I found this coin in an old purse and I am wondering what country
it is from. It is about the same size and weight as a U.S. silver
dollar. I believe that it, too, is silver. What year was it minted and
how would a person find its approximate value?
If genuine (and this is a typical concern, with the many Chinese
counterfeit coins entering the U.S. market), it appears to be a
Republic of China dollar coin, or yuan.
Composed of .8900 silver with an actual silver weight of 0.7554
ounce, that coin weighs a little less, and contains a little less
silver, than a U.S. Morgan or Peace silver dollar. It does not bear a
Western-style date, but according to the Standard Catalog of World
Coins, 1901-2000, all yuan of this type were struck in 1914.
The six Chinese characters above the portrait on the obverse
denote it is from that year. Yuan coins of this type but featuring
seven Chinese characters were struck from 1918 to 1921.
Collectors who encounter a coin of this type should check its
edge. The Standard Catalog lists five different varieties of edge decoration:
➤ vertical reeding
➤ alternating T’s
➤ tiny circle in ribbon bow
The values vary depending upon the edge variety, with the circle
and alternating T edge varieties commanding a premium over the others.
As with U.S. coins, condition is an important factor in determining
the value of a coin.
The reader’s coin has seen some significant circulation wear, and
it has discoloration and a decent-sized gouge in the obverse field,
impairing its worth and likely keeping it in Very Good condition, and
likely no better than Fine.
In VG condition, the Standard Catalog gives values ranging from
$13.50 to $18 across all edge varieties. In Fine condition, the price
ranges begin to separate, with values of $15 to $60.
These prices, however, were published before the recent jump in
the spot price of silver.
The coin’s silver content, about three-quarters of an ounce, has
now caused its value to exceed all of the Very Good prices, and some
of the Fine prices, listed in the Standard Catalog. At a silver spot
price of $35, this coin’s silver content should be worth about $26.
What the reader could get for the coin in the market is difficult
to predict. A traditional coin shop in the United States will likely
only consider its silver content when making an offer. Selling the
coin on eBay could possibly bring a better price.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800)
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