The NGC-certified NC Collection boasts hundreds of rarities carefully collected by one of China’s most famous families
Coins from the NC Collection — an outstanding group of vintage Chinese rarities certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) — will be offered in a sale presented by Champion Auctions that is set to take place on May 30, 2021, in Macau, China. In combination with the auction, a book dedicated to the NC Collection and Nelson Chang, who assembled it, will be released on May 29, 2021.
Comprising some of the most desirable Chinese coins in existence, and with a direct link to one of China’s most famous families, the NC Collection represents a culmination of Chinese numismatics, history, and culture. Even before the exceptional provenance of the NC Collection was known, an NGC-certified 1898 Hunan Dollar from the collection sold for more than $1 million (USD) in a 2014 private sale. The sale of the remainder of the coins from the collection is sure to generate ardent bidding, amid one of the strongest coin markets ever.
Highlights from the NC Collection
Over 45 years ago, Nelson Chang began to form the NC Collection of vintage Chinese coins, focusing on rarity and quality. As a trader of commodities, futures, and currency on Wall Street, he had a keen eye for investments, and he came from a family of renowned collectors (delineated below). After a visit to China in the 1970s, Chang decided that rare Chinese coins would offer excellent returns as an alternative investment while China’s economic development accelerated.
Most of the coins in the NC Collection were graded by NGC between 2009 and 2014. Featured here are just a few of the hundreds of rarities that collectors will compete for in the May sale.
This 1916 Yuan Shih-kai Dollar graded NGC MS 64 is the finest example of only three known, according to Eduard Kann’s 1954 Illustrated Catalog of Coins. Its estimated price is $200,000 to $400,000.
A YR 33 (1907) Tael Chihli graded NGC MS 63 is one of the finest known and one of the most desirable of the Chinese dragon Tael series. Recent sales of similar examples with lower grades have realized more than $300,000. Its estimated price is $200,000 to $400,000.
A YR 3 (1911) Dollar Long Whiskered Dragon graded NGC MS 64 is the finest known example of this design by Italian engraver Luigi Giorgi. Champion auctioned a similar example in November 2020 that realized $312,000. Its estimated price is $150,000 to $300,000.
This YR 3 (1914) Yuan Shih-kai Dollar graded NGC SP 65 is the finest known example of this type designed by Luigi Giorgi. A similar specimen was sold in 2020 and realized more than $300,000. Its estimated price is $150,000 to $300,000.
An 1898 China Kiangnan Dollar graded NGC MS 65 is the finest known and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. As one of the most popular varieties of this type, it’s rarely seen with such a high grade. A similar coin realized $200,000 at auction in 2014.
This 1909 China Cash Honan graded NGC MS 63 is the finest known of four examples. Its estimated price is $80,000 to $160,000.
The Anhwei dollars in the NC Collection are at the top of the NGC Census and may originate from Director Turpin Hsi’s family connection with the Anhwei Mint. This YR 24 (1898) Anhwei Dollar graded NGC MS 66 is the finest known and has an estimated price of $60,000 to $120,000.
This 1901 China 10C Flower Basket Type graded NGC XF Details was unknown prior to 2015 and may be the rarest copper coin of all. Struck during the Russian takeover of the Kirin Mint, its estimated price is $60,000 to $120,000.
An 1897 China Kiangnan Dollar graded NGC UNC Details has an estimated price of $50,000 to $100,000.
This YR 24 (1898) China 20C Anhwei graded NGC MS 66 is the finest-known example. Its estimated price is $6,000 to $12,000.
“The NC Collection includes some of the most sought-after coins in Chinese numismatics,” said Michael Chou, President of Champion Auctions. “With the confidence that NGC certification provides, we are expecting record auction prices for these superb vintage Chinese rarities brought together by one of the most famous Chinese coin collecting families.”
“Being entrusted to handle the range of pieces and unique types found in the NC Collection was an opportunity to showcase and reinforce NGC’s strength in the area of Chinese numismatics,” said Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Grading Finalizer of World Coins. “It is wonderful that Champion Auctions had complete confidence in NGC’s expertise, and I believe that confidence will be reflected in the prices realized for coins pedigreed to this important collection.”
Acquiring the Coins
Chang formed roughly two-thirds of his collection through a network of dealers and a third at auction.
Hans Schumann of New York City, who was Egyptian King Farouk’s leading dealer, was also a dealer for Chang. From Schumann, Chang purchased a group of 40 coins, many of which later became the highest graded coins of their type by NGC. He also bought a group of five 1929 “Junk Dollars” from the Kann Collection. Many are the finest known, including an Italy A. Motti “Junk Dollar” graded NGC 66.
Another dealer who supplied many coins to Chang was Chang Huang of Hong Kong (likely the most famous Chinese coin dealer in recent times). From 1976 to 1984 at Hong Kong’s first McDonald’s, Chang purchased many extremely rare Chinese coins from Huang. His purchases included an 1884 Kirin Spelter set and the finest-known Hong Kong 1867 2 Mace Shanghai graded NGC SP 66, each acquired for $10,000 in 1976. Chang’s other dealers were Richard Nelson of Money Company in California and André De Clermont of London’s Spink.
A Family of Renowned Collectors
Chang comes from a family of famous collectors.
His grandfather, Zhang Shiming, who was one of the wealthiest people in China during the Republican period, formed a great collection of Chinese books and built one of the most famous houses in Nanxun, China. The House of Zhang, now preserved as a national treasure, is a combination of Western and Chinese styles.
Chang’s father, Zhang Shuxun, was known as the “King of Coins”, and formed one of the greatest ancient Chinese cash coin collections of all time. He also collected old Chinese jade. Zhang Shuxun brought 1,998 coins to New York in 1947, and when he passed away in 1948, his wife sold the coins to a former friend, the famous Chinese antique dealer J.T. Tai. In 1967, the coins were sold to Chinese art collector Arthur Sackler.
In 1935, Zhang Shuxun’s ancient jade collection was displayed in England. Many of the top Chinese jade pieces were later acquired by Sackler and put on display at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Rare items from the family’s collections of Chinese antiquities, including bronze vessels, paintings, books, and coins, are also on display at the Shanghai Museum.
Chang’s great uncle, Zhang Jingjiang, was a large financial supporter of Chinese statesman Sun Yat-sen and one of the founding elders of Sun Yat-sen’s Kuomingtang party. Zhang Jingjiang was also godbrother to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, former president of the Republic of China.
Chang’s father-in-law was Turpin Hsi, one of the longest-serving mint directors of the Central Mint in Shanghai. Similar to J.P. Morgan and the Roosevelt family in 20th-century America, Hsi’s family was famous in banking and finance during China’s Republican period, holding important roles in over 23 banks, including foreign banks and the Imperial Bank of China. His grandfather was the prominent banker Xi Zhengfu, the second comprador of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (1874-1904).
During his time, Hsi collected more than 10,000 world coins, including ancient coins from Greece, Rome, and Egypt. There were also about 100 silver coins from Anhwei, Kiangnan, Chihli, Kirin, and other Chinese provinces. Many are the finest-known examples.
Hsi’s coins later became part of the NC Collection and now have the pedigree of Hsi/NC Collection by NGC — a moniker that honors their extraordinary provenance and important place in Chinese numismatics.
To follow the sale and for more information, visit the Champion Auctions website.
中国, 中國, 澳門, 直隸, 江南, 安徽, 袁世凱