Extremely Rare 1949 Greek Border Kweichow 20 and 50 Cents

It’s an exciting time for Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio, as we prepare for our April 2014 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. This week is a double feature, with two extremely rare coins with impeccable pedigrees that start with the famous Eduard Kann Collection— Coins of China, and continue to The Irving Goodman Collection of Chinese Coinage. Now these coins are offered at auction as part of the W&B Capital Collection and once they enter a new collection, it too will be elevated to legendary status.

These important subsidiary coins hail from the Kweichow Province of China and are considered to be the fractional counterpart to the famous “Bamboo Dollar”. The details behind these coins are scarce, but Kann mentions that after rampant inflation in the 1940s devalued paper currency in China, some provinces, including Kweichow Province, were prompted to begin minting their own metallic money. These Year 38 (1949) 20 and 50 Cent pieces each display an intricate Greek border on both sides. Struck from well-executed dies, both of these coins are the highest graded for their respective types by either PCGS or NGC. Indeed, Kann mentions in his text that the 50 Cents piece is scarce, citing this example in his own collection, and for the 20 Cents piece he notes (in 1953) that this specimen was the only known example of this coin, also belonging to his own personal collection.

The 50 Cents piece displays on the obverse within an inner pearled ring, four Chinese characters that denote: “Half-Dollar Silver Coin.” Above the pearled ring in Chinese characters is the date: “38th Year of the Republic of China” (1949). Two small four petalled rosaces divide this upper legend from the lower, which reads: Made in Kweichow Province.” Surrounding these is the aforementioned Greek meander border. The 20 Cents piece is depicted much in the same way, except for the central characters which read: “20 Cents Silver Coin.”

The reverses for these pieces are quite distinctive. The 50 Cents piece displays a large Arabic numeral “50” in the center surrounded by a pearled ring. Just beyond the pearled ring the figure “50” is printed 32 times. Finally, a Greek meander border similar to the obverse is present. The 20 Cents piece is similarly designed, with a large Arabic numeral “20” in the center of the design surrounded by a pearled ring. The numeral “20” is shown 28 times, again in a border, and the final border is a Greek meander design. The toning for both pieces is exceptional; the 50 Cents piece exhibits an impressive slate hue with a touch of mossy highlights. NGC has bestowed a grade of Almost Uncirculated 58, the highest graded by NGC or PCGS. The 20 Cents piece displays exceptional detail as well, with a lovely shade of rose toning and some slightly darker areas. NGC has graded this coin Mint State 61, and again this is the highest graded by NGC or PCGS. The stellar quality and eye appeal of these coins, combined with the renowned pedigree history and the extreme rarity will assure these coins a spot in numismatic history. Be sure to view these coins, as they may not return to an auction for decades to come!

Look for these and other Asian numismatic rarities in our upcoming April Hong Kong Showcase Auction and Sale. Preview these coins along with the rest of our auction this March at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar tab at To schedule an appointment, please call 800-458-4646. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April 2014 Hong Kong Showcase Auction is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2014 Hong Kong and August ANA sales. 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 direct

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