The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong Showcase Auction is ready
to view on our website here (scroll down past the ANA sessions to see the Hong Kong
Showcase Auction Sessions). Today’s preview coin can be described by a phrase that
is not used lightly: “Possibly Unique.” Featuring a finely reeded edge, a
gorgeous satin finish and the signature of Italian engraver Attilio Motti, this
extremely rare pattern is unquestionably one of the most
desirable coins in this auction.
In 1929, the Chinese Ministry of Finance ordered a new
design for the 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 each of the five mints produced pattern coinage
following a basic design. Ultimately Chinese authorities settled on the obverse
pattern designed by the Italian engraver Attilio Motti, with some subtle
alterations by John Sinnock, the chief engraver of the Philadelphia Mint. 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 Attilio Motti signed type – as is the case for all Chinese
patterns bearing his signature – is rarer and more desirable than the unsigned
type. The satin finish type to be offered in our upcoming auction may be unique.
This pattern coin displays basic design points as 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.” “A. MOTTI. INC.” appears just behind the bust.
The reverse design bears a junk boat with three sails facing left atop a
slightly choppy seascape. Hidden amongst the waves (near five o’clock) is a
lone character “R” to designate the Rome Mint. Two characters enumerating the
denomination appear at either side of the junk design.
This absolutely sensational example has somehow escaped
any contact with other coins or surfaces. The fields are essentially flawless.
The wide-open spaces are completely free of even the most minuscule abrasion, and
display expansive flowing satin luster. Superb bright white color is
complemented by devices that are nearly photographic in their completeness. Quality
and rarity combine on this impressive piece and it is surely destined to enter
a prestigious collection. Though our Stack’s Bowers August Hong Kong Showcase Auction is no longer
open for consignments, we are now accepting consignments of world and ancient
coins for our January 2017 New York International Auction as well as Chinese
and other Asian coins and currency for our April 2017 Hong Kong Showcase
Auction. 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