By CoinWeek ….
Champion Auctions recently held its Summer Hong Kong Auction on August 20. The company, headed by Michael Chou, sold 455 out of the 526 lots of rare and collectible coins, including many rarities and collectible coins from China, Asia, Europe, and the U.S., for a percentage realized of 86.5%.
Many of the pieces came from the collection of one Charles E. Tanant, a former French official at the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service. Tanant collected Imperial provincial and early Republic coins over the more than 40 years he worked with the Chinese government. Other selections in the Champion Hong Kong auction covered the gamut of 20th-century Chinese numismatic history.
A total of $12,342,640 USD was realized. Below are a few of the top-selling highlights from the sale.
The biggest lot of the evening was lot 490, a 5 Oz .999 Gold Proof CHINA 1998 500 Yuan Celebration of Spring coin.
Based on its auction history alone, the 1998 Celebration of Spring 500 yuan is one of the rarest of modern Chinese coins. The current specimen, the highest graded coin of its type by NGC, featured a starting price of $120,000. It sold here for $194,700 in what was only its second appearance at auction in the last 10 years.
But based on its mintage of only 128 pieces, the five ounce, .999 fine gold Proof (NGC PF68 UCAM) is definitely within the elite rarities among modern world coinage.
The obverse features three small children, boys and girls in traditional dress, painting and flying traditional Chinese kites. Their faces present happy, almost transcendental smiles, turning the children into symbols of eternal Spring. The denomination of 500 yuan is inscribed below and to the left of the trio.
The reverse features a striking rendition of a traditional Chinese lantern with a bold arrangement of rays shooting forth from the center behind it. Along the top is inscribed (in Chinese) is “People’s Republic of China”. The date “1998” is found at the very bottom.
As an extra bonus for this extreme rarity, lot 490 also included the coin’s original box and Certificate of Authenticity.
Lot 223: China Imperial 1911 50 Cents Silver
Lot 223, a Chinese Imperial 50 cent silver piece from 1911, the third year of the Xuangtong (宣統) Emperor – better known in the West as Pu Yi, the last emperor. Early in 1912, Pu Yi was overthrown by the Xinhai Revolution, which abolished the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China.
As a consequence, imperial coinage from the reign of Pu Yi is harder to come by than most.
The obverse features inscriptions that designate the third year of the emperor’s reign and the coin’s denomination. The reverse features a five-legged dragon coiled around the Chinese characters for “50 cents”.
This Chinese coin, from an anonymous family collection, is the third-highest graded coin of its type, receiving a grade of MS62 from NGC. It sold for $64,900. In 2015, American coin firm Stack’s Bowers sold a PCGS-certified MS63 for $107,550. A few years earlier, Champion sold the highest-graded example (PCGS SP64) for $118,000 in December of 2011.
Lot 266: China Kiagnan 1898 10 Cents Silver
The imperial mint at Nanking was modernized in the year 1897. This variety of silver 10-cent piece, in which the dragon is encircled by a ring, was produced the next year. On the obverse are inscriptions for the date and denomination.
The specimen offered at Champion’s August 20 auction is one of the finest graded by NGC at MS65; it sold for $33,040. Another NGC-MS65 sold for approximately $85,322 in a June 2011 Champion auction.