Qing, Republic and People’s Republic treasures among highlights in June 21-23 Heritage Auctions event
Elite selections from ancient China through the Qing, Republic and People’s Republic eras make Heritage Auctions’ June 21-23 HKINF World Coins Platinum Session and Signature® Auction – Hong Kong one of the strongest and most comprehensive ever assembled by the world’s leading auctioneer of coins and currency.
Among the top attractions in the auction is a Hsüan-t’ung silver Specimen Pattern “Long-Whiskered Dragon” Dollar Year 3 (1911) SP63 NGC, which is among the famed Pattern issues of Luigi Giorgi that are so popular among collectors, many of whom consider them to be “holy grails” among Chinese numismatics. Tops among them are the Long-Whiskered Dragon dollars of 1911, produced during the final year of the Qing Dynasty. Giorgi is known best for his portraiture of the Republic’s first president, Yuan Shih-kai, immortalized on the 1914 issues utilizing the “Plumed Hat” and profile portraits like the Republic Yuan Shih-kai silver Specimen Pattern “L. Giorgi” Dollar Year 3 (1914) SP63 NGC that also is offered in this auction, but his most desirable design, according to historic auction results, remains the Long-Whiskered Dragon Dollar.
“The world-class lots that comprise this auction make it one of the finest we have seen in a single auction,” says Cris Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “The ‘Long-Whiskered Dragon’ dollar is exceedingly popular, because the Dragon design eventually proved to be a trial concept that didn’t last very long, which sends desire soaring.”
Among the top draws from the provincial series are a pair of magnificent coins that have not come through Heritage Auctions in years and rarely come to market in gem preservations: a Shantung. Republic gold Pattern “Dragon & Phoenix” 10 Dollars Year 15 (1926) MS65+ NGC and a Shantung. Republic gold Pattern “Dragon & Phoenix” 20 Dollars 1926 MS64 NGC. The 10 Dollar Pattern is an extraordinary example of the very rare Pattern issue by the colorful warlord, Zhang Zongchang, whose brief era of reign over his native Shandong was nothing short of tumultuous. The offered example possesses the highest awarded grade across PCGS and NGC. The now-iconic “Dragon & Phoenix” designs of the Republican issues are most attainable in silver, but those struck in gold for Shantung province at the behest of Zhang Zhongchang are nearly unheard of, a fact confirmed by their general paucity in recent auction listings and absence from numerous major collections. In the last 20 years, only a handful of these 20 Dollar Patterns have surfaced, the last at Heritage being the MS64 2014 Ultima specimen.
The auction includes a gorgeous selection of coins celebrating the years on the Chinese calendar of various animals. Included among the highlights, in terms of desireability and sheer size, are one of just three certified examples (from a mintage of just 15) of the People’s Republic gold Proof Scalloped “Year of the Monkey” 10000 Yuan (Kilo) 2004 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC, one of just 15 examples struck of the People’s Republic gold Proof Scalloped “Year of the Rooster” 10000 Yuan (Kilo) 2005 PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC and the finest certified People’s Republic gold Proof Scalloped “Year of the Dog” 10000 Yuan (Kilo) 2006 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC, which also is from a mintage of just 15. A Hunan. Kuang-hsü silver Specimen Pattern 50 Cents ND (1898) SP55 NGC is one of just six known examples struck in 1898; most examples are held in advanced collections and unlikely to reach the open market any time soon.
The auction includes several Kweichow “Auto” dollars, led by a spectacular Kweichow. Republic “Auto” Dollar Year 17 (1928) MS62 NGC that is tied for the second-finest of the type. Commissioned by governor Chow Hsi-chen to commemorate the completion of the first provincial highway in Kweichow, this issue departed from tradition by featuring the governor’s car as the centerpiece of its design, a declaration not only of the import of Chinese modernization efforts, but of their successful execution. Only one other example has reached this extremely covetable state of preservation.
A British Colony. Victoria silver Proof Pattern Dollar 1865 PR65 NGC belongs to a series of patterns struck at the Royal mint one year prior to the manufacture of the currency issues with the same design, which were minted at the Hong Kong branch during its inaugural year in 1866. This absolute rarity is one of only three examples certified and ranks as the finest among its peers.
Another stellar British offering in the auction is a British Colony. Victoria 5-Piece Certified Proof Set 1866 NGC, which includes a magnificent set of Proof strikings from the first year of issue from this most coveted series: a Dollar PR61, KM10, Prid-1A; a 1/2 Dollar Proof Details (Stained), KM8, Prid-4A; a 20 Cents Proof Details (Stained), KM7, Prid-17A; a 10 Cents Proof Details (Corrosion), KM6.3, Prid-58, 11 pearl variety and a 5 Cents Proof Details (Stained), KM5, Prid-113A. Production of coins and currency for this small but historically important British colony lasted for nearly 150 years, but only those produced between 1866 and 1868 were true products of Hong Kong, making the desire for this group even greater.
Other top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:
Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/3108.
As always, Heritage Auctions is fully confident that the audience of interested bidders will appreciate the breadth, scale, and quality of the offerings herein. Holding in tandem with the Hong Kong International Numismatic Fair, we present on of the top occasions for collector, investors, and enthusiasts alike to see some of the best pieces the market has to offer. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want to share a story, discuss a lot, or better target that key issue that will complete your collection. To know more information, please email to email@example.com, or simply call +852 2155 1698.