Chinese Numismatics and the BTCC Physical Bitcoin Series

Over the past several years, we have seen tremendous strength in the category of Chinese and Asian numismatics. Our recent October 2023 Hong Kong sale exemplified this with over $21 million in total prices, including a Chinese Pattern 1912 Gold Dollar from the Eliasberg Collection that sold for 50% above the high estimate for a final price of $600,000.

Arriving on the heels of the October sale is our December 2023 Hong Kong Collectors Choice Online Auction which showcases a wide range of vintage and modern Chinese and Asian rarities. The vintage coins are headlined by an impressive 1898 Anhwei silver dollar with a high estimate of $100,000 and a 1916 “Flying Dragon” silver dollar that has already surpassed the high estimate with a current bid of $60,000.

Featured among the modern rarities—highlighted by a gold 1990 Dragon & Phoenix 200 Yuan—is a desirable pair of physical bitcoins from the BTCC series. The BTCC series is one of the darlings of the “modern era” of physical crypto beginning circa 2014. Prized for their bold designs, high production quality, and advanced security features, BTCC coins regularly match or exceed the strong premiums commanded by coins from the blue-chip Casascius and Lealana series.

The issuer BTCC was founded in June 2011 as BTC China and it was the first Bitcoin exchange in that country. Based in Shanghai, by October 2014, BTCC had become the world’s second largest Bitcoin exchange by volume; it was officially rebranded as BTCC in 2015. It remains the longest-running cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It was co-founded by famed bitcoin entrepreneur Bobby Lee, who is also well known for his U.S. based company Ballet that produces credit card-style cryptocurrency cold wallets.

The first BTCC coin in the December sale is a 2016 0.005 Bitcoin in the popular “poker chip” format. These were among the earliest coins produced by BTCC and they were issued in a wide range of denominations and colors. At the time of their release, BTCC’s chief operating officer Samson Mow said their intent was to “to match the highest-quality casino chips and to make fun, affordable collectibles for bitcoin enthusiasts.”  This “poker chip” series was a runaway success and remains heavily sought-after by today’s collectors, with an example in our June 2022 auction selling for $3,120.

Following this “poker chip” is an elevated rarity from the BTCC series struck in titanium. This 2018 0.1 BTC represents the pinnacle of production techniques and security features for the series, and it ranks among only a handful of coins struck in this exotic metal from any category. Produced in a broad 39mm format of “spacecraft-grade” titanium, it is visually impressive and quite elusive with a mintage of only 900 pieces. These characteristics are compounded by the fact that the 0.1 BTC is historically one of the most desirable denominations in this category, regardless of series. A similar 2018 BTCC 0.1 BTC sold for $4,560 in our April 2023 sale.

As the first coins from the BTCC series to be featured in a Hong Kong sale, I am very excited to see the response from this collector demographic. Best of luck to those of you who will be bidding in the auction—crypto or otherwise!

Shifting quickly to our Showcase Physical Crypto Auctions, our recent November event was a success with nearly $500,000 in total prices and unrivaled collector premiums. Since entering this category in 2021, we have now sold over 1,000 physical crypto items at auction with total prices exceeding $4.5 million and a 100% sell through rate for the Loaded category. We are now in production for our March 2024 sale with consignments still being accepted over the next several weeks. Digital Bitcoin currency has also been a stronger performer, largely holding above $37,000 over the past two weeks. It will be interesting to see if this strength persists into the New Year as the halving approaches and discussions around Bitcoin ETFs progress.

For more information about our Cryptocurrency auctions or to consign to an upcoming event, contact James McCartney at [email protected].

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