Classic Chinese silver coin leads auction

Year 33 tael from Chihli Province realizes $129,682 in Stack's Bowers and Ponterio sale
Published : 01/22/12
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A Year 33 (1907) silver tael from Chihli Province, struck at the Tientsin Mint as part of emperor Kuang Hsu’s unsuccessful efforts to introduce a standard tael coinage, led Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio’s New York International Numismatic Convention auction.

Graded Mint State 63 Secure Plus by Professional Coin Grading Service, the coin realized $129,682, including the 18 percent buyer’s fee.

The majority of some 7,000 examples were melted when the emperor died shortly after launching the project, and today the coin “is considered one of the classic rarities of Chinese numismatics,” according to the auction catalog.

A total of 2,087 lots of coins and 776 lots of paper money were offered in the auction, which was conducted during three different sessions Jan. 6, 7 and 9. A total of 2,363 lots from 2,863 offered, or 82.5 percent, were sold. The auction totaled $4,638,749, including the buyer’s fees.

All successful bids were subject to an 18 percent buyer’s fee, with a discount to 15 percent for certain payment methods. Prices here reflect the 18 percent fee.

All lots are posted at the auction firm’s website, Printed catalogs may be ordered from the firm for a fee. Contact Stack’s Bowers Galleries or Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio by telephone at 800-458-4646 at the West Coast office or at 800-566-2580 at the East Coast office. Write the firm at 1063 McGaw Ave., Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92614, or 123 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. Email it at or visit its website.

Some additional highlights:

Greece, Sicily, Agrigentum, circa 415 to 400 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 17.2 grams, “reportedly only about a dozen examples of this type are known, nearly all of which seem to be struck from the same obverse and reverse die pairing,” this example using a slightly different reverse than the majority, “lightly toned,” Very Fine, $26,550.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, circa 467 to 405 B.C. silver decadrachm, Euianetos type, 43.11 grams, “light smoothing on cheek,” Good VF, $21,240.

Greece, Syracuse, Fifth Democracy, 214 to 212 B.C. gold 60-litra coin (decadrachm), 4.3 grams, “only the second specimen known,” “virtually as struck,” Fleur de Coin, $118,000.

Austria, Salzburg, 1594 Counter Reformation gold 8-ducat coin, Wolf Dietrich Von Raitenau, Friedberg 674 (Gold Coins of the World by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg), Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Mint State 63, $70.800.

Brazil, Joao V, 1729/8-R gold 12,800-real coin, F-40, NGC About Uncirculated 58, $15,340.

Brazil, Pedro III and Maria I, 1781-B gold 3,200-real coin, F-78, NGC AU-55, $15,340.

Cuba, 1915 gold 20-peso coin, F-1, dies engraved and prepared by Charles E. Barber, struck at the Philadelphia Mint, mintage estimated at “less than a few dozen,” “a few trivial handling marks,” NGC Proof 63, $88,500.

Germany, Wurzburg, 1707 gold 10-ducat coin, Johann Philipp II, Von Greiffenklau, F-3679, NGC MS-61, $64,900.

Great Britain, Pre-Union of England and Scotland, Queen Anne, 1705 gold 5 guineas, F-14, KM-520.2, NGC AU-58, $56,050.

Greenland, 1803 1-rigsdaler paper money, Kongel, Gronlandske Handel, Pick A4 (Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, edited by George Cuhaj), serial number 2, “from Greenland’s first emission of paper currency,” “the earliest known note from this North American country,” Fine-VF, $29,500.

Greenland, 1911 50-ore note, Den Kongelige Gronlandske Handel, serial number 1, P-8a, AU-Uncirculated, $21,140.

Greenland, 1911 5-krone note, Den Kongelige Gronlandske Handel, P-10a, serial number 1, AU-Uncirculated, $5,310.

Islamic Kingdom, Umayyad, A.H. 107 (725 to 726) gold dinar, Damascus Mint, “key date to the series,” About EF, $20,060.

Peru, Philip V, (1)712-M gold 8-escudo coin, F-7, “matte surfaces from ‘sand washing,’ ” Nearly Mint State, $11,210.

South Africa, 1902 Veld gold pond, F-4, “mintage of only 986 pieces ... authorized by acting president Schalk Burger,” NGC AU-55, $20,060.

Uruguay, Montevideo, 1854-Mo 40-real coin pattern struck in gold, F-1, “reportedly only a few samples were ever struck,” NGC AU-58, $44,250.

Yap Island, undated (circa 19th century or earlier) Fei, Pre-O’Keefe type, 18 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches thick, 54 pounds, “complete, unbroken and attractive,” $19,470. ■

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