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By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​By now, the disruption and chaos created by COVID-19 is inescapable. While more and more states here in America continue to issue shelter at home orders in hope of stemming the tide, many people have seen their professions, livelihood, and overall daily habits placed on an indefinite pause. Amidst the uncertainty, it is important to remember that, as a planet, we are all in this together and that we have faced worldwide turmoil before. The global conflict that would come to be known as World War I was a defining moment in world history, marking a decided increase in the destruction and devastation that man could both wreak and endure.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Animal iconography has long played an important role in Chinese art, with the fauna associated with the Lunar New Year being just one aspect. While the dragon—one of the most iconic images associated with Chinese culture—is a part of this lunar cycle, another—the phoenix—is not. In many East Asian mythologies, the fènghuáng (in Chinese) or hō-ō (in Japanese) represents an analog to the western phoenix. It was viewed as a bird which reigned above all other birds, with fèng being the male and huáng being the female.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Born in 1859 to a relatively modest family with a military background, Yuán Shìkǎi grew up in Hénán province—a landlocked province in East-Central China. From a young age, he dreamt of a career in civil service, but performed poorly on examinations, which pushed him to a career in the military instead. Early action saw him in Korea backing the Joseon dynasty against encroachment by soldiers from the Empire of Japan. While there, Yuán displayed skilled judgment and a decisive nature, garnering him influence into the Joseon court, acting simultaneously as an envoy from China and a confidant to Korea.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Following Spanish colonization of the New World during the 16th century and the subsequent utilization of local silver mines—especially in Mexico—trade increased between the Americas and Spain's outpost in the Far East—the Philippines. Commerce in the Filipino capital of Manila allowed for access to goods desired in the West—specifically, those from China. While Chinese goods, from spices to silk, would flow to the West across the Pacific, payment in silver coinage—the Mexican 8 Reales—would flow into the Far East. Because of their quality, these Mexican coins became highly desired by Chinese merchants.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Following the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, western influence increased within China (both in terms of trade and an influx of European and American nationals). Similarly, anti-western sentiments among the native Chinese populace began to increase. One aspect that left many bewildered was the great latitude granted to Christian missionaries to spread the "western gospel." These missionaries were able to purchase land and avoid taxes, further incensing the overwhelming majority of the natives who remained unconverted.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Having its first contact with Europeans in the mid-15th century, the area that would become Sierra Leone saw use as a trading ground—for goods as well as slaves—for the next three centuries. By the late 18th century, however, the British Empire saw an opportunity to utilize this territory on the coast of western Africa as a colony for freed slaves (those who had escaped from American plantations and fought alongside the British during the Revolution) and for poor blacks in and around London.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​Though newspapers have seemingly become antiquated with digital media being much quicker and more economical in reaching its audience, there was certainly a time when printed news was everywhere. Whether on a stand at the local grocery store, in a vending box on the street corner, or piling up on your doorstep, newspapers were ubiquitous. So omnipresent were they that in Victorian England, newspapers were routinely used as a packaging into which one of the nation's savory staples—fish and chips—would be deposited.

By Jeremy Bostwick, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger

​​Stack's Bowers Galleries is pleased to present their next Collectors Choice Online (CCO) sale focused upon world and ancient coinage, as well as world paper money. This colossal sale—with nearly 2,000 lots—will represent our largest sale of this type to date, and comes right between our successful Official Auction of the 2020 N.Y.I.N.C. last month in New York and our highly anticipated  Official Auction of the Hong Kong Coin Show next month—our 10th Anniversary of sales in Asia.

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