Two gold proof coins issued for collectors, celebrating the Chinese year of the snake (1989) and horse (1990) sold spectacularly well with Spink in Hong Kong last weekend, with the Year of the Snake coin achieving HK$320,000 (US$41,000) but the Year of the Horse coin galloping ahead to HK$350,000 (US$45,000).
Olivier Stocker, Group Chairman & CEO of Spink, commented after the sale: "This fantastic result demonstrates the enormous strength of the collectables markets in Hong and China.
"With over 20 years of auctioneering experience in Hong Kong, Spink look forward to increasing the number of auctions in Hong Kong for the future in order to better serve our growing clientele in Asia."
But he wasn't just referring to the coins.
A Bank of Honan Province, Qing Dynasty $1 banknote (from 1908), with 'Shi' prefix, number 100, showing a blue and black obverse with ornate dragons and a central vignette printed 'One Yuan' was the most spectacular sale.
The prefix appears on the right and date on the left, and the note has various red chop marks. The reverse shows Chinese text within a yellow frame. The large stamp shows that this note is an issued example.
Strangely, the printed date on the reverse is 1904, whilst the issued date is 1908. The reason for this is unknown. Whatever the reason, bidders were impressed.
It was estimated at HK$250,000-300,000 (up to US$38,500). But frenzied bidding left that standing, and it brought HK$2.4m (US$308,000) - a new world record price, and proof that notaphily is growing just as fast in the region as any other area of collectibles.
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