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China Hupeh Yuan Shih-kai 1920 20 Cents Piece Tied for Finest Certified

The next highlight from the Stack’s Bowers April Hong Kong Showcase Auction will be a Chinese Provincial issue from Hupeh, a great coin that is tied for finest certified. The obverse shows a left facing portrait of Yuan Shih-kai in his military uniform. The Chinese inscription that appears above Yuan Shih-kai’s bust provides the date and the issuing authority: “Republic of China, Ninth Year.” At the right and left side of the bust appear two characters stating: “Made in Hupeh.” The reverse features two prominent Chinese characters meaning “20 Cents” vertical within an ornate wreath. Above the wreath a secondary six-character legend explains the denomination as “Every 5 Coins equal to 1 Dollar.” A seldom-encountered type in any condition, at this level the coin becomes a trophy piece. This well struck beauty with bountiful detail present in the hair also has the entire reverse wreath crisp and well defined. Pleasing overall luminescence, with vertical lightly streaked toning on the obverse adding considerable character. Traces of powder blue tone can be seen within the reverse denticles; the balance exhibits even lightly toned surfaces. An exquisite example that is sure to add a new level of sophistication to the collection it enters. With a grade of PCGS MS-64, the current population figures list it as tied with just one other piece for finest certified at either NGC or PCGS

Like most historical figures Yuan Shih-Kai’s legacy is complex. He was an important general and politician, best known for his military reforms and his role in the transition from monarchy to a republic in China at the turn of the century. Yuan’s greatest achievement turned out to be a double-edged sword, as his military reforms fostered a loyalty that resulted in rival warlords competing with each other after his death. This fractioning of the army, coupled with his bid to restore the monarchy (with himself as emperor) eroded the ideals of the Republican movement he had helped establish. Despite this negative association from later historians, his coinage proved immensely popular during its time, and was minted for nearly six years after his death.

Though our Stack’s Bowers April Hong Kong Showcase Auction is no longer open for consignments, we are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. 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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