Mint State Ornamental Edge Kiangnan Dollar

Stack’s Bowers is excited to continue previewing our upcoming August Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Our sale is rapidly expanding with desirable modern Chinese, collectible Asian numismatics and vintage Chinese rarities. Today we showcase a lovely piece from Kiangnan Province, which originally comprised the Anhwei and Kiangsu provinces, but by the time this piece was minted in 1897 the separation had already occurred. The name Kiangnan translates to “South of the river” and refers to the Yangtze. The largest mint for this period was located in the capital of Nanking. The coins from this series were inscribed with “Made in Kiangnan Province” to differentiate them from the copper pieces from Kiangsu province.

The most significant feature of this coin is the stylization of the dragon on the obverse. This type has been identified as the “Old Kiangnan” style. The outer border contains the English legend that mirrors the Chinese reverse: “Kiangnan Province” at the top and “7 Mace and 2 Candareens” along the bottom. These inscriptions are separated by six pointed stars. The image of an eastern styled dragon in a wide “S” shape with a large head dominates the central design. The dragon is separated from the outer inscriptions by a linear border. The dragon is releasing a fiery pearl from his mouth, congruent with the provincial style. The enormous eyes of the dragon seem to stare intensely out at the observer.

Generally, this coin follows the established pattern for provincial issues but with some notable exceptions. The reverse contains the usual informative Chinese inscriptions, along the top border it reads “Made in Kiangnan Province.” The lower border inscription describes the denomination of coin, in this case “7 Mace and 2 Candareen (Dollar).” The upper and lower inscriptions are separated by two six-pointed stars. The inner legend contains a larger Chinese and smaller Manchu inscription that describes the coin in general terms: “Valuable Coin of the Kuang Hsu (regime).” The noticeable variations for the obverse of this type are the two distinct borders. The first is the far outer edge, which features a crenulated pattern which looks akin to a pattern of waves crashing right. The inner border that separates the outer ring from the inner legend is an alternating chain pattern of “S” figures. These features set this piece apart from the varied other provincial issues. This example features a crisp strike with lovely deep slate hued toning. NGC has certified this example as MS-63. Only three pieces are certified finer for this type, making it especially desirable.

Look for this and other Asian and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming August Hong Kong Showcase Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this July 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. Our Stack’s Bowers Galleries August Hong Kong Showcase Auction is still open for consignments, but time is running short. 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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