Exceptional Mint State 1897 Chihli Dollar

Our next preview for the August 2018 Hong Kong Showcase Auction features a coin with historical significance as well as tremendous eye appeal. This rare Dollar – struck in the 23rd year of Kuang Hsu (1897) – represents just the second year of issue for the Pei Yang Arsenal. During the mint’s first few years of operations, coinage denominations were assigned using the decimal system. It was not until the 25th year of Kuang Hsu (1899) that the mint would designate the denomination based on the 7 Mace 2 Candareens system as used by most mints. The Dollar offered here represents the largest denomination produced by the mint at this time. The original Pei Yang Arsenal mint was destroyed in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion only to be later rebuilt, eventually becoming the Tientsin mint, which served as the main mint for all of China.

                The obverse design is dominated by a fearsome flying serpentine dragon, amidst wisps of clouds. This dragon motif is depicted with round eyes, and is known as the "cartoon style – long horn" type. English legends surround the dragon, with "Ta Tsing Twenty Third Year of Kwang Hsu" above and "Pei Yang Arsenal" below, separated by five-pointed stars. The reverse offers the Chinese and Manchu inscriptions, with the outer Chinese legend stating: "Made in the Pei Yang Machinery Mint in the 23rd Year of (Emperor) Kuang Hsu, (of the) Ta Ching dynasty." The inner Manchu legend offers the same translation. The central Chinese characters state: "One Yuan" (One Dollar). The example to be offered in our Hong Kong auction has razor sharp strike details on a lustrous planchet with incredible light gold and russet tone and brilliant luster. Certified by NGC at MS-64, this coin is tied with just three others in this grade as the finest certified by NGC, with only two certified finer by PCGS.

While we are no longer accepting consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2018 Hong Kong Auction, we are accepting consignments for the April 2019 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. In addition, we are taking consignments of world and ancient coins as well as world paper money for our October 2018 Collector’s Choice Online Auction and the January 2019 New York International 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) contact one of our consignment directors.

Join our mailing list

Don't miss an auction!

Subscribe to our newsletter.


Contact Us

West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

[email protected]

Hong Kong Office • +852 2117 1191

[email protected]

Global locations

Additional representatives
available worldwide.

* Walk-ins welcome

Follow Us

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

There was an error signing you up to our newsletter.
Please enter a valid email address

I'm Interested In...

You must agree to the Privacy Policy

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Stack's Bowers Galleries e-newsletter.