World Coins

1902 gold British Trade dollar leads Baldwin’s Hong Kong auction

A 1902 British Trade dollar struck in gold led all bidding during the Hong Kong auction No. 57 on Aug. 21, realizing $236,000 U.S., including an 18 percent buyer’s fee.

Images courtesy of A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd.

Millions of silver British Trade dollars were issued for circulation in Asia.

An 1902 off-metal strike in gold, graded Proof 64 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service, realized $236,000 in U.S. funds, including the 18 percent buyer’s fee, at a sale Aug. 21 in Hong Kong.

The auction was conducted by A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. and Ma Tak Wo Numismatic Co. Ltd.

Beginning in 1895, Britain issued a Trade dollar to facilitate the trade of goods with mainland China following the Opium Wars. The coin includes inscriptions in three languages, English, Malay and Chinese.

Though normally made of silver, a small number of presentation pieces (the firm estimates as few as six) were struck in gold.

The example in the auction was struck at the Bombay Mint and, according to Baldwin’s, is the finest known example. It was from the collection of Johanna Austin, who collected trade coinage. 

The sale of her coins benefits the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, England.

The auction realized $2,513,400 U.S., almost three times the pre-sale estimate. 

The catalog and results are available online at the firm’s website.

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