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Coin Club News – An Interview with David Chio of the Macau Numismatic Society

David Chio inspects coin exhibit. Image courtesy of NGC.
David Chio inspects coin exhibit. Image courtesy of NGC.

By Yuan Shui Qing, Xi’an Numismatic Society, for the Journal of East Asian Numismatics ……
The Macau Numismatic Society was founded in 1988, and since then has become a major player in the Greater Chinese collecting sector. The Society’s leading figure is David Chio.

David Chio was born in 1957 in Macau. After much hard work, he obtained a diploma in Interior Design from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1976. Later in his career he received an EMBA degree from Tsinghua University (2007), obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales (2008), and achieved a national level certificate in Psychological Counseling in China in 2011. Currently he works as both Design Director and Head of the Board of Directors of David Chio Design Firm, Supervisor of the Macau Institute of Psychology, Chairman of the Interior Designers Association, Director of the Philatelic Association, President of the Association of the Institute of Painting, President of the Macau Numismatic Society and other positions (13 titles in total). Chio has won the Macau Design Competition three times, as well as the Australian Quick Shot Shooting and Standard Pistol Championship in 2012. In 2016, he was appointed as the third National Numismatic Collection Expo’s presidium consultant.

From David Chio’s many titles, it’s not difficult to see that he is a busy and energetic man with wide-ranging interests. Yet out of all of his jobs, he focuses mainly on numismatics and leading the Macau Numismatic Society.

(from left) David Chio, Yuan Shuiqing and Lu Ganzhou (Vice President of Macau Numismatic Society) on September 7, 2012
(from left) David Chio, Yuan Shuiqing and Lu Ganzhou (Vice President of Macau Numismatic Society) on September 7, 2012

On September 7, 2012, David Chio led a delegation to the Xi’an Numismatic Society on an academic exchange. This is where I had the honor of meeting him. I was impressed by his open-mind and how warm yet professional he was. We met multiple times after that while participating in national numismatic activities. I saw his exhibit of rare banknotes, witnessed his organizational skills, and listened to his wonderful speeches. So I think I’ve come to understand Macau’s leading numismatic figure. He is responsible for introducing the finer points of numismatic collecting to his peers, and that’s why I included him in my book, 100 Top Chinese Numismatic Collector Interviews.

On December 5, 2016, I had the privilege of an exclusive interview with Mr. David Chio, which I’ve shared with you below.

* * *

Yuan Shui Qing (YSQ): I would like to ask you now as the leader of the Macau Numismatic Society, how have you managed to keep the association going so consistently? In addition, how did you start your own numismatic collection?

David Chio (DC): First of all, no matter how difficult it is, I must keep raising up the Macau Numismatic Society. I think in order to carry out this job consistently, one must set an example and take the lead in numismatic research. One can constantly enrich one’s own collections to produce more research results. On the other hand, unit members need to start exhibiting more often, so that the work and collection of the entire society can expand together.

I used to collect stamps since when I was a student; many people collected stamps at that time. After working and having a stable income, I liked to seek out potential items for my collection during my free time. These items could include lighters, ink pens, refined handicrafts, and stamps. Once, under the Macau Ruins of St. Paul’s at Travessa do Armazém Velho’s market, I saw a white, unused 1972 $100 past banknote and bought it. From then on, I was in love with the old Macanese banknotes, and have collected them all the way until today.

YSQ: How do you systematically collect Macau banknotes and coins? What is the focus of your collection? How do you plan it out?

DC: First, I find out the history of the issuance of the currency in question, then I collect them by series. Macau currency can be divided into three series: the first series is the official issue of the Macau government, the second series goes from the year 1902 to the present, and the third series includes past banknotes issued by local civilian banks. Macau coins can also be a separate collectible series, but they have less variety. There are only a few dozens series, so they are relatively easy to collect.

Collecting Macau banknotes is comparably difficult. After all, it has less circulation and a high recycling rate, leaving very few past banknotes still extant. But they do have a lot of varieties. For example, the five dollar and 10 dollar banknotes from before Macau’s reunification have seven to eight different signature editions; a complete collection would consist of two to three hundred different versions. My collection of Macau’s first set of banknotes is very precious, it joined the second annual National Numismatic Collection Expo at Xiamen in 2015. Please enjoy these two 25 dollar banknotes issued by Macau Banco Nacional Ultramarino in 1907 and this 10 dollar banknote issued in 1941.

In 2017, we plan to publish the Complete Collection of Macau Circulated Banknotes, a reference work in two volumes published in the name of the Macau Numismatic Society. The compilation has already begun. There are about 700 pages, with each banknote described with as much detailed information as possible. But Macau banknotes have little data in this area, especially for earlier issues. These are more difficult to find, collect, and research. This is both the focus and the hardest part of my collecting.

YSQ: It is known that you have collected misprinted banknotes from all over the world for more than 10 years, especially misprinted banknotes from China and the United States, so far more than anyone else. Collectors called you the “top collector of today’s rare banknotes”. Please tell us about your collection progress.

DC: The first misprinted banknote I ever collected was an American banknote. I saw it during a trip to the America during the 90s in the 20th century. I found it very special, and thought that if I can collect all kinds of misprinted and error banknotes, then I can enjoy and study them in detail. I can also improve banknote printing technology and make suggestions to quality control, so this would be a very meaningful subject. Thus I began collecting misprinted banknotes, and at this point I have more than a thousand pieces in my collection and have invested around 10 million dollars in it.

