Second-finest example more than doubles previous record set in 2021
A rare Specimen Medallic “Pavilion” Dollar sold for a record $576,000 USD to lead Heritage Auctions’ World & Ancient Coins Platinum Session and Signature Auction to $7,969,537 December 7-9.
The price paid for the Republic Hsu Shih-chang Specimen “Pavilion” Medallic Dollar Year 10 (1921) SP63 PCGS, from the Ta Han Collection, set a new record for a silver Pavilion Dollar; the prior record was set in October 2021, when a European firm sold an example for approximately $285,000.
“This is the first Medallic ‘Pavilion’ issue without lower legend we have offered at Heritage Auctions in the last five years, and the condition is extraordinary – the second-finest of all examples in the conditional censuses,” says Cris Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “It is believed this coin was created for distribution upon the opening of the Peking Union Medical College, the façade of which appears on the reverse.”
A Republic Yuan Shih-kai “Plumed Hat” Dollar ND (1916) MS66+ PCGS, or “Flying Dragon Dollar,” sold for $312,000. Struck for the inauguration of Yuan Shih-kai as Emperor Hung-hsien, it features a reverse dragon motif that remains expertly engraved, symbolizing the military leader’s ascension to the imperial throne. Only six examples have received a higher grade from either grading service.
A Hupeh. Kuang-hsü “Small Characters” Tael Year 30 (1904) MS62 PCGS, Wuchang mint, KM-Y128.2, L&M-180, Kann-933, WS-0878, from the Tony Ma Collection, drew a winning bid of $240,000. Few examples from this coveted series equal the level of aesthetic quality seen in this extraordinary example, leaving an impression of visual balance that renders this offering a highly collectible representative of this type.
The only certified example of an 1889 Kwangtung Copper Pattern 50 Cents, from the Monrovia Collection, prompted 24 bids before it brought $132,000 – more than four times its high pre-auction estimate. This coin is exceptionally scarce in a comparable state of preservation as the circulation issue, and almost unseen as a Pattern struck in copper. China was outfitted with presses and dies to strike its first milled issues in 1889; these 50 Cent issues, with English legends to the obverse (reverse as holdered), were among the first products from this minting facility and are among the finest products of Kwangtung origin.
Also drawing heavy interest, in the form of 30 bids, was a Republic silver Pattern “Dragon & Phoenix” Dollar Year 12 (1923) MS64 PCGS that more than doubled its low pre-auction estimate when it finished at $204,000. This is a stunning example of this “small characters” variety. These issues are so coveted that they became a significant part of Chinese numismatic canon, in which the “Dragon & Phoenix” motif would be utilized on minors struck in 1926, and a commemorative series six decades later.
The auction found new homes for prized selections from several important collections.
Tony Ma Collection
The Hupeh. Kuang-hsü “Small Characters” Tael Year 30 (1904) MS62 PCGS was one highlight from among the 12 lots from the collection that were sold in this auction.
Others included, but were not limited to:
- A Republic Yuan Shih-kai “L. Giorgi” Pattern Dollar Year 3 (1914) AU Details (Obverse Tooled) NGC: $66,000
- A Kansu. Republic Yuan Shih-kai Dollar Year 3 (1914) AU50 NGC: $45,600
- A “Li Hung Chang’s Visit to Hamburg” gilt copper Medal ND (1896) MS62 PCGS: $38,400
- A Republic Yuan Shih-kai “Plumed Hat” Dollar ND (1914) MS62 NGC: $31,200
Highlights from this 37-lot trove included, but were not limited to:
- A Republic Sun Yat-sen “Upper Five-Pointed Stars/Dot Below Ear” Memento Dollar ND (1927) MS65 PCGS: $60,000
- A Republic Sun Yat-sen “Upper Five-Pointed Stars/No Dot Below Ear” Memento Dollar ND (1927) MS65+ PCGS: $55,200
The 1889 Kwangtung Copper Pattern 50 Cents was among 44 lots from this collection that were sold in the auction – a list that also included, but was not limited to:
- A Republic Sun Yat-sen silver Pattern “Mausoleum” Dollar Year 16 (1927) SP55 PCGS: $81,000
- A Republic Yuan Shih-kai “Plumed Hat” Dollar ND (1914) MS64+ PCGS: $72,000
- A Republic Yuan Shih-kai silver Specimen Pattern 50 Cents Year 3 (1914) UNC Details (Damage) PCGS: $52,800
- A Yunnan. Republic T’ang Chi-yao gold 10 Dollars ND (1919) MS62 PCGS: $43,200
Complete results can be found at HA.com/3103.