The opening session of the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April 2014 Hong Kong Showcase Auction is just days away! As our final preview for this auction we have chosen a not-often seen coin from the short-lived yet interesting coinage of the Chinese Soviet state. China’s communist forces had their beginning in 1927 with the establishment of the first soviet, the Hailufeng Soviet. As the communist army grew in power and influence it began to establish banks. These banks were mobile and traveled with the armies as they warred with the Kuomintang (nationalist forces) under Chiang Kai-shek. In total six Soviets were established from 1927 to 1933, one of them being the Hupeh-Honan-Anhwei Soviet. In 1932 the coin we feature here was minted for the State Bank of the Chinese Soviet Republic, for use in the areas around the Central Revolutionary Base. To our knowledge, this type was first described by Duncan Raeburn in the Bulletin of The Numismatic Society of China in 1937, and is notable as one of the first Soviet Chinese issues.
The obverse design displays a few truly exceptional trademarks; the first is bilingual legends and inscriptions. The lower inscription is a highly debased Cyrillic which is intended to read: “Soviet Chinese Republic”. Two five-point stars separate the lower inscription and the upper Chinese inscription. The upper legend is highly interesting as well, as it is intended to provide the date, but it is arranged in the Western style, and deviates from the standard Chinese method of dating coins. The legend states: “Made in 1932”. A solitary border separates the outer legends from the central inscription, which are two Chinese characters that state the denomination of “One Yuan” (or dollar). The reverse design is also attention-grabbing; the outer Chinese inscription loosely translates to: “Rise and unite the proletariat of the entire world!” This inscription appears around an image of a globe with the classic Communist hammer and sickle superimposed atop it. This coin represents the only example graded by NGC, and they have deemed it Fine-15; the amount of wear is minimal, but it is a crudely manufactured type. It displays some toning on its original surfaces. This piece is of the utmost rarity and importance as it is one of the earliest Soviet Chinese issues. It is considered one of the key pieces in assembling a collection of Soviet dollars, and as the first one we have handled it stands to reason that this type may not reach a major auction any time soon.
Look for this and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming April Hong Kong Showcase Auction and Sale. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at www.StacksBowers.com. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is closed for further consignments, we are currently accepting consignments of world and ancient coins as well as world paper money 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.