World Coins

Rare Chinese cash coin astonishes in Steve Album auction

A rare Chinese 20-cash coin from 1853 to 1855, of Qing Dynasty ruler Xian Feng, realized $49,200 in a recent auction.

Images courtesy of Stephen Album Rare Coins.

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

The market for historic Chinese coins is gaining strength, if the result for a rare Chinese coin in a recent Stephen Album Rare Coins auction are any indication.

Joe Lang, CEO of the firm, told Coin World that the coin — a circa 1853 to 1855 bronze 20-cash coin that has an inscription translated as “calculated weight one ounce” — drew interest from at least 12 bidders, some of whom traveled from China to bid on the coin.

The coin, issued under Ch’ing (Qing) dynasty ruler Xian Feng, was struck at the Fuzhou Mint in Fujian Province. It was the star of the Nicholas Rhodes Collections of Chinese cash and Islamic coins. The single coin realized $49,200, including a 20 percent buyer’s fee, against an estimate of $550 to $650. 

Lang said that, in his 30+ years in the hobby, he had never previously handled an example of this rare coin.

The coin “has a really good provenance and is very rare and very high in quality, which is a perfect storm these days for Chinese buyers. The Chinese market is going crazy now with anything super rare and high quality,” Lang said. “I’m still very surprised it went as high as it did — even knowing all that I know about the market.” 

The auction (the firm’s 20th) was conducted Sept. 18 to 20 in Santa Rosa, Calif., and realized $1,369,943 on an estimate of $949,000. To learn more about the sale, telephone the firm at 707-539-2120 or visit its website.

More from

California man finds gold nugget weighing more than 70 ounces in Butte County

Early buyers of 2015 U.S. Marshals Service coins prohibited from quickly profiting

2015 Panda bullion, collector coins lack inscriptions for weight, metal, fineness

U.S. Mint announces product limits for Kennedy silver, copper-nickel clad sets

Longtime dealer observes huge differences in numismatic hobby in more than 50 years

Community Comments