Rare Chinese Silver Pattern Dollar could bring $200,000

Baldwin's summer sale of coins, medals and banknotes in Hong Kong is set to be another major event in numismatic collecting and investment next week.

As we've already reported, the medals section of the sale is set to be led by two variations of the Order of the Double Dragon - each expected to fetch up to around US$90,000 - impressive enough for a stand-alone medals sale. But they are not the expected top lots in the auction.

There are coins and banknotes available from all over the world: China, Japan, Australia, India and a few from the United States and Britain. As you'd expect, however, it's the Chinese coins which are expected to impress the most:

Two silver patterned dollars from the central bank at Tientsin are worth looking out for. Both from year 3 (1911), and listed by Kann as numbers 223 and 225 respectively, the long-whiskered dragon and raised-vein leaf dragon varieties are both in uncirculated condition (the former with vanishing surface marks and the latter with golden toning) and extremely rare.

Lot numbers 507-8, they are expected to sell for US$25,000-30,000 and US$18,000-22,000.

A Fengtien Province Brass Pattern 50 cent piece, (1897), listed by L&M as 468 shows 'Teng-Tien' about the dragon on the obverse, and is listed at US$50,000-60,000.

But it is a Chekiang Province silver pattern dollar, Kuang Hsu, Year 23 (1897), in uncirculated condition and extremely rare which leads the auction overall.

Chekiang silver patter dollar
Chekiang silver pattern dollar - unknown to Kann
(Click to enlarge)

This extremely rare coin was unknown to Eduard Kann when he wrote his standard work on Chinese coins in 1954. This specimen was given to an ancestor (a great-grand uncle) of the consignor, one Vice-Admiral Alois von Accurti (1869-1919).

He was active in the naval operations off Crete in 1897. After retiring from the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Navy soon after, Accurti served as naval attaché at several embassies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire around the World.

He was in London in 1914, and according to family tradition he also served in the Far East, where he acquired, among other souvenirs, Japanese swords and oriental porcelain some of which are still owned by the family.

Accurti was not a coin collector, but was presumably presented with this coin in his official capacity. Estimated at US$150,000-200,000, the coin goes on sale in Hong Kong on Thursday 26 August. We will bring you more detail on the other lots before then.


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