Chinese silver ‘cake’ coin highlights Baldwin’s April 2 auction in Hong Kong

Crude rarity estimated to sell for $35,000 to $45,000
By , Coin World
Published : 03/30/15
Text Size

The most famous Chinese coin from Kweichow Province is the 1928 Auto dollar, but an issue 40 years earlier is even rarer.

An example of the 1888 Chien Pao silver “cake” coins highlights A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd.’s Hong Kong auction April 2.

The coin was made during a period when Kweichow lacked a mint. The province instead operated a government furnace where sycee, silver or gold ingots, were refined and molded.

In 1888 and 1890, during the reign of Kuang Hsu, the province issued a small number of coins called “cakes,” apparently for their shape. These coins feature designs similar to then current Japanese silver dollars, according to Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Gold & Silver Coins, by Lin Gwo Ming and edited by Ma Tak Wo. According to the Lin and Ma book, the refinery produced the “cake” coins.

The example in the auction is shown in the Lin and Ma book. The silver cakes reportedly circulated in areas inhabited by the Miao tribe, according to the Lin and Ma book. 

These coins are not cataloged by Eduard Kann is his famous 1954 opus, Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Coins, Gold, Silver, Nickel & Aluminum.

The example in the Hong Kong auction displays several rim nicks, several small planchet defects on the obverse, scratches at the center and a filed rim on the reverse.

Catalogers identify it as “otherwise crude Very Fine, exceedingly rare, eluding even Kann.”

The coin has an estimate of $45,000 to $55,000 in U.S. funds. 

The auction offers 1,101 lots. To learn more, visit the auction house website

Keep reading about world coins:

Finland’s new provincial Animals coin gets right to the point

Gold presentation piece from Thailand leads Stack’s Bowers auction

More from

San Francisco moving on from group's plan to renovate Old Mint

Book value of United States Treasury-owned gold tops $11 billion

Bowers: Kennedy half dollar came along amid circulating coin shortage in U.S.

Pogue Collection total prices realized could exceed $200 million by 2017

Market Analysis: Recent price declines make popular classic commemorative series affordable

Keep up with all of's news and insights by  signing up for our free eNewsletters liking us on Facebook , and  following us on Twitter . We're also on  Instagram !

You are signed in as:null

Please sign in or join to share your thoughts on this story

No comments yet