World Coins

British Trade dollar in gold stars in Aug. 27 Hong Kong auction

A British 1895 Trade dollar in gold (an off-metal strike) realized $271,400 U.S., during an Aug. 27 auction in Hong Kong.

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

Trade with Chinese merchants soared after the Opium Wars broke barriers to commerce.

A preference for silver specie led several nations to issue dollar-sized silver coins exclusively for trade in the derogatorily termed “Orient.” 

Britain was uncharacteristically late with its Trade silver dollars, which debuted in 1895. These .900 fine silver pieces were struck in Bombay and Calcutta in India (later, some were struck in London) and intended for use between China and the British colonies of Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements.

Rare gold “off metal” examples exist, and one such 1895 piece (once owned by Egypt’s King Farouk) realized $271,400 U.S., including an 18 percent buyer’s fee, in an Aug. 27 auction in Hong Kong, conducted by A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. in conjunction with Ma Tak Wo. 

The coin was graded Proof 64 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

The obverse shows a standing figure of Britannia with the date and denomination. The reverse has the Chinese symbol for longevity, with the denomination in Chinese and Malay.

To see the full auction results, visit the firm’s website.

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