Perhaps the most impressive coin in our upcoming June 22-24 Hong Kong Signature Coin Auction is lot 29053, an extremely rare copper striking for a very early machine-produced Kwangtung pattern, made from equipment procured from the Heaton Mint in Birmingham, England.
This pattern, the second produced for this dragon dollar design, changed the proposed fineness from the initial 7 mace and 3 candareens, to what would become the adopted standard through the end of the Empire, 7 mace and 2 candareens.
Much like the first iteration of patterns however, the “reverse pattern” moniker would stick, as the English surrounding the Manchu and Chinese characters would later be moved around the dragon, thus being reversed from the standard design. After the design was finalized and the legends moved, it would become the first dragon dollar to be struck on modernized equipment in China, and thus became the standard for all the provincial dragon dollars that would follow.
As such, this coin’s importance in shaping modern Chinese coinage cannot be understated.
In addition to the historical importance that accompanies this coin, it also happens to benefit from exceptional preservation and eye-appeal. Graded Specimen 64+ Brown by PCGS, this coin has an absolutely full strike and the copper surfaces remains glossy to the point of near-prooflike with even brown color that lightens to original mint red around portions of both sides. Traces of iridescent blue, green and gold accompany much of the brown, and no spots are present. A few tiny ticks and a couple as-struck lint marks are noted for accuracy’s sake, but they take on no visual significance. An absolute marvel of existence, and when combined with the historical importance of the piece, one of the most significant issues from the modernized era of Chinese coinage.