A whole ‘lot’ of Auto dollars for sale: Monday Morning Brief, January 11, 2016

The 1928 Auto silver dollar from China is one of the most iconic 20th century world coin types. Coin World senior editor of world coins Jeff Starck looks at results for nine examples recently sold in Hong Kong and explores the varied price points and conditions available on the market today. 

Full video transcript:

Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief. I’m Jeff Starck of Coin World.

Few world coins are as iconic as the 1928 silver Auto dollar from China. Two firms offered nine examples of this coin in varying grades and condition during four days of auctions in Hong Kong late in 2015. The sale served as a veritable pre-owned lot, with Auto dollars at several price levels.

The Auto dollar was issued for Kweichow province, and is probably the most famous numismatic commemoration of a public works project. It celebrates an era when road construction wasn’t just another hassle of day-to-day life, but rather something to celebrate. The coin was issued by the provincial governor to celebrate the first paved road in the province. The car on the obverse of the coin is reportedly the governor’s own automobile.

The record price for an Auto dollar was set at the height of the market for Chinese coins, in 2011, when Heritage Auctions sold an About Uncirculated 58 coin graded by Professional Coin Grading Service for nearly $75,000. Prices for the recent spate of sales reflect a changed market, however.

The strongest performer in the Hong Kong sales was sold by Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio. This piece was graded by PCGS as Genuine, though cleaned. With About Uncirculated Details, it was placed in a PCGS Secure holder and realized $13,145, including the buyer’s fee. This more than doubles the low estimate of $6,000. The highest graded, uncompromised example sold in Hong Kong those four days realized a mid-tier price. This time the Auto dollar was graded About Uncirculated 50 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. It sold in Heritage Auctions’ sale for about $7,500.

At the bottom end were a pair of cleaned coins with imperfections, that each sold for about $3,900 dollars. These two coins offered affordable options to the collector that has long desired the popular design type but lacked the budget for the pricier pieces.

Whatever gets your motor running, hobbywise,
Coin World covers it all. Just follow us on Twitter, at Facebook, online at CoinWorld.com and, of course, in print in your mailbox. For Coin World, I’m Jeff Starck. Happy collecting!

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