Magnificent Reversed Dragon Specimen Pattern Dollar

Our prestigious D. Brent Pogue Collection Part I is set to cross the auction block this upcoming Tuesday, May 19th! The following day, Wednesday the 20th, Stacks Bowers will offer at auction an impressive array of U.S. coins, U.S. currency, philatelic items and world coins. Both sales can be viewed here. Every item in the Rarities Auction is noteworthy, though we bring your attention to one of the major highlights of the sale, a fantastic Specimen Reversed Dragon Pattern Dollar. This extremely rare pattern silver Dollar is known as the "Reversed Dragon" type as that creature runs head to tail counterclockwise with its tail pointing to the right, while the standard pattern is just the opposite. Within the "Reversed Dragon" type there are two major variations noted by the design of the floral sprays on the reverse, with this example being the "Type II" with raised veins on the outer leaves.

This Pattern Dollar came about due to coinage reforms that the ineffectual Ch’ing government attempted to enact. The relatively weak central government could not dislodge the provincial viceroys who saw a universal Chinese coinage system as a severe detriment to the power and wealth they had accumulated through operating their provincial mints.

The obverse design features a regal and imposing dragon suspended in midair amid wisps of clouds, a fiery pearl appears near the bottom of the design. The long wavy whiskers issuing from the dragon’s nostrils appear like a curly moustache. Two vertical Chinese characters appear which signify the denomination (One Yuan) and in English along the periphery the English legend states “ONE DOLLAR.” The toning is magnificent, featuring an even light gray with wisps of golden-amber. The reverse design contains an all Chinese legend. Between the outer crenulated border and the inner pearled ring, the Manchu and Chinese characters form the outer legend. Four Manchu characters appear above and four Chinese characters below which state, “Hsuen Tung, 3rd Year” (1911), and these sets of characters are separated by ornate floral sprays. The central Chinese inscription states, “Ta Ch’ing Yin Pi,” meaning "Great Ch’ing (dynasty) Silver Coin." Choice faint gray and wispy amber toning highlights the reverse legends. PCGS has bestowed upon this piece the grade of Specimen-63. It is tied with one other example at this numerical grade, with just five examples certified finer.

Look for this and other Asian and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming Rarities Auction on May 20th. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at While our Stack’s Bowers Galleries May 20 Rarities Auction 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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