Extremely Rare “Teng-Tien” Brass Pattern Dollar Struck by the Otto Beh Company

This week’s highlight from the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio April Hong Kong
Showcase Auction is an especially
exciting pattern coin with an interesting backstory. Aside
from the history, upon viewing the coin two things immediately stand out: that
it is a Dollar sized brass coin and the misspelling of the province: “TENG-TIEN.”
The flying Imperial Dragon dominates the design
for the obverse and is coiled in an “S” like pattern. The dragon is surrounded
by clouds and issuing a fiery pearl from its mouth. As mentioned above, the
obverse English inscription contains a spelling error: “TENG-TIEN PROVINCE” at
the top and the denomination of “7 MACE AND 2 CANDAREENS” at the bottom. These
upper and lower legends are separated by a seven point rosette at either side.

The reverse bears an all Chinese and Manchu script, conforming to the standard
pattern, with the upper inscription reading: “Made in Fengtien Province”. The
upper and lower inscriptions are separated by a large rosette consisting of
seven dots. The lower inscription describes the denomination of this coin:
“Treasury Scales 7 Mace (and) 2 Candareens,” effectively describing the weight
of the coin, in relation to the K’uping Tael. From this, the valuation is deduced
as a silver dollar piece (though this is a pattern issue struck in brass). The
outer inscriptions are separated from the inner symbols by a pearled ring. The
four large characters dominating the obverse read: “Valuable Coin (of the)
Kuang Hsu (regime)”. The inner central inscription mirrors the Chinese, except
it is in Manchu.

The recent discovery of production materials shed new light on the
creation of this coinage. The findings included patterns, dies, hubs and a
series of punches from the archives of the Otto Beh Company, Esslingen,
Germany. Before this, the origin of the dies used to produce coinage for the
provinces of Anhwei, Chekiang, Fengtien, Heilungkiang and Sungarei was only speculated
upon. Otto Beh was a specialist in the production of seals and dies. From
neighboring Goppingen, Louis Schuler received an order for coining presses in
1895 and commissioned Otto Beh to manufacture the dies. In 1897 and 1898, Beh
supplied Schuler with over 200 dies for Chinese coins. At the time, this was
the largest order that the company had ever received. Schuler, which started as
a Locksmith’s shop in 1839, had grown to become one of the world’s leaders in
metal forming and in fact supplied the aforementioned mints with coining
presses. European craftsmanship is evident when closely inspecting this piece,
complete with razor-sharp details and an overall impeccable strike. Easily
discernible luster surrounds the dragon and other devices, adding great eye
appeal. It is certainly destined to hold a place of pride in its next
collection and will likely inspire many conversations among enthusiasts.

While we are no longer accepting consignments for our April Hong Kong
Showcase Auction, we are accepting consignments of Chinese and other Asian
coins and currency for our August 2017 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. In addition
to this, we are taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper
money for our May 2017 Collector’s Choice Online Auction and August 2017 ANA
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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Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

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Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

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