Chinese 50 Banknote

I think misprinted money is produced due to the design, the printing, or even the papermaking process. It is based on human negligence, mechanical error or malfunction, having passed by chance through any and all quality checkpoints to enter the market. Misprinted banknotes can be divided into 15 categories, including folding white, folding, cover white, corner ear, shift, reverse printing, inverted cover, wrong number, leak cover, overprint, print through, wrong version, water through print and other errors. For example, here I have a 50 dollar Chinese People’s Bank of China banknote issued in 1990. It has an inverted watermark (Pic 4). Here, a United States 1935 edition of the one dollar banknote has its number and signature printed on the reverse as the result of folding.

Senior Li An Shen is a famous collector of Chinese banknotes. He is also one of the first collectors of misprinted money, known as the “King of Strange Money”. He loved to collect these banknotes so much that he spared no expense. I want to learn his spirit and persistence.

Series 1935E Folded Note Error

YSQ: How many of your books have been published? Please talk about the contents and the objectives of these books.

DC: Over the years I carefully researched and studied the items in my collection. Based upon this intense interest, I compiled and officially published three books.

The first book is called the Daqing Hand-Painted Postcards Art Appreciation and Collection. It was published in conjunction with the Associacao de Artes e Pintura Hang Ian de Macau, the Macau SAR Government Cultural Affairs Bureau, and the Macao Foundation in September 2012. Like I said earlier, when I was young I had a collection of stamps, and I really enjoyed early Chinese postcards. This first book introduces the early Chinese hand-painted postcards produced during the Qing Dynasty, which feature very detailed and beautiful Chinese paintings. They were sold to foreigners to mail back home. It advertises Chinese culture, so it is a very good method.

Chinese Banknote Error BooksThe second book is called Huayang Strange Banknotes: Chinese and Foreign Misprinted Notes Appreciation. It is co-authored by myself and the Chairman of the Macau Chinese Banknote Association, Chen Yaoguang. He has collected a lot of misprinted banknotes from the Qing Dynasty and the Republic period, and I have a lot of misprinted RMB and US banknotes, so we really hit it off compiling this book. It was published by the Macau Numismatic Society in December 2015. You might have seen it before – it was the first publication in China that introduced misprinted money. The book features thorough descriptions of the causes of the misprintings, their historical backgrounds, their values, and how to distinguish between genuine and fake banknotes. I believe it allows readers to completely understand this field of banknote collecting.

The third book is called the Xiang Yin Ji Yu —– – Chinese Modern Hat Emblem Album. It was co-authored by the Macau Numismatic Society’s Overseas Executive Director Huang Xiao Tan and published by Associacao de Artes e Pintura Hang Ian de Macau in November 2016. This book describes the folk hat flower. In the past, after a child was born, he or she wore a hat with a decorative cap flower; rich adults’ hats have gems. This custom is popular along the Jiangnan area, and is most common in the Northeast. Hat decoration is a craft and a folk art, and such studies have not been seen before.

YSQ: According to the evaluation from a Macau Numismatic Society vice president, you are a rare kind of contributor due to your selfless dedication of people, money, effort, time – which is the main reason for the Macau Numismatic Society’s rapid development in such a short period of time. I would like to ask you, what major contributions have you made since you were elected as president of the Macau Numismatic Society?

DC: The Macau Numismatic Society was established in 1988 under the club’s first chairman, Chen Meng. I joined the Society in 2011 and was recommended and elected as the president. With the support of the Macao SAR government and help from the Board of Supervisors, my six years of major work include:

  • Organizing the annual academic exchange with Chinese mainland provincial and municipal numismatic societies. From 2012 onwards, we have visited numismatic clubs in Xi’an, Beijing, Shanghai, Hefei, Kunming and other places. In 2017, we will go to Hangzhou and Zhejiang Province to exchange with their numismatic societies.
  • Holding an annual numismatic exhibition, exchange, and auction week in Macau. Over the past three years we have worked together quite happily with Macau Champion Auction Company’s president Michael Chou. While our society is a non-profit club, in 2016 we tried to add business elements into it and the effect has been a good one. Macau citizens have good reactions to it, and citizens from the mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong also have good reactions to it.
  • From 2012 onwards, publishing the annual exhibition special issue of Macau Money Aspect. It includes the latest research and studies from our members. These initiatives have contributed greatly to the numismatic collection and to academic exchanges, expanding the influence of the club.

YSQ: What is different about the current Macau Numismatic Society compared to the past? What are your plans for the future?

DC: There have been three main changes.

First the board became bigger. Previously, there were only a few dozen members; now we have 600 members from all over the country. Many well-known collectors have joined, as well.

Second, the club holds more activities. Each month there are members’ auctions, member exchanges, and numismatic forums held by the club. At each event there are over 100 members participating. By the end of each year we sum up all the awards, so that the club’s organization is greatly enhanced.

Third is how we solved the problem of funding the club’s activities. In other regions, a lack of funding can be a bottleneck that restricts a club’s healthy development. Our activities can resolve or greatly reduce such problems. The Macau Foundation and the Culture Bureau have focused on our activities since 2012. We have received funding for support. Although it’s not a lot, this monetary support shows that the SAR Government recognizes us. Plus, a number of the club’s honorary presidents donate generously to the club and the Macau Champion Auction Company helps us organize charity auctions. Add in membership fees from club members, and our activity funds are doing well.

About the club’s future: I plan to unite the members, and to enhance the research value of its numismatic collections–this is the Macao Numismatic Society’s mission. Maintaining this club is part of my career, therefore I must do my best while serving as chair, sparing no effort. I am confident this club will do better in the future. Of course, it also depends on the development of the national economy, as well as the development of Macau. Our main goals are to collect and study money, to increase the growth and scope of our collection, to publish more studies and books, to run the annual exhibition, to compile the special issue of Macau Money Aspect, and to join the ranks of the world’s most advanced numismatic societies.

中国, 中國, 陈琳

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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