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All Posts Tagged With: "Hong Kong"

Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Other Asian Coins Tops $10.7 Million at Hong Kong Auction

Exclusive NGC-graded sale marks most important array of Chinese coinage offered at auction in 20 years

Over 300 anxious bidders filled the live auction floor for the highly anticipated sale of the Wa She Wong Collection and other Asian Coins on Dec. 3-4. The Hong Kong auction, presented by Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, featured 1,107 lots with total sales reaching $10.7 million.

“A collection of Chinese coinage of this magnitude has not come to market in over 20 years and it surely did not disappoint,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “We saw such spirited bidding, the sale of the first 487 lots took an astounding 11 hours with many of the lots selling for multiple times their estimated value.”

Drawing worldwide attention, the collection is a compilation of Wa She Wong’s lifelong passion for collecting which contained multiple rarities missing from major exhibits including many scarce pattern coins that were never released into general circulation. Headlining the collection, the 1890 Kwantung Mint Specimen Set, lot 220, began with an estimated value of $300,000 and realized a staggering $718,750. The set represents a landmark in Chinese minting as the first silver coinage produced with modern machinery.

Another important coin was the extremely rare “Flying Dragon” Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, lot 311. Opening at $12,500, lively bidding quickly brought the coin to a final selling price of $460,000. “The buyer had been searching for this rarity, one of only two known in private hands, for more than 30 years. The two other examples known to exist are housed in public museum collections,” said Ponterio.

All major rarities in the collection were certified by the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC), a market leader in grading Chinese coins, and pedigreed as “Wa She Wong Collection” on individual holders. Additional highlights of the Wa She Wong Collection include:

  • Lot 3, 1920 “Yuan Shi Kai” Dollar Struck in Gold, MS-64 (NGC), realized $138,000
  • Lot 27, 1911 “Long-Whisker” Dragon Pattern Dollar Struck in Silver, MS-65 (NGC), realized $431,250 (Ex: Kann Collection)
  • Lot 130, 1844 Changchow Military Rotation Dollar, AU-50 (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 139, 1909 Honan Pattern 20 Cash Struck in Copper, AU-55 BN (NGC), realized $126,500
  • Lot 147, 1930 Hunan Pattern 500 Cash Struck in Copper, MS-63 BN (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 162, 1897 Kiangnan Dollar, Plain Edge, Proof-66 Cameo (NGC), realized $373,750 (more…)

Champion Hong Kong Auction to Feature Tibet’s First Gold Coin

Tibet’s first gold coin has a very unique trait: it weighs 6.53g. While this legendary gold coin shares the same weight as the Chinese Kuping 1 Mace, it is not a common weight for Tibet. An absolute rarity, only six silver examples from the same dies have been found and, as of today, there are no known Tibetan gold coins struck to the same standard. For this reason, many believe it was struck for presentation purposes.

On August 23 this extremely rare gold coin, rated AU with an estimated price range US $30,000 – 60,000, will be one the Champion Auction 11 headliners at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Ballroom I, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

It is well known that during the 17-18 centuries, no coins were struck in Tibet, but Nepalese coins circulated widely in the urban areas. On several occasions, the Tibetan authorities, rather than strike silver coins of their own, sent bullion to Nepal and received Nepalese coins in exchange. The exchange was made on a weight for weight basis, but as the Nepalese coins were only between 50% and 67% fine, the Nepalese were able to make significant profit.

In about 1750AD, the situation changed when Prithvi Narayan, the king of Gorkha, started to besiege the Kathmandu Valley. He closed the pages, and stopped any trading between the Newar kingdoms of the Valley and the outside world, including Tibet. As a result, the supply of coins in Tibet stagnated, but the demand did not stop increasing. Seeking to stem a potential economic crisis, the Tibetan authorities, for the first time, started striking their own coins.

Chinese reports from the time claim that the Demo Regent issued the first Tibetan struck coins in 1763 or 1764, and again in 1785 AD when the Dailai Lama issued coins, before a more regular coinage began in 1791 AD. It had been widely held that all Tibetan coins from this period were silver, in varying degrees of fineness. However, we now have tangible proof of a rare gold coin struck from uncommon dies.

The diameter of the gold coin is measured at 28mm with the previously noted weight of 6.53g, A. Lissanevitsch Collection. The obverse legend, “Sri Mangalam”, means auspicious, lucky or fortunate in Sanskrit and may have a similar significance to the Eight Lucky Signs (Asta Mangalam in Sanskrit) which appear on so many later Tibetan coin. The legends were designed four compartments arranged in a cross. The reverse legend, “dGa-ldan phyod-las rnam-par rgyal-ba” is Sanskrit for completely victorious in all directions, designed with eight petals around a wheel. The dGa-ldan palace, located in the Drepung monastery near Lhasa, was the traditional residence of the Dalai Lama. The mention of “dGa-ldan” leads many to believe that this coin was struck by the 8th Dalai Lama around 1785. (more…)

Baldwins 48th Hong Kong Coin Auction Results

The 48th Hong Kong Coin Auction is taking place a little earlier than usual this year, in-line with the Hong Kong International Coin Convention and Antique Watch Fair. As usual the sale will be held at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Kowloon, Hong Kong, at 10.00am on the 25 th February, and will feature two sessions (868 lots in total) of predominantly Asian coins and banknotes.

The auction opens with lot 1, a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) 1-Kuan banknote. The Baldwin’s – Ma Tak Wo auction group sold a similar piece in their last sale for a record breaking US$19,000 and, although this note isn’t in as good condition, they are hopeful that this piece will attract as much attention.

The banknote section continues to show promise with lot 39 a 1908 Hio Lung Kiang Government Bank, Branch Office $5 note in extremely fine condition and leads into an extensive selection of Indian banknotes, the most unique and desirable being lot 227 the 1000 Rupees, first issue note of Hyderabad.

Following the success of the Chinese medals and orders section of the last sale the Hong Kong sale this year offers a smaller but equally as interesting selection. The highlight of the orders is lot 560 – The Order of the Stripped Tiger, First Class Set.

Founded in 1912 by President Yuan Shih-Kai as an award of merit to Chinese Navel and Military Forces, the award cam in nine classes and is no longer awarded. The class is indicated by the number of stars appearing above the tiger’s head and also by the size of the badge itself. Three stars denotes a first class award, two a second class award and one for third class. Lot 560 holds three stars and is in extremely fine condition and estimated at US$12,000 – 15,000. (more…)