China 1911 ‘Reversed Dragon’ Pattern Dollar

Our world coin division here at Stack’s Bowers Galleries just recently completed a successful New York International Numismatic Convention auction and show. With the first auction of the new year under our belt, we can look forward to our next world coin venue, the April Hong Kong Showcase Auction. The inaugural highlight coin for our April 2014 Hong Kong auction is a rare pattern Silver Dollar from the twilight of the Chinese Empire and the Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasty. 

The inaugural highlight coin for our April 2014 Hong Kong auction is a rare pattern Silver Dollar from the twilight of the Chinese Empire and the Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasty. The Central Mint in Tientsin – operated by the Board of Revenue in Peking – minted a multitude of coinage types in the later portion of the Empire, in an attempt to unify the currency system of China. Unfortunately, China’s administrative disorganization (as well as a lack of sufficient funds) inhibited the reforms from gaining traction. Certainly the revolution overthrowing the monarchy later that year also prohibited their widespread use.

The obverse design for this coin bears the distinctive Asian serpentine Dragon, with this coin known as the “Reverse Type” as it runs head to tail counterclockwise with its tail pointing to the right, while the standard pattern is just the opposite. The regal and imposing Dragon is suspended in midair amid wisps of clouds, and a fiery pearl appears near the bottom of the design. The long wavy whiskers issuing from the Dragon’s nostrils appear like a curly moustache. Two vertical Chinese characters appear which signify the denomination (1 Yuan) and in English along the periphery the English legend states: “ONE DOLLAR”. The toning is magnificent; the even light gray allows for much of the remaining luster to be viewed. Along the periphery the toning becomes slightly more intense, and a multicolored hue is visible. The reverse design contains an all Chinese legend. Between the outer crenulated border and the inner pearled ring the Manchu and Chinese characters form the outer legend. Four Manchu characters appear above, and four Chinese characters below which state: “Hsuen Tung, 3rd Year” (1911). These sets of characters are separated by ornate floral sprays. The leaves in these floral designs contain an incuse vein pattern, separating this coin from other varieties of the type. The central Chinese inscription states: “Ta Ch’ing Yin Pi” meaning: Great Ch’ing (Dynasty) Silver Coin. The reverse also displays exceptionally pleasing even gray toning with multi-color hints in the periphery. This coin is PCGS certified as Specimen-62, and is tied for finest certified, and offers an excellent start to our series of articles highlighting the April Hong Kong auction.

Look for this and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming April Hong Kong Showcase Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this March at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our 2014 August Hong Kong and August ANA sales. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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