The upcoming August Hong Kong auction held by Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is still in its developmental stages, but can already boast a multitude of enticing numismatic pieces for all varieties of collectors. Following last week’s modern Chinese gold “Bronze Age Archaeological Finds” Proof Set, this week we offer a look into China’s early struck pieces from Anhwei province. The mint in Anhwei began production in 1897 with the intent to replace circulating foreign silver coinage with Chinese-made coins. Unfortunately the ploy failed, and the mint, located in the capital of Anking, closed after only two years of production. As to be expected from this short production period, mintages for these years are relatively low, creating a scarcity of these pieces. Several distinct series of coins were produced during this period, and this 7 Mace 2 Candareens (Dollar) piece represents the third series of coins issued from this brief minting era. This type is distinguished by its date, 1898, and the initials “T.A.S.C.” on the obverse.
The obverse of this coin bears an all Chinese script, as conforming to the standard pattern, barring the English “T.A.S.C.” in the center field. The upper inscription reads “24thyear of Kuang Hsu” meaning the coin was minted during the reign of Emperor Kuang Hsu in the year 1898. The upper and lower inscriptions are separated by a small four point rosette. The lower inscription describes the denomination of this coin: “Treasury Scales 7 mace (and) 2 candareens” this is effectively describing the weight of the coin, in relation to the K’uping Tael. From this, the valuation is produced as a silver dollar piece. The outer inscriptions are separated from the inner symbols by a pearled ring. The four large characters dominating the obverse read: “Valuable Coin (of the) Kuang Hsu (regime). The central inscription mirrors the larger, except it is in Manchu. The English letters "T. A. S. C." are neatly placed in a clockwise manner in the field, Wenchao suggests its meaning as an abbreviation of "TATSING AN-HWEI SILVER COIN", meaning "Anhwei silver coin of the Great Qing".
The flying Imperial Dragon dominates the design for the reverse of this piece, shown coiled in an “S” like pattern. The dragon is displayed surrounded by clouds and issuing a fiery pearl from its mouth. The reverse English inscriptions note that the coin was produced in “AN-HWEI PROVINCE” at the top and the denomination of “7 MACE AND 2 CANDAREENS” at the bottom. These upper and lower legends are separated by a seven point rosette at either side. This attractively toned piece is just one of the many Imperial Chinese issues to be offered this August, and this scarce item is sure to draw a crowd.
Look for this and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming August Hong Kong Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this August at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine California. For details please refer to the Auction Schedule/Details link under Current Auctions at www.StacksBowers.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.566.2580.