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The Nguyễn Dynasty Collection of 19th Century Annamese Silver

This week we would like to take a moment to focus on the special offering of 19th century Annamese silver coinage in our Spring Hong Kong auction featuring The Nguyễn Dynasty Collection. Assembled over many decades, the primary focus of this cabinet was quality and rarity with an emphasis on diversity. Representative pieces from nearly every series struck during the 19th century are present from this vast and sophisticated field of numismatics.

Though incomplete, this massive selection covers a wide array of subjects and themes that hold special meanings throughout many Asian cultures. Typically, crude in manufacture the charm of these issues is accentuated by their auspicious nature.  Many feature inscriptions or iconography inspired by religion, myth or astrology, while others were produced with the intent to instill pride and unity.  For example, each denomination from the virtue series, lots 43136 through 43143, depicts a similar motif of a coiled dragon with different inscriptions, one for each of the ten virtues. Some feature a play on words such as the case of lots 43097, 43127 and 43128. These three lots display five bats, which when spoken sounds similar to “Fu” meaning good fortune.  Other themes include special objects or emblems such as the “Eight Treasures” in lot 43132, the “Three Plenties” in lots 43125 and 43144 and the “Three Longevities” found in lot 43145.  Several inscriptions were used to inspire comradery and loyalty among the populace as seen with lot 43089 (“National Confidence”) and lot 43114 (“National Prosperity and Longevity”).  

These are just a few of the many different types and issues that hold significant meaning contained in this collection. For a complete listing of The Nguyễn Dynasty Collection, as well as the other Annamese items in the sale, please visit www.stacksbowers.com or click the link.

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