Main Session Highlight: High Grade 1898 Anhwei Dollar, Second Type

As the curtain lowers for our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong Auction, it is time to reflect on this incredible sale. The beautiful and impressive lot 51199 — an Anhwei 1898 7 Mace, 2 Candareen silver (Dollar) struck in 1898 — sold for an incredible $143,400! The mint in Anhwei began production in 1897 with the intent to replace circulating foreign silver coinage with Chinese-made coins. Unfortunately the plan failed, and the mint, located in the capital of Anking, closed after only three years of production. As to be expected from this short production period, mintages are relatively low, creating a scarcity of these pieces. Several distinct series of coins were produced during this period, and this piece represents the second series of coins issued. This type is distinguished by its date, 1898, the Chinese symbol for “4” is flat, and it also bears large rosettes.

The reverse toning is truly wondrous. Turquoise intermingles with lavenders and grays, evoking images of a storm cloud trembling with thunder and lightning. The underlying luster is visible throughout, again conjuring an image of electricity coursing through a tempest. This side of the coin bears an all Chinese script, as conforming to the standard pattern, with the upper inscription reading: “24th year of Kuang Hsu” meaning the coin was minted during the reign of Emperor Kuang Hsu in the year 1898. A large rosette consisting of seven dots separates the upper and lower inscriptions. The lower inscription describes the denomination of this coin: “Treasury Scales 7 Mace (and) 2 Candareens,” effectively describing the weight of the coin, in relation to the K’uping Tael. From this, the valuation is that of a silver dollar piece. The outer inscriptions are separated from the inner symbols by a pearled ring. The four large characters dominating the obverse read: “Valuable Coin (of the) Kuang Hsu (regime)”. The central inscription mirrors the larger, except it is in Manchu.

The toning for the obverse is even rose, very visually pleasing. The flying Imperial Dragon dominates the design for the obverse, shown coiled in an “S” like pattern. The dragon is displayed surrounded by clouds and issuing a fiery pearl from its mouth. The obverse English inscriptions note that the coin was produced in “AN-HWEI PROVINCE” at the top and the denomination of “7 MACE AND 2 CANDAREENS” at the bottom. A seven-point rosette at either side separates these upper and lower legends. This attractively toned piece is just one of the many Imperial Chinese issues that exceeded expectations this August in our Hong Kong Auction, and it is sure to become the new centerpiece in its new owner’s collection. Be sure to check back often, as we here at Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio are eagerly anticipating another stellar Asian numismatic showcase with our 2014 April Hong Kong Auction.

While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong sale is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and Asian coins and paper money for our November Baltimore, January New York International, and April 2014 Hong Kong sales. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) contact one of our consignment directors.

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