The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April 2014 Hong Kong Showcase Auction will offer a large number of highlights and over the next weeks we will feature here a selection of Chinese and other Asian numismatic rarities. This week we present a very rare gold commemorative from the Republic Era. This coin was struck in the tenth year of the Republic of China (1921) and commemorates the fifth president of the Republic of China, Hsu Shih Chang, who held the longest presidency during the chaotic warlord era. As Yuan Shih-Kai’s closest friend and Premier (akin to Secretary of State), Hsu Shih Chang was integral to the early Republican government. Hsu resigned as Premier in protest to Yuan Shih-Kai’s attempt to revive the monarchy and place himself as emperor. Once Yuan abandoned his Imperial ambition Hsu resumed his former post as Premier. Hsu was president from 1918 to 1922 and also holds the distinction of being one of the few civilians to become President during this era.
To commemorate the third year of his tenure as President, Hsu Shih Chang commissioned the Tientsin Mint to strike souvenir silver coins in his image. A limited number of these were struck in gold and presented to high officers of state. Two varieties exist, one with a lower inscription and rosettes and a variety without these items. The variety we showcase here is the rarer un-inscribed type. The obverse design features a prominent portrait of Hsu Shih Chang in civilian clothing, facing three quarters left. The reverse design features an elaborate pavilion scene which shows four attendants filing up the steps into the building. To the left of the pavilion four Chinese characters are inscribed that read: “Benevolent Birthdays always continue”. The upper legend (also in Chinese) displays: “Chinese Republic, tenth year, ninth month”. This coin bears a reeded edge, and is an excellent example of this very rare type. This coin is pedigreed to the Ultima Collection, and received a grade of Mint State-61 from NGC.
This stunning coin is just one of the many highlight coins that we will be showcasing here on our blog, so be sure to check back next week for more exciting Asian coin highlights! 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 www.StacksBowers.com. 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.