The rare coin market remains incredibly robust, with Chinese numismatics among the clear trend-setters. Within this environment of intense interest, venerable auction house Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio has assembled their largest—and sure-to-be their most valuable—Hong Kong auction to date, offering over 5,000 lots of coins, medals, tokens, and currency, with higher-end estimates surpassing $16.5 million.
At the forefront of this magnum opus of Asian and related numismatics is the Pinnacle Collection— aptly named for its astounding offerings. Presenting some of the rarest coins in the modern Japanese series, the collection features an exceedingly important Pattern set from year 3 of the Meiji era (1870). Estimated as high as $1.5 million, it is truly a national treasure and the only set held privately (the other being in a museum). Also notable is an outstanding array of early Obans, as well as Japan’s rarest modern-era circulating coin—a year 10 (1877) 20 Yen with a minuscule mintage of 29 pieces that bears an estimate of $300,000 to $600,000.
Among Chinese rarities are “Mukden Tiger” and “Long Whisker” pattern dollars, each with a high-end estimate of $250,000, and numerous other patterns that will undoubtedly achieve six figures.
The Pinnacle Collection also presents monumental Russian rarities, chief among which is a fabled pattern Ruble from the would-be emperor, Constantine I. Minted during the brief pseudo-interregnum in late 1825, it is one of just eight known, and among just three with a plain edge. Its last appearance at auction in 2004 saw a record hammer of $525,000, foreshadowing the current upward potential of this famous crown.
Moving on from the Pinnacle Collection, highly sought-after rarities are found throughout the catalog and include the finest certified “Flying Dragon” Dollar and a lovely Anhwei Dollar from Year 24 of Guang Xu (1898), each carrying estimates of $100,000 to $150,000. Minting refinements from the west are observed in pieces such as an immaculate Heaton mint specimen 50 Cents from Kwangtung and a tremendous “Matte Proof” pattern Dollar of Yuan Shih-kai from the skilled hand of Luigi Giorgi.
Among modern rarities is a never-before-seen, and presumed-to-be-unique grouping of 19 brass patterns that emanate from 1981 “Bronze Age” series. Important issues from around the region, like a 1906 10 Won from Korea and a Mint State silver 4 Baht from Thailand celebrating the 60th birthday of Rama IV, round out the tremendous offering.
Stack’s Bowers Ponterio Paper Money Highlights
In the currency portion of the April 2021 Hong Kong Auction, the increasingly varied interests of the audience have led Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio to include a wider array of banknotes from around the entire world. Of note is a full set of issues from Panama, including the second finest 20 Balboas and a near-Gem 10 Balboas.
From Pakistan, there is a 100 Rupees “Haj Pilgrim” specimen, graded PMG AU-55, while notes from Canada offer an extremely scarce serial number 1 Merchants Bank of Canada 5 Dollar note and a grouping of fancy solid serial-numbered Bank of Canada issues.
The highlight of the banknote auction, however, is the coveted “Black Dragon” or “Ooi-Long” 1 Yuan. The holy grail of early provincial currency, this exceptional example has been privately held for a number of years and is making its first major auction appearance since realizing $125,000 over a decade ago. The design features two black dragons facing one another, flanking a detailed vignette of a Kwangsi Dollar. The reverse shows a Kwangsi Bank handstamp at left, along with an inscription within the orange border that loosely translates to “no discount given” and “redeemable for silver at any branch.” This is undoubtedly a Chinese banknote collector’s dream and a specimen that belongs in the most advanced of notaphilic cabinets.
For more information on the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April 2021 Hong Kong Auction or the Pinnacle Collection, visit the firm’s website at www.StacksBowers.com, call 800-458-4646, or email [email protected].
Other World Coin Highlights:
- Lot 50001: CHINA. Chihli (Pei Yang). Silver Dollar Pattern, Year 15 (1889). Tientsin Mint. PCGS SPECIMEN-45 Gold Shield.
- Lot 50003: CHINA. Hong Kong. Silver 2 Mace Pattern, 1867. Hong Kong Mint. Victoria. PCGS SPECIMEN-62+ Gold Shield.
- Lot 50005: CHINA. Kwangtung. Copper 3 Mace 6 Candareens (50 Cents) Specimen, ND (1890). PCGS SPECIMEN-65 Brown Gold Shield.
- Lot 50006: CHINA. Silver Tael Pattern, Year 29 (1903). Tientsin Mint. PCGS SPECIMEN-55 Gold Shield.
- Lot 50008: CHINA. Silver Dollar Pattern, CD (1907). Tientsin Mint. PCGS MS-65+ Gold Shield.
- Lot 50011: CHINA. Silver Dollar Pattern, ND (1916). PCGS SPECIMEN-65+ Gold Shield.
- Lot 50015: CHINA. Silver Dollar Pattern, Year 16 (1927). PCGS SPECIMEN-62 Gold Shield.
- Lot 50054: Gold 10 Yen Pattern, Year 3 (1870). Osaka Mint. Mutsuhito (Meiji). PCGS SPECIMEN-61 Gold Shield.
- Lot 50102: RUSSIA. Silver ‘Pugachev’ Ruble Novodel (Pattern), 1771. Sestoretsk Mint. Catherine II (the Great). NGC MS-65.
- Lot 50107: RUSSIA. Silver 1-1/2 Rubles (“Family Ruble”) – 10 Zlotych Novodel, 1836-NY. St. Petersburg Mint. Nicholas I. PCGS SPECIMEN-62+ Gold Shield.
- Lot 52136: CHINA. Gold K’uping Tael Pattern, CD (1907). Tientsin Mint. NGC MS-64.
- Lot 52161: CHINA. Silver Dollar Pattern, ND (1910). Tientsin Mint. NGC MS-64.
- Lot 52407: CHINA. Silver Dollar Pattern, Year 12 (1923). PCGS MS-66 Gold Shield.
- Lot 52415: CHINA. Dollar, ND (1924). PCGS MS-68 Gold Shield.
- Lot 53076: CHINA. Fengtien. 3 Mace 6 Candareens (50 Cents), Year 25 (1899). PCGS AU-55 Gold Shield.
Other World Currency Highlights:
- Lot 40148: CHINA–PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC. People’s Bank of China. 10 Yuan, 1953. P-870. PMG Extremely Fine 40.
- Lot 40196: CHINA–FOREIGN BANKS. Deutsch-Asiatische Bank. 25 Dollars, 1907. P-S296s. Specimen. PMG Choice Very Fine 35.
- Lot 40400: JAPAN. Bank of Japan. 1000 Yen, ND (1945). P-78Cs. Specimen. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.
- Lot 40488: PORTUGUESE INDIA. Banco Nacional Ultramarino. 50 Rupias, 1938. P-34. PMG Very Fine 25.
中国, 中國, 香港, 袁世凱