World Coins

Rare early silver coins of China star in Hong Kong auction

A rare Chinese coin from Kirin Province, a silver 7-mace piece dated 1884, realized $236,000 including the 18 percent buyer’s fee, in an April 3 auction.

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

A rare Chinese coin from the late 19th century led all bidding during an April 3 auction in Hong Kong jointly conducted by A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd., in London, and Ma Tak Wo of Hong Kong.

An 1884 silver 7-mace coin, issued for Kirin Province, realized $236,000 U.S., including 18 percent buyer’s fee. The piece was struck in the 10th year of the reign of ruler Kuang Hsu and is part of a suite of silver 1-, 3-, 5-, and 7-mace coins and a 1-tael piece, all prepared to help alleviate a shortage in Kirin Province.

The coins were struck in 1885 at the military arsenal and distributed as part of soldiers’ pay, but the coins were not accepted by the populace.

Some 5,000 taels’ worth (10 mace equals one tael) were issued, before most were withdrawn and melted.

The 7-mace coin in the auction was certified by Professional Coin Grading Service as Genuine, Cleaning, About Uncirculated Details, and had an estimate of $20,000 to $25,000. 

A 1-mace coin, graded AU-55 by PCGS, realized $224,200 (more than 11 times its high estimate of $20,000), and a 3-mace coin, graded by PCGS as “Genuine, Repaired, AU Details,” realized $100,300 U.S., against an estimate of $3,000 to $4,000. 

The coins were from the Åke Lindén Collection of Chinese Coins, the second part of which will be offered in an Aug. 21 auction, also by the two firms.

To learn more about either of the auctions, telephone Baldwin’s at (011) 44 20 7930 9808, email it or visit its website.


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