Catch you on the flip side? Rare Chinese coin sells for $115,000

Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers completed their Pre-Long Beach Sale of coins and currency yesterday, with some excellent results. Conducted in Los Angeles, the auction comprised nearly 5000 lots ranging from American copper, silver and gold coins, ancient Greek and Roman coins, to world gold.

Goldberg's is co-owned and operated by Ira and Larry Goldberg. Both highly experienced and widely respected numismatic experts, the partners formed Goldberg Auctioneers in 1998. They have since been involved in some of the most notable collectible coin sales on record. 

In 2009, they auctioned The Millennia Collection, a world-class group of ancient and world coins, which grossed over $24m - the highest amount a world coin auction has realised in a single day. Later the same year, they sold a 1795 Reeded Edge Cent for $1,265,000, a World Record price for a copper coin at auction.

The Pre-Long Beach Sale included some very notable sales itself. Leading the pack was a 1993 Chinese 500 Yuan coin. Weighing nearly 5 ounces, this unique coin - described as choice brilliant proof by the auctioneers - pictures the Great Wall of China and a building on one side, and the Chinese Gods Fu, Lu and Shu on the other.


500 Yuan Coin
The unique 1993 500 Yuan coin, sold for $115,000

The beautifully crafted and highly detailed images are made from gold, set against a black background. Only 99 copies of this coin were minted, making it extremely rare. The coin sold for a wonderful $115,000, smashing the rather meagre estimate of only $7,000-9,000.

Another highlight was a 1915 Panama-Pacific $50 dollar coin. Only 483 were struck, making it a rarity.  Incredibly lustrous, one side of the coin bears the image of Minerva, Goddess of the Harvest, and the other an owl perched on a pine branch. Again, the detail is stunning and the colour of the coin vibrant. As such, the item sold for a wonderful $100,000.

Also noteworthy was an 1885 Cameo Proof Morgan Dollar. The pristine US coin depicts the profile of Liberty on one side and an eagle perched atop arrows and an olive branch on the other. The black-on-white proof is richly frosted, highly detailed and in near perfect condition, with virtually no marks, spots or cracks. This fascinating numismatic relic realised an impressive $80,000.

These delightful coins represent only a fraction of the pieces sold in this auction, with a wide ranges of prices realised. The value of old or unique coins is well established; 2010 was a strong year for sales of rare coinage, and more and more people are investing in the area.

The coin collecting market is huge - one simply needs to look at the size of the Goldberg's auction or the estimate of 50 million US coin collectors to confirm this. Thus, there are few better investment opportunities in the world of collectibles than the rare coin.


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