Mint State 1856 Shanghai Tael

Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is pleased to present our April 1-4, 2012 auction in Hong Kong. Over 3,100 lots are offered in three separate catalogs as well as on our website at One important highlight is a Mint State 1856 Shanghai Tael, offered as lot 21637.

The complete catalog description follows:

Shanghai. Tael dated Year 6 (1856). L&M-589; K-900 (type A); Wenchao-pg. 274#383 (rarity two stars). Issued by Wang Yung Sheng and engraved by Wan Chaun. Obverse: “Cake (of) standard silver (from the) business firm (of) Wang Yung Sheng (in the) Shangai district (in the) 6th year (of Emperor) Hsien Feng (1856)”. Reverse: “Made (by) Wan Chuan, silversmith; Supervised (by) Chow Yuen Yu. Exact weight one Tsaoping Tael.” Hyperinflation caused by the Tai Ping Rebellion led to the hoarding of silver. At this time, foreign coins, namely Spanish eight Reales, circulated in Shanghai at a considerable premium. In 1856, the Shanghai authorities authorized silversmiths to issue coinage in an attempt to replace the Spanish 8 Reales. The firms Wong Yung Sheng, Ching Cheng Chee and Yu Shen Sheng were granted permission to issue coinage in the denominations of one Tael and 5 Mace. This was a short-lived coinage as the monthly output was only about 3,000 pieces and was not large enough to meet the demand. This combined with the large number of forgeries entering circulation doomed the project to a short period of only about six months. Extremely significant as the Shanghai series represents the first Tael coinage produced in China. Well struck and very attractive with good surfaces. One of the nicest examples of this early Tael coinage we have seen. Although quite rare as a type coin, it is exceeding rare in this state of preservation and seldom offered in Mint State. NGC MS61 Est. $40,000-$60,000

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