Specimen Sun Yat-sen Memento Ten Cent

Sun Yat-sen was born in 1866 to a poor peasant family in the south of China, near Macau. His elder brother left China seeking work in Hawaii, and Sun Yat-sen followed him at the age of 12. Honolulu offered Sun Yat-sen an opportunity to learn English and receive religious education at an Anglican Church School. Upon returning to China, he studied in Hong Kong, officially converted to Christianity and married. By the time he attained his doctorate in medicine, revolutionary ideas had begun to form. An early attempt at fomenting rebellion in Canton failed as Sun Yat-sen and his associates were discovered. With great difficulty the group escaped capture and avoided execution. From this point Dr. Sun Yat-sen became a refugee, studying medicine in London and travelling throughout Europe, America and the Far East. While on his travels, he spread his revolutionary ideas to overseas Chinese students and expatriates, many of whom donated funds towards the downfall of the Manchu Imperial dynasty. Sun Yat-sen settled in Japan, which proved a fertile staging ground for his revolutionary group.

On October 10th, 1911, revolution broke out in China. Just months later, the Manchu emperor abdicated and his government collapsed. Dr. Sun Yat-sen then led the country as the President of the Provisional Republican government in Nanking. An election was held later, and Yuan Shih-kai became President, while accepting the Provisional Constitution provided by the National Council at Nanking. Despite this near-constant struggle and frequent exile, Dr. Sun Yat-sen is widely renowned for his role as a founding father of the Republic of China. He continued to lead revolutionary governments throughout the Warlord Era. His legacy is positive due to his lifelong sacrifice in service of his people, as well as his political philosophy of nationalism, democracy and protecting the people’s livelihood.

Ho Tze-liang at the Nanking Mint engraved the dies used for this issue. His lack of experience coupled with a rushed production schedule led to a somewhat artistically lacking bust. The left facing bust features of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in civilian attire, surrounded by linear and pearled rings. The upper inscription states "The Republic of China." Branches of peach blossoms adorn either side of the bust, with a lower inscription that states "Opening of the Country, Memorial Coin." The reverse design shows Chinese characters within a central wreath, with the legend stating, "10 pieces equal to 1 Dollar." A similar dual border of linear and pearled lines separates the inner design from the outer legend, "MEMENTO" with "BIRTH OF REPUBLIC OF CHINA" below. A lustrous central portion draws the eye to the portrait. Deep steely toning graces the periphery of the obverse, with close examination and lighting revealing subtle electric blue and yellow-orange hues. The reverse is evenly toned, with gorgeous sea-foam green and azure blue. This is the only example at this numeric grade, with just two examples certified finer.

Look for this and other Asian and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming Rarities Night Auction on May 20, the day after the inaugural D. Brent Pogue Collection Part 1. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at While our Stack’s Bowers Galleries Rarities Night Auction on May 20th is no longer open for consignments, we are currently taking consignments of ancient and world coins for our August 2015 ANA World’s Fair of Money Showcase Auction and Asian coins and currency for our August 2015 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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