $50,000 upper estimate for $77,675.
And quality items of more extreme vintage also proved popular. One example of China’s first gold currency was on offer: State of Chu “Yuan Jin” gold cube money produced during the Warring States Period (c. 475-221 B.C.E.). Weighing 10.72 g it realized $4,541 in VF.
In “World Coins” those of Thailand topped the bill. A undated baht essai of 1908 showing Rama V and struck at the Paris Mint, KM-E1, took $15,535 while a tamlung (4 baht) produced to mark Rama IV’s 60th birthday (1864) made $12,547.50.
The total realized over all five catalogs, including commission, was $3,914,092. Full lot details and prices-realized can be found at Stack’s-Bowers website: www.stacksbowers.com. For anyone interested in Asian coins it is well worth a browse.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.
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