World Coins

Scarce Chinese silver dollar has misspelled legend

When anti-Manchu forces toppled the government of Hupeh Province in China in 1911, Li Yuan Hung (who commanded the forces) quickly found himself named vice president.

Hung was “drawn into the struggle, probably without intent,” according to Eduard Kann in Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Coins (Gold, Silver, Nickel & Aluminum). 

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With the death of Yuan Shih-Kai, Hung became president, and was soon featured on silver coins. A rare variety of a silver dollar, with a spelling error, is offered for sale Aug. 15 during Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio’s auction in Hong Kong.

The coins of Hung were minted in Wuchange in 1912. The coin type shows Hung in his military uniform on the obverse, with peach blossoms also shown. A legend translating to “Coin commemorative of the change of regime” is found there. 

The reverse carries a wreath of rice ears and bean stalks, with Chinese symbols for the denomination, and in English the REPUBLIC OF CHINA and ONE DOLLAR. 


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There was one slight problem: the legend on the initial group of these coins features the letters OE instead of OF, and new corrected versions were quickly made, rendering the error version (cataloged as Kann 638) rarer than the corrected type.

The coin offered by Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is graded Mint State 62 Secure by Professional Coin Grading Service. 

This is “a highly sought after variety [having a] good strike with flashy luster,” the firm said.

It has an estimate of $22,000 to $26,000.

To learn more about the auction, visit the firm’s website.


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