An Introduction to the Peiyang Tientsin Bank

Stack’s, Bowers and Ponterio is proud to present a trio of iconic and colorful banknotes from the Peiyang-Tientsin Bank from Peter She’s Collection which will be featured in our April 2024 Hong Kong Auction. The trio consists of the 1 Dollar in 64-EPQ, the 3 Dollars in 64-EPQ and the 5 Taels in 64.

The Peiyang Tientsin Bank, founded by Yuan Shih Kai in around 1906. was initially called the Peiyang Kin Wu Bank, possibly because of his association with the Beiyang Army and his martial background. The bank name was eventually changed to Peiyang Tientsin Bank and issued denominations of 1, 3, 5 and 10 Taels (printed vertically) and 1, 3, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Dollars (printed horizontally). The notes were designed and printed by British printing company Bradbury and Wilkinson.

By the time the banknotes were ready to be issued for circulation in 1908-09, Yuan had been forced out of the Qing Government by Prince Regent Chun, and the notes were left as ‘remainders.’ A small proportion of the Dollar denominated notes were overprinted ‘Provincial Bank of Chihli’ and issued for circulation in 1916-17 during the Republic of China era; they were met with opposition as the notes featured Li Hong Zhang, a prominent Qing era statesman. The Bank had no choice but to recall all the notes, spelling the end of their use as issued banknotes.

A prominent and consistent feature of the note is the vignette of His Excellency Li Hong Zhong, a highly regarded statesman who was credited with keeping the Qing Empire together in the late 19th century. Yuan may have chosen to feature him on the notes as a token of appreciation for Li’s recommendation of him to the Qing Government and for his help in securing prominent official positions.

Other notable features include the lavish mixture of colors and the dragons on each note, which result in this exquisite series being much beloved by collectors worldwide.

I will be writing more about our exciting April Hong Kong in the coming weeks, so please continue to read our blogs! For further questions about this upcoming sale or to consign to our June Collectors Choice Online Hong Kong auction or our Fall Hong Kong Showcase auction call us at +852 2117 1191 or email

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