Manchurian Provinces 50 Cents

The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong auction is just over a week away! This auction promises to offer an amazing assortment of rare Asian coins and currency from many countries and time periods. The impressive Qing Dynasty provincial coinage provides one of our final previews for this auction, and it is truly stunning. This coin hails from the far northeastern corner of China’s Qing Dynasty, Manchuria. The structure of the provinces in this region had just recently been coalesced into the unified “Manchurian Provinces” from the separate provinces of Fengtien, Kirin, and Heilungkiang. This unification of minting issues for this region helped to correct the myriad inconsistencies associated with the Kirin Mint issues especially. The Fengtien Mint at Mukden – the city which would become the capital of Manchuria – produced the coinage for the unified “Three Eastern Provinces” as it was known in Chinese.

The obverse features the iconic dragon emblem synonymous with China. The imposing beast is shown mid-flight in a fierce side-winding pose. From the bottom of the coin’s design the dragon’s long serpentine body starts with seven vicious tail-spikes, coils abruptly to the left, then wraps back to the right, and then gathers up towards the top of the design behind the head of the dragon. Four arms ending with claws jut out from the body, and the entire body is adorned with rounded overlapping scales. A row of spikes designates the dragon’s spine, and they culminate with a veritable crown of barbs and ridges atop the dragon’s head. Whiskers from the dragon’s face draw the eye towards a flaming pearl issuing from the dragon’s mouth, an iconic piece of Chinese coinage design. Elegantly swirled cloud designs encircle the dragon, and delicate vaporous tendrils cling to the dragon’s body, evoking an ethereal aura to this coin’s visual appeal. This central design remains beautifully lustrous, and the dragon is framed by the outer legends. The upper legend states: “33rd Year of Kuang Hsu” which means 1907. The lower legend simply states “Manchurian Provinces.”

The reverse provides an exclusively Chinese and Manchu legend. Within a beaded circle four Chinese symbols denote: “Valuable Coin (of the) Kuang Hsu (regime). Four Manchu characters appear within the larger Chinese characters and convey the same meaning as the central inscription. A large beaded border separates the inner legend from the outer inscriptions. The upper portion states in Chinese characters: “Made in the Three Eastern Provinces” denoting its location in the Manchurian Provinces. Two small dots separate the upper and lower legends, with the lower stating the denomination of “3 Mace and 6 Candareens”. This coin bears the distinction of being the finest graded by PCGS, at an astounding Mint State-65. The light peripheral toning accentuates the frosty surfaces. The sharp strike further enhances the visual appeal.

Look for this and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming August Hong Kong Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this August 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 To schedule an appointment, please call 800.566.2580. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio 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) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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