Extremely Rare Fine Style Yuan Shih-kai Flying Dragon Gold Dollar

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to continue our preview of the upcoming December Hong Kong Showcase Auction with yet another stunning vintage Chinese gold issue. Today we highlight an incredible gold Yuan Shih-kai Flying Dragon Dollar. On top of its desirability due its time of manufacture, motif and style, this piece also features a distinct stylistic difference from the series, potentially catapulting its value and rarity to astronomical levels.

This elegant coin features a front-view portrait of Yuan Shih-kai in full military regalia. His jacket displays his medals and decorations for his years of service in the military; a sash is visible running across his chest from his right shoulder, and epaulets add prestige to his bust. Yuan’s high-feathered military hat symbolizes his status at the pinnacle of the Chinese Republican military and government. The plume on this piece sets it apart from the other similar issues of this series. Not only is it different from the similar L&M-1114, but also much care was taken with the engraving of these dies. Upon close inspection one notices the intricate details of the obverse and reverse that are lacking on similar examples, such as the defined details of the sash and breast stars on the obverse and the rounded scales on the dragon on the reverse. This highly detailed example is sharply struck with every detail defined. The reverse contains the necessary coin information since the obverse features only the portrait. The reverse design is truly spectacular, and evokes the grandiose notions of the empire that Yuan Shih-kai wished to resurrect in his image. An immense Eastern style dragon (curiously sporting Western style wings) dominates the reverse. This mythical beast holds a bundle of arrows in one claw, and a scepter in another claw. Above, four Chinese characters stating: “Empire of China” are present, while below the dragon, another four characters state: “Beginning of (the) Hung Hsien (period).

Look for this and other world numismatic rarities in our upcoming December Hong Kong Showcase Auction. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at Though our Stack’s Bowers December Hong Kong Showcase Auction is no longer open for further consignments, we are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our January New York International Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our April 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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