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Fascinating Hand Inscribed Gold Ingot

By Kyle Ponterio, Numismatist & Cataloger

Author: Kyle Ponterio / Wednesday, August 02, 2017 / Categories: World Coin of the Week

This week’s preview from our August 14-16 Hong Kong Auction (to be held at the Mira Hotel in Hong Kong) is an extremely rare hand-inscribed Annamese Lang gold currency bar of Emperor Tu Duc.  Both the obverse and reverse are hand inscribed with Chinese characters "Tu Duc Nien Tao" within rectangle border on the obverse and "Hoang Kim Nhat Lang" within rectangle border on the reverse. The edge has a vine or floral design, square at top and circle at bottom all hand inscribed. Much care was taken in producing this type; as each was engraved by hand, each is unique in a sense. These hand-inscribed types are unlike the basic types, which had the borders in relief and used the same dies as the silver issues. We are aware of only two other examples of the hand-inscribed types and each is of a different ruler.

Born 22 September 1829 as Prince Nguyen Phuc Hong Nham, Tu Duc succeeded his father Emperor Theiu Tri who died 4 November 1847. His father favored his younger son, Tu Duc, who had steadfast Confucian beliefs and was opposed to foreigners and innovations, and passed over his more moderate eldest son, Hong Bao. Though Tu Doc reigned for more than 35 years, his rule was not an easy one. He struggled with familial conflict, religious suppression, European conquest and hundreds of rebellions. Despite his enormous harem, he had no children due to a case of smallpox that left him impotent. He is considered the last independent ruling Emperor of Annam (Vietnam). According to legend, with his dying breath he cursed the French. After his death his adopted son Duc Duc became emperor, but was deposed by court officials after only three days on the throne.

The ingot offered in our August 2017 Hong Kong auction is lightly toned and attractive with no major defects. It is historically significant, highly important, of the utmost rarity, and sure to excite even the most advanced collector of Annamese items.

We are no longer accepting consignments for our August Hong Kong auction. We are however currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our October Collectors Choice Online Auction (CCO), our January 2018 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) Auction, and our April 2018 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.