Mr. Irving Goodman has been described as an intense and extensive numismatic collector by Superior Stamp & Coin, the auctioneers of his collections. His long collecting career began in 1959 on a business trip to Hong Kong. Through dedication and extensive research Mr. Goodman acquired a large collection of Asian numismatic rarities, including the two Hong Kong mint errors featured here. These pieces were part of the Superior May 1995 auction of the Irving Goodman Collection and are now crossing the auction block again (separately of course).
The island of Hong Kong, located at the mouth of the Canton or Pearl River, has long been an area of huge maritime significance. Ceded to Great Britain at the end of the first Opium War in 1842, Hong Kong was leased for 99 years to Great Britain in 1898. These leases expired in 1997 when on July 1st control was reverted to the People’s Republic of China as a Special Administrative Region. During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) Dollar coins were struck from 1866 to 1868, with a total mintage of 2,109,000 pieces over the three years. These dollar coins were only minted at the Hong Kong Mint — which was only operational for those three years — and then the production of Hong Kong’s coinage was moved to England. However, the British Royal Mint did not produce any of the aforementioned Dollars. The mintage for these dollars may seem large until you consider the fact that dollar increments were not struck again until 1960 under the reign of Elizabeth II. These large dollar coins (38 mm in diameter) were commonly called “da bing” meaning big biscuit. In Hong Kong one of these dollar pieces could buy you 25 pounds of rice, over seven pounds of beef, or more than six pounds of pork.
The standard obverse for the 1866-68 Hong Kong Dollar depicts a youthful coroneted bust of Queen Victoria left, within a Chinese scroll pattern design which divides the legend. The upper and lower legend states the regnal name: “VICTORIA” and “QUEEN” respectively. Starting from the center and moving out, the standard reverse depicts a Chinese labyrinth designed by Owen Jones and contains one of the many forms of the character SHOU which stands for longevity. Four characters are encircling this design which state: “HSIANG CHIANG 1 YUAN” or Hong Kong, One Dollar. The English legend around this design contains: “ONE DOLLAR HONG KONG 186(6-8). The Chinese scroll pattern completes the reverse.
The first coin of this featured duo is the Double Struck Hong Kong Dollar. This piece is in incredible condition considering the nature of the mint error. The second strike occurs approximately 30% off center in the southwest portion of the obverse (northwest for the reverse). The details on the coin appear crisp, with very attractive surfaces. The full portraiture of Queen Victoria from the second strike is visible and lovely. The periphery of the obverse contains some very attractive toning, with a gradual fade toward the center. Much of the gorgeous mint luster remains further enhancing the aesthetics of the piece. As mentioned earlier this piece’s pedigree is to the Superior May 1995 Auction, lot #818 from the “Irving Goodman Collection.”
The second example from this pair is an incredible Full Obverse Brockage Mint Error. A brockage occurs when a mirror image of a coin is struck on both sides of the planchet. This usually occurs when a coin sticks to either die after it is struck. The second coin receives the image from the die but its other side (which is blank) also receives the image of the struck coin, which creates an incuse mirror image. In an obverse brockage, the first coin sticks to the reverse die with its portrait side up, so when a new blank planchet is run through, the portrait of the coin stuck on the die creates a mirror image of the portrait on the reverse of the new coin (which receives the normal obverse portrait as well). This particular piece also contains a partial collar strike. The obverse appears as described above, with nice details present. This coin displays a nice even grey cabinet toning – an evenly spread and pleasing satiny look. The reverse really sets this piece apart, with a fascinating mirror image of the obverse. The spectacular image of the Full Obverse Brockage allows for a new perspective on the oft-seen portraiture of Queen Victoria. This viewpoint is sure to entice collectors of Hong Kong numismatics. In addition, the pedigree to the Irving Goodman Collection lot #825 makes this, along with the other Hong Kong Dollar Mint Error, a highlight in the small yet stellar collection of Hong Kong Mint Errors showcased in the upcoming Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April 2013 Hong Kong Auction.
Look for this and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming April Hong Kong Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction March 11th – 20th at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine California. For details please refer to the Auction Schedule/Details link under Current Auctions at www.StacksBowers.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.566.2580.