Welcome to the April 2014 Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio Hong Kong Showcase Auction

Welcome to our first Hong Kong Showcase Auction of 2014. Since our first sale in December 2010, we have had the honor of presenting some of the most important collections of Chinese and Asian coins to the current generation of collectors. This sale is no different. Anchored by the Arthur Cox and Craig Collections, this sale features many important rarities and wonderful type coins, from ancient times to the most recent issues from the China mint. As you read this article, we invite you to review the entire listing on our website, and if you want a copy of the catalog, be sure to contact auction services to place your name on our mailing list.

Our sale commences on the morning of Monday, March 31 at 9:30am Hong Kong time (note that this is the same as 6:30pm PST on the evening of Sunday, March 30 or 9:30pm EST), with world coins. Our session begins with the coins of Annam, and lot 30004 is a lovely, nicely toned MS-61 (NGC) Lang from 1841-1847; from the same period, lot 30008 is a superb 5 Tien graded AU-58 by NGC. Both are centerpieces for a collection of Annamese coins. A very diverse and attractively toned assortment of British Trade Dollars begins with lot 30046, and these include many nicely toned Mint State examples. The finest certified Japanese Trade Dollar of any date appears as lot 30109, a beautiful Year 9 (1876) example certified by NGC as MS-67. This will be a prized possession for the world type collector or Japanese specialist.

Fresh off our August 2013 Hong Kong sale of the Edgar Mandel Collection of Chatelaines, we are pleased to present the Craig Collection. Lot 30163 is a beautiful Double Happiness Openwork example with ribbons and charms, with 68 charms, 12 seed coins, and 34 coins and will be a lovely addition to any advanced collection. Another (lot 30168) Korean rarity is a Pattern 5 Mun of 1886 struck in copper and graded MS-63 BN (NGC). This well made pattern will sit front row in an important cabinet of Asian rarities.

A well pedigreed Thai Half Baht in gold (lot 30200) is the only example of the type certified by NGC, and is graded MS-64 by that firm. This exceptionally rare coin was prominently featured on the cover of Timeout Bangkok magazine in May 2000, and will be prominently displayed in the next cabinet that it graces.

Following the World Coins, are over 330 lots of popular modern Chinese issues from all series. Lot 30360 features a wonderful 12-ounce gold 1988 1,000 Yuan Year of the Dragon Lunar coin, graded Proof-68 Ultra Cameo by NGC, is one of only 518 pieces minted. Another 12-ounce Gold Lunar rarity is lot 30384, a lovely NGC-certified Proof-69 Ultra Cameo. Tied with only two others, it is among the finest graded from an original mintage of 99 pieces. Another issue with a mintage of only 99, the 1995 500 Yuan 5-ounce gold Unicorn, is represented by two different examples, one graded Proof-69 Deep Cameo (PCGS) and the other Proof-67 Deep Cameo (PCGS) (lots 30489 and 30490).

A selection of Ancients and Sycee will delight specialists. Lot 30605 a Jiangzi Fangbao 50 Tael Local Tax Ingot dated February 1902 is an “old friend,” having been sold in our (Ponterio & Associates’) January 2006 New York International Numismatic Convention Sale, lot 1770. Another Sycee 50 Tael Ingot two lots later is also an old friend, ex Ponterio & Associates’ November 2004 Sale, lot 1570.

Session B begins on Tuesday, April 1 at 9:30am Hong Kong Time (6:30pm PST on Monday, March 31), and it begins with Imperial General Issues, and lot 31012, a pattern Dollar with the CD (1907) graded MS-63 and in a Secure PCGS holder, will attract strong interest. Another early Dollar Pattern, a Year 3 (1911) Reversed Dragon variety, graded Specimen-62 and housed in a PCGS Secure Holder, is featured as lot 31028.

Commencing at lot 31043, we are pleased to present a strong selection of Republican issues, and a lovely MS-64+ (PCGS-Secure Holder) Li Yuan Hung dollar as lot 31051. A very attractively toned selection of “Fat Man” dollars will please specialists. A lovely Year 12 (1923) Dragon and Peacock “Pu Yi Wedding Dollar” in a PCGS Secure MS-66 holder will wow collectors as lot 31151. Lot 31219, a lovely Yuan Shih-kai Year 9 (1920) Dollar, struck in Gold is Ex Wa She Wong Collection, December 2010, lot 3, where it sold for $138,000. Housed in an NGC MS-64 holder, our experts feel that this is “very attractive…surprisingly free of marks. In our opinion conservatively graded.”  This lot is one of six very rare and important gold rarities that have been consigned to our sale.

A wide array of Provincial coins follows, starting at lot 31223. In this section, a Chihli (Pei Yang) Tael of 1907 graded PCGS AU-58 and housed in a Secure Holder, is a major highlight, cataloged as “one of the classic rarities of Chinese numismatics.” Among the most important coins in the sale is a pair from Kweichow, a 50 and 20 Cents from Year 38 (1949). Both were featured in the famous collections of Irving Goodman and Eduard Kann, and both are the L&M, Kann; Yeoman; WS; Top Chinese Coins; and Wenchao plate coins. With such an important provenance and impressive history, these rarities will certainly be the highlight of the next cabinet they grace.

Truly historic and important is our offering of the Arthur Cox Collection of the Ferracute Machine Company Archival Material. A complete introduction to this collection is in the front pages of the catalog, but in summation, the Ferracute Machine Company was a major industrial concern in Bridgetown, NJ and in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they were in the business of producing, among other things, coining machines, and counted the Philadelphia Mint as one of their customers. They were also contracted to set up several provincial mints in China. This small but important grouping shows off-metal patterns, tokens, and a photo history of the company in China. This is a once-in-a-lifetime offering.

Concluding the Showcase portion of the coin sale are Soviet issues, fantasies, medals and orders, and mixed lots, followed by a 700-lot Internet only session that closes on the evening of Tuesday, April 8 at 8pm PT. We are also presenting a 555 lot Paper Money auction, the session beginning at 9:30am HKT on Wednesday, April 2, in a separate catalog.

If Asian numismatics is of interest to you, do not miss this important event. If you have similar coins that you are interested in consigning, we are currently accepting consignments for our August Hong Kong Showcase sale. Be sure to contact your favorite consignment director before the end of May to include your rarities or collection in our sale.

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