World Coins

Silver 1-tael pattern leads Baldwin Hong Kong sale

A silver 1-tael pattern from 1903, a remnant from a failed effort to unify China’s confusing currency system, realized $206,500 in A.H. Baldwin & Sons’ April 5 auction in Hong Kong.

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A silver 1-tael pattern issued as part of an abortive effort at a currency reform was the marquee lot of A.H. Baldwin & Sons’ April 5 Hong Kong auction, realizing $206,500 with the 18 percent buyer’s fee.

The Year 29 (1903) Hu Poo Kuang Hsu silver coin, identified as Kann 927 in Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Coins: Gold, Silver, Copper and Aluminum by Eduard Kann, was part of a series of patterns issued by the Board of Revenue in Peking (Beijing) in the void of a unifying national system at a time when provinces issued their own coins with varying weights. A uniform national silver coinage, based on a gold standard, was proposed but “there were too many Chinese interests to be placated,” never mind the “powerful foreign financial interests which were not prepared to see so vital a change as the reform of China’s currency,” according to Kann.

In Brilliant Uncirculated condition, the coin had an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.

A total of 927 lots sold from the 1,085 offered (nine lots were withdrawn), for a sell-through rate of 85.4 percent. The auction realized $2,082,216 with the 18 percent buyer’s fee.

The auction was held in conjunction with the Hong Kong International Coin Convention and Watch Fair. Baldwin’s was an official co-sponsor with Ma Tak Wo of the auction and convention.

Telephone Baldwin’s at (011) 44 20 7930 9808, email the firm at or visit

Some additional highlights:

Central Mint at Tientsin, Hsuan Tung, Year 3 (1911) silver 50-cent pattern, Kann 228, Choice About Uncirculated, $35,400.

China, Central Mint at Tientsin, Hsuan Tung, Year 3 (1911) silver dollar pattern, dragon tail to right, Kann 225, “light golden toning,” Uncirculated,” $129,800.

China, Hupeh Province, Year 30 (1904) silver tael, large central characters, Lin-Ma 181 (Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Gold & Silver Coins by Lin Gwo Ming, edited by Ma Tak Wo), “light greyish toning,” Uncirculated, $165,200.

China, Hupeh Province, Year 30 (1904) silver tael, large central characters, LM-181, Very Fine, $44,840.

China, Yunnan Province, 1910 silver pattern dollar, Kann 177, LM-428, “edge knock near 12 o’clock and shallow dents on and below fireball on the obverse, otherwise Extremely Fine and extremely rare,” $70,800.

Alderney, 2012 Year of the Dragon .999 fine kilogram gold £1,000 coin, No. 8 from mintage of 10 pieces, in original polished wooden lockable display case of issue, Brilliant Mint State, $106,200.

Great Britain, 1935-B Trade silver dollar, Professional Coin Grading Service MS-64+, $29,500. ¦

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