Chinese dragon set to defeat Dutch lion at Stacks' rare coin auction tonight

Later tonight, Stacks auctioneers will be concluding their July 2011 Coin Galleries Sale. The likely results will be at odds with the listings, but less so with the state of the current coin markets.

A 1602 Spanish-Dutch New World Rivalry Medal, previously a part of the Walter E. Heightshoe Collection might have been expected to be the top lot in the sale, though the company hasn't given it an estimate.

Attributed to Betts, the fascinating piece is full of character and competitiveness.

The obverse shows fast-moving Dutch ships outmanoeuvring massive Spanish galleon Sant Iago off Saint Helena, with the Latin legend hailing the Dutch ability to do what they will, where they will.

Dutch coin Betts
Watch your back... the Dutch coin by Betts

The reverse shows the Lion of Zeeland emerge from the sea to pursue the horse of Spain's King Philip II whilst the Latin legend taunts "The World is not so Large that I Cannot Follow where you Go".

Having passed the $6,000 mark, the coin may be expected to take a few more bids before the sale closes.

However, the top lots now seem likely to be Chinese coins.

An 1899 Kiangnan Province Dollar from the reign of Kwang Hsu started with a listing of $2,250-2,750, but has now leapt up to $10,000.

The obverse features the four characters you would expect with the top legend being Made in Kiang Nan Province, cyclical date characters whilst the reverse shows the standard dragon with seven-spine tail, elongated six-point rosettes and the text 7 Mace And 2 Candareens.

Chinese Kwang Hsu coin
A dragon in detail - the Chinese Kwang Hsu coin

Described as choice uncirculated, it is a particularly beautiful strike, revealing much detail.

Perhaps even more impressive is the performance of the 1914 Dollar showing the then President Yuan Shih Kai. Featuring the classic facing bust of first President of the new Republic in gala uniform with plumed shako on head, it was expected to sell for $750-850.

In fact it is now carrying a bid of just under $8,000, and you sense it might rise further before the end of the day. Needless to say, it will make an excellent alternative investment for its new owner.


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