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Superb Gem Yuan Shih-kai in Tall Hat Dollar in Stack’s Bowers Hong Kong Auction

By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & CatalogerStack’s Bowers ……

Chinese Yuan Shih-Kai tall hat coin at Stack's Bowers Galleries Hong Kong Auction

With the closing of our inaugural auction of 2018, the New York International (NYINC), we begin looking ahead to the exciting calendar of auctions slated for this year. The next world coin auction is our Showcase Hong Kong Auction to be held April 2-4. Our first preview features a vintage Chinese coin that combines high desirability with a stellar grade.

This elegant coin features a front-view portrait of Yuan Shih-kai in full military regalia. His jacket proudly displays his medals and decorations for his years of service in the military; a sash is visible running across his chest from his right shoulder, and epaulets add prestige to his bust. Also notable is Yuan’s high-feathered military hat, symbolizing his status at the pinnacle of the Chinese Republican military and government.

The reverse displays the necessary coin information as the obverse features only the portrait. The upper Chinese inscription states: “Republic of China. Coin Commemorative of the Republic.” Two ornate rosettes separate the upper Chinese inscription from the lower English: “One Dollar.” The central design features an open wreath around two prominent Chinese characters meaning: “One Yuan.”

Like most historical figures, Yuan Shih-Kai’s legacy is complex and includes positive and negative aspects. He was an important general and politician, best known for his military reforms and his role in the transition from monarchy to a republic in China at the turn of the century. Yuan’s greatest achievement turned out to be a double-edged sword, as his military reforms fostered a loyalty that resulted in rival warlords who competed with each other after his death. This fractioning of the army, coupled with Yuan’s bid to restore the monarchy (with himself as emperor) eroded the ideals of the Republican movement he had helped establish.

While we are no longer accepting consignments for our April Hong Kong Auction, we are accepting consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2018 Hong Kong Auction. In addition to this, we are taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our May 2018 Collector’s Choice Online Auction and August 2018 ANA 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.

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