Stacks Bowers Long Beach Expo Auction

HomeAuto Dollars of Kweichow Featured in Stack's Bowers Hong Kong Auction

Auto Dollars of Kweichow Featured in Stack’s Bowers Hong Kong Auction

Auto Dollars of Kweichow Featured in Stack's Bowers Hong Kong Auction

By Jeremy BostwickSenior Numismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers ……

Numismatic representations of automobiles are always popular due to their immense crossover appeal and the fact that such commonplace machines are seldom encountered in the hobby. Some of the earliest appearances were on medals rather than coins, as these generally commemorated auto shows and races as far back as the first decade of the 20th century.

Coins, however, had fewer depictions.

One of the more popular racing motifs among modern issues is the controversial 100 Patacas from Macao, issued for the 25th anniversary of the Grand Prix and featuring an open-wheel racecar both with and without decals.

One of the earliest, if not the earliest, automotive coins, however, wasn’t issued for racing. The 1928 “auto dollars” from the Chinese province of Kweichow instead employ a vehicle much more suited for a joyride.

In the 17th year of the Republic (1928), the first motor road was opened in Kweichow and, because of this momentous occasion, the legendary “auto dollar” was born. And what better vehicle to employ on one side of the coin than that of the provincial governor, Zhōu Xīchéng (Chow Hsi-chen)? Featuring a fairly luxurious automobile for the time, this design perfectly channels the flair of the Roaring ’20s on the eve of the Great Depression.

Minor varieties are identifiable, such as the style of the car’s ventilator, the degree of detailing on the doors, and even the shape of the spare tire. The major variation, however, centers around the blades of grass directly below the rear tire. The more common type exhibits two blades, while the rarer displays three. The great Eduard Kann relayed the theory that the various blades of grass were arranged in such a fashion as to loosely resemble the 西成 (Hsi-chen) characters in the governor’s name.

The upcoming Stack’s Bowers October Hong Kong auction will feature two of these outstanding “auto dollars”, and both are of the “two grass blades” variety. While one is graded just PCGS VF Details with some damage (lot 32303), it nevertheless serves as a suitable type for the more budget-minded collector looking to possess one of these dollars. The other, however, offers the rather robust grade of PCGS AU-50, complete with pleasing gray toning and some subtle hints of shimmering luster (lot 32202). For the connoisseur, this is an incredible example of the type and high on the list within the Chinese series as a whole. Look for these two storied specimens, along with the rest of our impressive sale, online now.

To view our upcoming auction schedule and future offerings, please visit where you may register and participate in this and other forthcoming sales.

* * *

We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our sales, and are currently accepting submissions for our next CCO (Collectors Choice Online) auction, the consignment deadline for which is September 8. Following that, our next larger format auction will be our official auction of the 2021 N.Y.I.N.C. in January. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.

中国, 中國, 广州, 广州市, 贵州, 贵阳, 贵阳市, 重庆, 香港


Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, internet, and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection, and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with galleries in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris, and Vancouver.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Great Collection Coin Auctions

AU Capital Management US gold Coins

David Lawrence Rare Coins Auctions