The C13th Chinese silver coin

The coins section of Spink's January London sale of bonds, coins and banknotes from Hong Kong and China, is headed by a remarkable piece of currency.

The crimped piece of silver is in the shape of a bow tie, and looks nothing like a modern coin at all. Nevertheless, it was created in the year Ji Yuan 14 (1277) to be worth 50 Tael Sycee. Chinese countermarks yang shou yuan bao are pressed into the piece which is expected to sell for HK$ 270,000-300,000 (up to US$38,681).

50 Tael Sycee Chinese coin
13th century silver 50 Tael Sycee coin
(Click to enlarge)

The lot rated second highest in the auction is unlike it in every way imaginable. The worn 1.8g silver piece does not look like it was made for the same use at the fresh 37.94g gold British Trade Dollar.

The 1902 coin is graded brilliant uncirculated, and presents the interesting combination of Britannia standing holding trident and shield on the obverse and Chinese and Malay legends on the reverse. The only flaw is a subtle bruise at 3 o'clock visible only on the reverse rim of the coin.

1902 British Trade Dollar coin
1902 British Trade Dollar

The Trade Dollar is estimated at HK$160,000-200,000 (up to US$25,800).

With an interesting set of banknotes also available, Spink's auction on January 23 2010 promises to be an unmissable event for currency collectors. Numismatists unable to wait that long may wish to take a look at these coins which are currently available.


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