Prices realized include buyer’s premium. Estimates provided by the auction house. All dollar amounts in U.S. dollars.
An extremely rare Chinese pattern realized $780,000 during a Dec. 2 online auction by Stack’s Bowers.
The coin, a 1912 Chinese ‘Founding of the Republic’ silver pattern, certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. (NGC) as About Uncirculated-55, realized more than five times its estimate as Lot 42130. It’s the only known example certified by a major third-party grading service.
The coin was struck to commemorate the founding of the Chinese Republic, which abruptly ended centuries of imperial rule in 1912. The design shows Yuan Shih-kai, who led the Republic from shortly after its founding until his death in 1916. Other coins of the era show Yuan Shih-kai with facial hair, but not to the extent of this example, giving rise to its “Big Beard” nickname.
Very few examples are known to exist, and the chance to acquire one has been scarce, according to NGC.
This example is pedigreed to Tracey Woodward, a famous collector who travelled to China in the early 20th century.
Other highlights of the sale included:
- a China 1921 silver dollar graded NGC MS 65 that realized $264,000, topping its estimate of $30,000-$40,000 as Lot 42261;
- a China Copper 1914 dollar graded NGC MS 62 BN that realized $186,000, topping its estimate of $60,000-$80,000 as Lot 42131;
- a China 1912 silver dollar graded NGC MS 65 that realized $120,000, topping its estimate of $25,000-$50,000 as Lot 42098;
- a China 1914 silver dollar graded NGC MS 66 that realized $120,000, topping its estimate of $40,000-$60,000 as Lot 42205; and
- a China 1903 five-fen coin graded NGC SP 66 that realized $45,600, topping its estimate of $10,000-$20,000 as Lot 42042.