Exceptional French Cochin China

The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio August Hong Kong Showcase Auction promises
to be a fantastic sale packed with exciting pieces. Today’s featured coin is an
exceptional Centime Essai Piefort from French Cochin China, struck in 1879.
Cochin China was a major French colonial holding in Southeast Asia. Along with
Tonkin and Annam, French Cochin China would later be amalgamated into the
greater territory of French Indo-China.

The obverse design
features Liberty reclining facing left, with her head facing, adorned with a
laurel crown with seven arches. She holds a fasces (seen as a symbol of
collective power) and is resting atop a ship’s tiller. Behind the tiller
appears a marine anchor, symbolizing the administration of Indo-China by the
French ministry of the "Marine and Colonies." Rice stalks appear to
the left of Liberty, replacing the symbol of western agriculture, wheat. In
exergue, the word: “ESSAI” and the engraver’s initials (A. B.) are present. The
whole of this design is within a solid line and beaded border, with the outer
inscription reading: “REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE” followed by the date below. The
reverse design features the denomination at the center of the design (in
Chinese) flanked by “1” and “C” surrounded by a beaded border. The outer
inscription reads: “COCHINCHINE FRANCAISE” and “POIDS 10 GR”.

This extremely rare
piece is struck in brass with the reverse die rotated 45 degrees clockwise from
medallic alignment. Lecompte lists a piefort mintage of 18, but with only
two verifiable examples in collections: the piece presented here along with a
single additional example within the E. Henry Collection weighing 21.92 grams. Copious
amounts of original pear color brass are complemented by magenta, periwinkle
and aquamarine. Struck by dies free of corrosion or other defects, the
resulting product is a numismatic treasure of indescribable beauty and a coin
of incomparable desirability that will instantly elevate the collection it

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

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