20th-century rarities highlight recent Heritage sales

A 1914 Republic Yuan Shih-kai silver “L. Giorgi” pattern Specimen dollar crossed the block for $77,675 USD (about $101,100 Cdn.) in Heritage Auction’s $2.9 million Signature Auction held June 22-23 in conjunction with the Hong Kong International Numismatic Fair (HKINF).

The Yuan Shih-kai silver “L. Giorgi” Pattern Specimen Dollar—graded Specimen-65 by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)—is among the finest ever to come to market, according to auctioneers.

“The pristine surface and its exemplary state of technical preservation classified the coin as a masterpiece of Chinese coinage,” reads a press release issued by Heritage earlier this week.

The auction saw bidders vying for a diverse selection of 20th-century rarities in one of the fastest-growing events in world numismatics. The event also included the HKINF World Currency Signature Auction, which was held June 21-23 and brought more than $1.1 million for a total of more than $4 million USD (about $5.2 million Cdn.).

“Our Hong Kong office thanks all of our bidders for participating in this exciting auction,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, executive vice-president of International Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “Each lot was pursued by multiple bidders, which tells us we presented an auction selection that met both collector’s needs and wants.”


A 1921 Republic “Pavilion” Year 10 gold dollar—a “near-gem example,” according to auctioneers—sold for $62,737 (about $81,600 Cdn.). The commemorative dollar features a gleaming bust of President Hsu Shih-chang.

Auctioned for $59,750 USD (about $77,750 Cdn.), the 1904 Kuang-hsü “Small Characters” Tael ND in PCGS Mint State-64 offered another near-gem specimen of a coveted issue. This example is tied for the finest-graded example Heritage has ever offered.

A 1910 uniface Hsüan-t’ung silver Proof pattern empire dollar ND in PCGS Proof-64 is likely the only coin of its type known to exist having never been listed as a uniface in all reference books, according to auctioneers. It sold to a Hong Kong bidder for $50,190 USD (about $65,300 Cdn.).

Currency results were highlighted by a 1953 People’s Republic of China 10-yuan note, Pick 870, which was graded Choice Uncirculated-64 by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG). This example is a “notable condition rarity,” according to auctioneers, who added only two other fully uncirculated notes have appeared at auctions in recent years. A bid of $47,800 USD (about $62,200 Cdn.) claimed this lot.

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