"This is a coin that most only dream of ever seeing..."
So reads Heritage Auctions' lot notes for its 2011 September Long Beach Signature World & Ancient Coins Auction, which will offer the rarest of the Chinese regular circulation issue Dragon Dollars.
This legendary Chinese Dragon Dollar is otherwise called the "Yunnan Spring Dollar" in reference to the seven Chinese characters across its top. These translate roughly into "Made in the Spring 1910 in Yunnan Province."
Adding to the coin's sheer uniqueness is the fact that it is also the only coin in Chinese numismatics featuring a season of the year as part of the date.
Needless to say, this is one of China's rarest coins - one of only two genuine pieces known.
It's been a coin of mystery and legend since its discovery, around 1920 - not least because the real reason and meaning behind its "Spring 1910" inscription remains undiscovered.
The other genuine of example of this issue sold at the Hua Chen auction in Beijing, back in April 2002. It later re-sold in a Cheng Xuan sale in Beijing in 2007. There it realised 3,192,000 RMB ($468,000).
The same coin was then sold again for an astonishing $1,035,000 during August 2010 in Hong Kong.
The second-known example - and 'the finest'
This piece offered for sale at Heritage is the second-known genuine example of the Yunnan Spring Dollar. What's more, it is considered to be the finest of the pair.
Graded and certified by NGC, this piece is from the exact same dies as the other coin. Michael Chou, who sold the first coin, has also examined this piece confirmed that this coin is a perfect die match as the one he previously sold.
"We feel, if anything, the grading, by NGC [AU58 NGC] is a bit conservative on this piece," says Heritage Auctions in its lot notes.
Formerly of the Tracey Woodward Collection and acquired by Dr. Jacobs from the Woodward Collection through the noted New York numismatist Robert Friedberg in 1952, the coin will sell with a $700,000-1,000,000 estimate.
Given that the lesser of the pair sold for $1,035,000 back in 2010, this auction promises to be a memorable moment in numismatic history.
The sale takes place in Long Beach, CA, between September 7-12. Watch this space for more news on the event.
- Click here to view our current rare coins for sale
- Learn how you can get pleasure and profit from rare coins
- Read all the latest Coins and Banknotes news
Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today