Led by strong bidding across the board, especially for Chinese coins and currency, Heritage Auctions’ World Coins & Ancient Coins Auction and its World Currency Auction in Hong Kong combined to bring $4.38 million.
With a combined sell-through rate of 94 percent by value, the events added up to the company’s third-largest event ever held in Hong Kong. When combined, the two events yielded the second-highest average lot value of any Heritage event in Hong Kong: $2,946.
"We continue to see solid growth in Asia going into our fourth year of holding auctions in Hong Kong," Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Cris Bierrenbach said. "We expect to surpass the $10 million mark for the year in 2018, and are excited about adding additional categories, including Luxury Accessories, Jewelry and Timepieces, to our December event."
A Chekiang. Kuang-hsü Dragon Dollar ND (1898-99) MS66 NGC, KM-Y55, L&M-282, Kann-119 led the auction at $439,000.92. Among the rarest of all "Dragon Dollar" issues, this coin rarely has been available to collectors of the series, with auction records showing only three coins offered since 2008.
Numerous bidders pushed a Kiangnan. Kuang-hsü 50 Cents CD 1899 MS62 Prooflike NGC, KM-Y144A, L&M-224, Kann-76 well beyond its pre-auction estimate until it sold for $312,000. Two other Chinese coins brought six-figure returns when a Republic gold Pattern "Dragon & Phoenix" Dollar Year 12 (1923) MS64 NGC, Tientsin mint, KM-Pn70, L&M-1096a, Kann-1575 brought $108,000 and a Chekiang. Kuang-hsü 50 Cents ND (1898-99) MS67 NGC realized $105,600.
A Hsüan-t’ung Pattern "Long-whiskered Dragon" silver Dollar Year 3 (1911) MS63 NGC from the Tientsin Mint was the object of competitive bidding before selling for $93,000 — with full mint brilliance, it is a stunning example of the iconic issue.
Also in very high demand was a Kuang-hsü 50 Cents ND (1901-08) MS63 PCGS, Szechuan mint, KM-Y237.2, L&M-347, Kann-146, dragon with smaller face and essentially perfect reverse lettering, which drew offers from 17 bidders before hammering at $72,000 – nearly three times its low pre-auction estimate.
A People’s Republic 36-Piece Complete Year Set of NGC-Certified gold 1-ounce Pandas realized $55,200, while a stunning Republic Yuan Shih-kai Plumed Hat gold Pattern Dollar ND (1914) MS62 NGC, a very rare Presentation piece issued to commemorate Yuan Shih-kai as founder of the Republic, brought $54,000.
Additional World Coin highlights included, but were not limited to:
- Kiangnan. Kuang-hsü Dollar CD 1898 AU Details (Chop Mark) PCGS, Nanking mint, KM-Y145a.18, L&M-215, Kann-71: $48,000
- Kwangtung. Kuang-hsü silver Specimen Heaton Mint 50 Cents ND (1890-1905) SP65 PCGS, Heaton mint, KM-Y202, L&M-134, Kann-27: $38,400
- Republic. Sun Yat-sen brass Pattern “Birds Under Junk” Dollar 1929/1932 MS64 NGC: $38,400
- Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) gold Rectangular 10 Tael Ingot ND (c. 1750) Certified AU by HuaXia: $37,200
- Republic Sun Yat-sen “Five-pointed Star” Dollar ND (1912) MS66 PCGS: $32,400
"We continue to see particular strength in the market for high-grade vintage Chinese coins," Bierrenbach said.
"Although there was a period several years ago when prices had softened, they seem to have recovered fully, and in some cases surpassed their previous peaks.
"Modern Chinese coins also continue to be consistently robust. Our auction also included coins from other countries, including some in East Asia, and several dozen ancient coins. Those performed well, and not coincidentally, we have many clients who used to buy Chinese coins exclusively, but now are broadening their interest to include a wider range of the numismatic market."
WORLD CURRENCY: 1936 Central Bank of China 1 Yuan brings $84,000
The top lot in Heritage Auctions’ World Currency Auction was extremely popular among bidders, who drove the final price for aFamous Gem 1936 Central Bank of China 1 Yuan to $84,000 — more than six times its high pre-auction estimate.
Featuring the famous orange tinted design, this elusive variety was issued only in very small amounts, as the Chung Hwa Book Company Limited, De La Rue and Waterlow all printed notes for China at the time.
A 1953 10 Yuan PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 from the People’s Bank of China drew $48,000. A historical Yuan Dynasty 2 Kuan, 1335-40 Pick UNL S/M#C167-1, one of the earliest examples of paper money from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), drew multiple bids before selling for $43,200. Not quite as large as the more common 1 Kuan note from the Ming Dynasty, this note is printed on mulberry paper, and us marked with charcoal dye for the script and design.
Three notes sold for $33,600, including a Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation $100 1.4.1948 Pick 176e,which nearly tripled its high pre-auction estimate. Selling for the same price were a Chinese Deutsch-Asiatische Bank Tientsin 20 Taels 1.3.1907 Pick S303s Specimen, the first Specimen on the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank offered by Heritage Auctions, and a Chinese Banque de l’Indo-Chine 10 Piastres = $10 15.1.1902 Pick S440B, which was part of a small issuance because of the French bank’s inability to compete with the capital base of British Merchant banks, such as the HSBC.
A Japanese Central Bank of Western India Yokuhama $25 9.2.1866 Pick S244a sold for $22,800; as is the case with all known examples, this example is cancelled. The Central Bank of Western India was the first foreign bank in Japan, and took precedence in issuing (Mexican) dollars – the currency in which most foreign trade was conducted.
A Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation 1955 $100 Consecutive Pair brought $21,600 while another Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation $100 1.3.1955 Pick 176e Two Consecutive Serial Number Examples realized $20,400. Each result more than doubled its low pre-auction estimate.
Other top World Coins lots included, but were not limited to:
- A Chinese People’s Bank of China 10 Yuan 1953 Pick 870s Specimen: $17,400
- A 1935 Government of Hong Kong $1 ND Pick 311: $15,600
- An Uncirculated Imperial Bank of China 1904 $10 Specimen Note: $14,400
- A Chinese Empire Ming Dynasty 1 Kuan 1368-99 Pick AA10: $14,400
- Two different Malaysian Bank Negara 1000 Ringgit Proofs: $14,400
Heritage Auctions (HA.com) is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. In addition to its headquarters in Dallas, Heritage has offices in New York, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago and Palm Beach, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.