In 1889 a new Kwangtung mint was opened . A series of five coins were struck: 3.65 Candareens (5 Cents), 7-3/10 Candareens (10 Cents), 1 Mace 4-3/5 Candareens (20 Cents), 3 Mace 6-1/2 Candareens (50 Cents), and 7 Mace 3 Candareens. These pieces were struck at the Kwangtung Mint, and entered into circulation, to replace foreign silver coins. It was determined that these newly produced issues were heavier than the corresponding foreign silver coins, and this first Kwangtung issue was quickly removed from circulation and melted.
Soon thereafter, a second series of Pattern coins was struck of a slightly reduced weight, and this second series, struck in extremely small quantities, did not gain official approval from Beijing. In the following year, the Kwangtung Mint struck a re-designed third series of coins and this series was approved and adopted as the standard silver coins.
The 1889 second series is among the rarest and most coveted of all Chinese Provincial coin issues. The example offered in the Heritage Auctions upcoming December 7-8 World Coins Signature Auction in Hong Kong is one of only two certified examples of the Second Series 3 Mace 6 Candareens (50 Cents). Graded MS63 by NGC, it is sharply struck, with mottled blue and gray toning over lustrous, minimally marked surfaces.
This piece is the only example of the Kwangtung Mint type that we have had the pleasure of offering at auction, and is one of the truly classic Chinese numismatic rarities. It was missing from the Kann Collection, Bowker Collection, and the Irving Goodman Collection. This example is the plate coin from the Michael Chou book Top Chinese Coins-Silver Coins, where it is listed as being from the 1996 Singapore Auction, Lot 355.
Chinese coin collecting has exploded in recent years and looks to continue will into the future.