Choice Yuan Shih-kai Flying Dragon Gold Dollar

With the dust settling from our inaugural auction of 2015, the New York International Numismatic Convention, we begin looking ahead to exciting auctions slated for 2015. Our next world coin auction event is our Hong Kong Showcase Auction held March 30 through April 1, and there is still time to consign to this auction event. 

Our first preview features a vintage Chinese coin, combining high desirability with a stellar grade. This elegant coin features a front-view portrait of Yuan Shih-kai in full military regalia. His jacket proudly displays medals and decorations for his years of military service; a sash is visible running across his chest from his right shoulder, and epaulets add significant prestige to his bust. Also eye-catching is Yuan’s high-feathered military hat, which symbolized his status at the pinnacle of the Chinese Republican military and government. The reverse contains the necessary coin information since the obverse features only the portrait. The reverse design is truly spectacular, and evokes the prestige and grandiose notions of the empire that Yuan Shih-kai wished to resurrect. An immense Eastern style dragon (curiously sporting Western style wings) dominates the reverse. This impressive mythical beast holds a bundle of arrows in one claw and a scepter in another claw. Above, four Chinese characters state: “Empire of China,” while below the dragon, another four characters state: “Beginning of (the) Hung Hsien (period).

 Like most historical figures Yuan Shih-Kai’s legacy is complex. He was an important general and politician, best known for his military reforms and his role in the transition from monarchy to a republic in China at the turn of the century. Yuan’s greatest achievement turned out to be a double-edged sword, as his military reforms fostered a loyalty that resulted in rival warlords who competed with each other after his death. This fracturing of the army, coupled with his bid to restore the monarchy (with himself as emperor) eroded the ideals of the Republican movement he had helped establish. Despite this negative association from later historians, his coinage proved immensely popular during its time, and was minted for nearly ten years after his death.

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