Chinese Coins: NGC Educational Seminar in Shanghai

Posted by Peter Anthony on 12/10/2013

Chinese 1992 1-kilogram gold Inventions and Discoveries coins were on display at NGC's educational seminar in Shanghai.

Outside the rain had stopped, but the air was still cold. Inside the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Luwan it was warm and noisy. Beneath sparkling chandeliers, more than 150 guests staked out seats in the Concord Room as news crews spread their tripods out and hoisted their videocams. The center of attention, a brightly lit showcase, sat at the very front. Reporters peered into it and took notes as guards stood watchfully by. Inside the case was a pair of possibly the rarest of all modern Chinese coins, 1992 1 kg. gold Inventions and Discoveries of China (IDOC, for short). The official mintage of each was 10 but only six are accounted for so that may be the true total. Both coins were freshly graded Proof 69 Ultra Cameo by NGC.

What was the occasion for the display? To celebrate the opening of their new office in Shanghai, NGC sponsored an educational symposium. The IDOC coins were loaned by Champion Auction, which will offer the pair for sale in an auction this month. The emphasis this day, though, was not on commerce but numismatic education and understanding. It was also a salute to the growth of China and its numismatic community. A vivid illustration of how far and fast the country has developed was the hotel itself. The Marriott Hotel Luwan is just two years old, built on what was farmland a couple of years earlier. Today the energy and bustle at the hotel make it seem like the area had always been urban. Nearly all of Shanghai’s top collectors and dealers attended the symposium including the city’s five largest China Gold Coin Inc. distributors.

The lead speaker was Max Spiegel of NGC who gave the introduction. Following him was King Lam Chan, one of the most widely respected and knowledgeable coin collectors in Asia. Steve Eichenbaum, CCG’s CEO, then told the audience about NGC’s past in China, expressed his confidence in the future of Chinese numismatics and talked about the services that NGC will offer through the new office. The office will greatly streamline the grading process for collectors and dealers in China. After Steve, Mr. Zhen Wei Gang, director of Guangzhou GB spoke about the ties between GB and NGC.

I gave a presentation on mints and mintmarks and their relevance and importance to the Panda coin market. Rocky Zhao, the artist who designed the 2011 and 2014 Panda coins, then gave the audience some insight into the creative side of Panda coins and the China Mint.

The spotlight then turned to Dave Camire. Dave is the President of NCS and a top grader himself. If there’s someone who knows more than he does about grading and conservation, I’ve yet to meet that person. Dave gave an in-depth look at the benefits of coin conservation. He showed many dramatic slides of coins before and after the conservation process. He also discussed when damage is permanent and can’t be fixed and gave suggestions for how to prevent that from happening.

Afterward came a question and answer session and then an opportunity for the audience to bring up their coins. Dave Camire and Jay Turner, another top grader, looked at the coins and discussed the grading process and the criteria that NGC uses.

All in all it was a great, informative way to spend an afternoon talking about coins and to kick-off NGC’s new Shanghai office.

Peter Anthony is an expert on Chinese modern coins with a particular focus on Panda coins. He is an analyst for the NGC Chinese Modern Coin Price Guide as well as a consultant on Chinese modern coins.