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The First Dollar Struck At The Pei Yang Arsenal

By Todd McKenna, Numismatist

Author: Todd McKenna / Tuesday, March 27, 2012 / Categories: World Coin of the Week
Stack’s Bowers & Ponterio is pleased to present an excellent example of the first dollar struck at the Pei Yang Arsenal (L&M-439; K-181). A very rare issue dated to the twenty-second year of Emperor Kuang Hsu (1896), this coin was produced just after the First Sino-Japanese War at a time when supervision of the arsenal had transferred to the Governor General of Chihli, Wang Wen-shao. During the first few years of minting at Pei Yang denominations of coinage were produced using the decimal system. It was not until the twenty-fifth year of Emperor Kuang Hsu (1899) that the mint switched to denominations based on the 7 Mace 2 Candareens system used by most mints. The original Pei Yang Arsenal mint was destroyed in 1900 during the bedlam of the Boxer Rebellion but was later rebuilt, eventually becoming the Tientsin mint which grew to be the main mint serving all of China.

Due to the low mintages of these early dollars very few have survived in any semblance of attractive condition. The coin offered here has a particularly strong strike with all characters being raised and full while the dragon itself is sharp and defined, showing bold details in the whiskers and scales. Combined with this excellent strike are reflective surfaces, a quality very hard to find on pieces of this type. One of the nicest of these early issues we have ever handled we are thrilled to offer it in our upcoming Hong Kong Auction. This piece is Lot #21053 and will be featured in Session 2 of our sale which begins Monday April 2 at 10:00 AM Hong Kong time.