As the last major auction event on the Heritage Auctions 2020 numismatic calendar, our December 18-19 Hong Kong Signature Auction allows us to reflect on the events of the year with a new appreciation for how we have been able to weather the turbulent events of the last 12 months.
While we have undeniably been presented with new challenges and uncertainties, through cooperation, accommodation, and a willingness to innovate, we have been incredibly fortunate to witness a growth in the interest for rare coins at a time when so many other industries are still trying to find their footing. As one of the key markets that both had shown considerable growth in the years prior to 2020 and which has continued to show great resilience, the Asian coin market very much represents the spirit and eagerness that has helped keep the collecting community alive and vibrant. Certainly the embodiment of this collecting spirit, the following lots offer a brief overview of the selections the current sale holds, all of which are poised to inspire ever greater interest amongst their prospective future owners.
Heading the Chinese coin offerings chronologically is an extremely impressive pair of Taiwanese military ration dollars. Produced contemporaneously with the Taiping Rebellion, these historically fascinating and rare issues are often considered to be the first silver coins of modern China.
From the Kuang-hsü’s reign comes a splendid Specimen 64-graded Heaton mint trial for the 1889 Kwantung 50 Cents–a piece which reflects the next stages of the nation’s monetary history and whose purpose was to train Chinese mint workers in an effort to modernize coin production.
Produced at another newly established mint of the 19th century, a gorgeous 1897 Kiangnan Dollar, preserved in laudable condition, provides the discerning collector yet another chance to pursue superb quality (being the “sister” piece to the example we offered in July).
Finally, at the tail end of his long tenure as emperor, we see a near-Gem original strike 1906 Pattern Tael, toned over in engaging pastel colors and struck not long after the reestablishment of the Tientsin mint.
The end of the Empire and beginning of the Republic brings with it its own selection of treasured rare Chinese coins, including an MS64-certified 1910 Pattern Dollar of Hsüan-t’ung, a choice three-quarters bust Yuan Shih-kai Pattern Dollar designed by famed engraver Luigi Giorgi, and a simply astonishing Mint State 1928 “Kuomintang” Dollar from Kansu that is likely amongst the finest examples of the type to come to market in decades. Not to be remiss on modern rarities, the likely highlight of the People’s Republic section is an extremely rare gold 20 ounce “Peacock” 1,500 Yuan–the undisputed ‘king’ of the series and number 21 of only 66 produced.
We’ve curated a small, yet pleasing selection of ancient coins for your consideration, from a range of cultures and with a focus on style and beauty. Colorful toning is presented on the Calabria and Cilicia staters, Diocletian argenteus and Lysimachus tetradrachm. Alexander the Great and Carthage staters, along with a Larissa drachm, are examples struck from dies of Fine Style. If you are looking for new additions to your collection in the form of certified superior eye appeal, the ‘stars’ of the section include a Lydian trite, Mytilene hecte, Cassius and Titus denarii, Valentinian II solidus and four magnificent Athens owl tetradrachms.
As the year ends, we have little doubt that this auction will be a welcomed installment in the history of the hobby, and we all look forward to the opportunities that the future holds to grow, expand, and further develop our collections.
This auction will open for bidding soon at Coins.HA.com.