An Interesting 1936 Austrian Minted Chinese Proof Set to be Offered in May Hong Kong Sale

?In 1936 the storm clouds of war loomed over China, as it became increasingly clear that the Japanese Empire was set on expanding their territorial ambitions within China. The national government anticipated a small change shortage, something that often accompanies wartime. In 1936, the Republic of China had adopted a new design in nickel for the denominations of 5, 10, and 20 Cents struck in Shanghai. As war loomed, China decided to contract for the striking of more pieces with the Austrian Mint in Vienna. These Austrian pieces are differentiated from the domestic issues by the presence of a small "A" mintmark beneath the portrait. An order for some 120 million pieces was placed with the Austrian Mint, though they were only delivered after the outbreak of the Second-Sino Japanese War in 1937. The unexpectedly rapid advance of the Japanese Army certainly changed plans for these pieces, with only a moderate number placed into circulation, and the balance melted for the war effort.

The proof set offered in the May Hong Kong auction features all three denominations: a 5 Cents graded PCGS Proof-66; a 10 Cents piece graded PCGS Proof-65+; and a 20 Cents graded PCGS Proof-65. It is not entirely clear the nature of these proof strikes, they could be specimen pieces to be shipped to China, or for collector demand elsewhere in the world. Austria itself was in political flux in 1936. It would be fully absorbed into the Third Reich in under two years and the Austrian mint incorporated into the German mint system. How accessible the mint was to collectors looking to place orders is unknown, but these could have only been placed in a very narrow window of a few years before the outbreak of war in the European theater in 1939. Each of the three proof denominations is very rare, and a complete group of three offered as one lot is extremely rare.

This phenomenal set is estimated at $10,000-$20,000 and will be among over 200 lots offered at our Rarities Night of Chinese coins. The Rarities Night promises to offer some of the most popular and valuable issues in Chinese numismatics and will headline the more than 7,000 coins offered in our May Hong Kong sale. The entire auction will soon be available for viewing online at, where this proof set and many other wonderful numismatic items can be viewed.

We are always seeking world and ancient coins, medals, and paper money for our auctions, and are currently accepting consignments for the June Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auction and our August 2022 sale. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact a consignment director or email [email protected] today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.

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