Rare and Appealing China 1911 Tientsin Pattern ½ Dollar, Ex: ANS Duplicate acquired 1937

This week’s highlight from our upcoming April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is a stunning pattern Half Dollar from the final months of the Imperial Chinese Government. The Central Mint in Tientsin – operated by the Board of Revenue in Peking – minted a multitude of coinage types in the later portion of the Empire, in an attempt to unify the currency system of China. Unfortunately, China’s administrative disorganization (as well as a lack of sufficient funds) inhibited the reforms from gaining traction. Certainly the revolution overthrowing the monarchy later that year also prohibited their widespread use.

One of the coinage types produced at the twilight of the Chinese Empire and the Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasty include this rare Half Dollar. The distinctive Asian serpentine dragon has its body winding counter-clockwise from about nine o’clock and ending with its whiskered and horned head at twelve o’clock. The fiery pearl commonly found in the center of the design rests in the upper left hand quadrant. The dragon and pearl form a nice frame for the two Chinese characters found in the center, denoting the denomination of 50 Cents. The details of this particular design are particularly evocative as this powerful and jovial mythical beast twists and winds its way through tufts of clouds. The reverse design conveys the necessary information for this coinage issue and more closely resembles previous designs. The central Chinese inscription states: “Ta Ch’ing Yin Pi” meaning: Great Ch’ing (Dynasty) Silver Coin. A pearled border separates these central characters from the outer inscription. The upper four-character inscription states the date: “Hsuen Tung, 3rd Year” (1911). Ornate floral sprays at three and nine o’clock separate the upper and lower inscription, the latter stating: “2 pieces equal 1 Dollar.” Absolutely beautiful light gold and grey toning graces this example.

Look for this and other Asian and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming April Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this March at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers Galleries April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is still open for consignments, time is running short, so 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. 

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