By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & Cataloger – Stacks Bowers ……
The upcoming Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong Showcase Auction is rapidly approaching and this week we preview a fantastic vintage Chinese rarity, the Sun Yat-sen “Mausoleum” Dollar.
Richard Placht, medalist and engraver for the Vienna Mint designed this pattern that features the facing portrait of the late Dr. Sun Yat-sen, with a border above stating: “Chinese Republic National Government.” The reverse design is breathtaking, showcasing the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen in Nanking at sunset, with “One Yuan” in large characters at center, and “Made in the 16th Year” (1927) just below.
Though splendid, this design was ultimately rejected by the Chinese authorities. One reason, as explained by Eduard Kann, author of Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Coins and contemporary of the aforementioned Chinese mint authorities, is that the portrait of Sun Yat-sen as engraved by Placht “could claim better likeness to General Hindenburg than to Dr. Sun Yat-sen.”
The reverse was also met with disapproval, as the actual building was still under construction at the time of engraving.
Compounding the issue, the engraver had never visited the site and was only supplied drawings, leading to the omission of key elements such as the steps leading to the mausoleum.
This pattern has a mintage of just 480 pieces, and the example Stack’s Bowers will offer in August is certainly in the upper echelon of quality. The solid strike produced a bold expressive portrait and this coin has the distinction of being the only piece designated “Proof like” by NGC and PCGS. Mark-free surfaces are free of tone and yet have vivid luster add to the desirability of this example that is sure to add prestige to the collector who acquires it.
We are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.