Choice Japanese Pattern Junk Dollar

Today’s preview for the Stack’s Bowers August Hong Kong Showcase Auction is an attractive pattern coin from China, specifically the Republic Era. The popularity of the Sun Yat-sen Junk Boat Dollars is well established, so it is unsurprising that the patterns for this series attract considerable attention. In 1929, the Chinese Ministry of Finance ordered a new design for the then proposed Dr. Sun Yat-sen Dollar. Patterns were submitted from five of the world’s leading mints: Rome, Italy; Osaka, Japan; the Royal Mint in London, England; Philadelphia, United States and Vienna, Austria. Subtle variations are present though for the pattern coins produced by each of the five mints, although they followed a basic design. Ultimately the Chinese authorities settled on the obverse pattern designed by Italian engraver Attilio Motti, with some subtle alterations. The reverse design received the most changes before completion. The patterns produced by the world mints depicted a junk boat with three sails, while the final circulation issues struck by the Chinese featured a junk boat with just two sails. The Osaka Mint in Japan produced the pattern coin previewed here. Eduard Kann provides some interesting background into the Osaka pattern in his meticulously detailed Catalog of Chinese Coins. He mentions that while researching the Sun Yat-sen patterns, he reached out to the Osaka Mint and inquired about the patterns designed there. Though the Osaka Mint asserted it had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, Kann remains resolute in associating this design with the Osaka Mint.

The pattern coin follows the basic design points requested by the Chinese Ministry of Finance. The obverse shows the head of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in profile facing left, with the Chinese inscription above stating: “18th Year of the Republic of China.” The reverse design bears a junk boat with three sails facing left atop a slightly choppy seascape. Two characters enumerating the denomination appear at either side of the junk design. This example features a lustrous portrait framed by attractive amber hued toning. It is tied for finest certified by NGC. PCGS grades this issue as a specimen and there is one at this numeric level with just one example finer at SP-65+. This is truly a world-class example that is sure to elicit spirited bidding.

Look for this and other Asian and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming August Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our sale this July at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. Our Stack’s Bowers Galleries August Hong Kong Showcase Auction is still open for consignments, but time is running short. 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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