By Chris Chatigny – Numismatist & Cataloger, Stack’s Bowers Galleries ……
Our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong Showcase Auction features a nice range of numismatic material for all types of collectors. This preview will highlight some fabulous Korean pattern coinage.
In the late 1880s, Korea sought to improve their monetary system. At this time the common circulating coins were old square-holed copper coins called yopchon. The yopchon – meaning “leaf money” – were inconvenient by most standards but many Koreans were willing to use them as a matter of tradition, even if they were not widely accepted by foreigners. Foreign officials petitioned the Korean government to reform the monetary system and the Korean government established the Chonhwankuk Government Mint in Seoul.
The Korean government also hired Mr. Paul Georg von Mollendorf, a German linguist and diplomat, to act as General Superintendent for the mint. Mr. Mollendorf then hired Japanese engineers from the Osaka Mint in Japan to help modernize the mint and the coinage system.
In 1886, or year 23 of King Kojong’s reign, a pattern series was struck with the following denominations: Gold 20 Warn, 10 Warn, 5 Warn, 2 Warn, and 1 Warn; Silver 1 Warn, 5 Niang, 2 Niang, 1 Niang, and ½ Niang; Copper 20 Mun, 10 Mun, 2 Mun, and 1 Mun.
Despite these patterns for every denomination, only the 1 Warn, 10 Mun, and 5 Mun were struck for circulation.
We are pleased to offer in our upcoming auction examples of the 5-Mun Pattern, the 2-Mun Pattern and the 1-Mun Pattern, all struck in copper. Each of these pieces displays a razor sharp strike and fantastic color. These exceptional patterns are sure to draw considerable attention when they cross the auction block, so be sure to keep an eye out.
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 at 1-800-458-4646.