The most expensive Chinese coin sold for $500 000

Chinese coin with the face value of $50. Gold. Beijing, 1927 З. Lot sold for $500 000. A.H. Baldwin & Sons. Hong Kong, August 28

The results of the A.H. Baldwin and Sons numismatic auction held on August, 28 in Hong Kong with the participation of Ma Tak Wo Numismatic Co Ltd, defined one of the most expensive coins in the world. It was the unique Chinese gold coin with the face value of $50 minted in 1927. The reverse of this coin minted probably in the single copy is decorated with a portrait of Chinese General Chang Tso Lin (1875-1928). His history is connected with the history of this unique lot.

In 1916 – 1928 Chang Tso Lin was the military leader and, practically, the absolute dictator of Manchuria. In 1926 under the support of Japan he became the commanders-in-chief of the huge army which united the armies of militarists of the Central and Northern China and struggled with the revolutionary army of the National Government. Some months later, the general captured Beijing and a year later he declared himself The Great Marshal, the sovereign dictator of The Heavenly Empire and its first military leader. Chang Tso Lin’s reign was rather short, and in 1928 he died during the act of terrorism organized by the Japanese secret service.

Within two years when Chang Tso Lin headed Beijing, the state Mint made some memorable collection coins: four silver dollars, two copper samples with the face value of $20 and two golden coins of $40 and $50. Any of them were in money turnover, these coins initially were of a high collection value. The last of them was unknown until recently.

The obverse of $50 coin represents the portrait of General Chang Tso Lin in the military uniform while the reverse is decorated with the images of Phoenix and Dragon. Both sides are bordered with the stylized pattern in the form of tongues of flame. We can say that this sample is of the highest face value among all the Chinese coins ever minted in gold.

The expert of the A.H. Baldwin and Sons auction house who made the catalogue of the sales mentioned that for 40 years of work with eastern numismatics he had never seen this sample and, moreover, did not hear about its existence at all. The coin is absent in the illustrated Catalogue of the Chinese Coins by E. Kann which mentions only two copper samples. Notably, The Catalogue is the most detailed and professional research in this sphere.

The $50 coin was sold for $500 000 on August, 28 to the unknown buyer. The price exceeded the face value in 10 000 times. In conclusion it is necessary to notice that for today the most expensive item of numismatics is famous “the double eagle”, the American golden coin with the face value of $20 which was sold for $7 590 020 in 2002 at Sotheby’s.

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Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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