Century-Old Chinese Silver Dollar Could Fetch $500,000 at Auction

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An ultra-rare Chinese silver dollar minted in 1911 could net $500,000 at an auction in New York on Jan. 17.

The coin was designed by Italian engraver
Luigi Giorgi,
who served as head of the Central Mint at Tientsin (now Tianjin) from 1910-20. This front of the piece features a smooth surface with a long-whisker dragon, a symbol of the Chinese imperial power, and the one-dollar denomination, in both Chinese and English.

The reverse displays a light mottled tone engraved with four Chinese characters that read “Qing Dynasty Silver Dollar.”

“The artistic details of this coin alone make it a stand-out piece in any collection,” says
Brian Kendrella,
president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which is handling the auction. “Factor in the rarity as well and you have a collector’s piece that is seldom seen throughout the world.” 

This rare dollar is missing from the most significant collections of Chinese coins, private or institutional, including the
Irving Goodman,

Norman Jacobs,
and Chang Foundation collections. Its appearance on the auction block offers a great opportunity for collectors of Chinese and Asian coins, Kendrella says.

The Chinese silver dollar was once in the collection of
Eduard Kann
(1880–1962), an Austrian banker and a specialist in Chinese numismatics. In December 2010, Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold the coin on behalf of the Wa She Wong Collection for US$431,250. The auction house didn’t disclose who is the consigner this time.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ two-day auction will take place at the Grand Hyatt in New York from Jan. 17-18.

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