Rare NGC-Certified Chinese Pattern Coin Featured in Heritage Sale
Posted on 6/9/2022
A vintage Chinese coin certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®) is expected to generate spirited bidding well into the six figures at an upcoming auction. The rare pattern is the top NGC-certified coin in Heritage Auctions’ HKINF World and Ancient Coins Platinum Session and Signature Auction, being held July 7-9, 2022.
Pattern coins are struck for the purpose of testing a coin design and are often among the rarest coins produced by any country’s mint. That is certainly the case of this coin, a China (1914) Pattern Silver Dollar (L&M-72) graded NGC MS 64 (lot 34115). The coin has an estimate of $300,000 to $600,000.
The pattern is one of the greatest designs by Tientsin mint engraver Luigi Giorgi, who also crafted a renowned design for a Chinese silver dollar featuring a dragon. Giorgi patterns are among the most coveted coins in Chinese numismatics.
The coin offered in the Heritage sale shows Yuan Shih-kai, who was president from 1912 until his death in 1916, except for a three-month stint as emperor near the end. The three-quarters-facing portrait featured on this pattern goes to great lengths to express the fabric of his military uniform and the texture of his cropped hair and mustache.
The design varies markedly from the one that was selected for the coin released to the public, which features a left-facing portrait of Yuan that is more iconic than artistic. These coins, also known as “Fatman Dollars,” were struck for circulation in vast quantities starting in 1914.
Pattern coins are popular with collectors as they often represent a unique moment in numismatic history. Sometimes, as in the case of the Yuan Shih-kai pattern dollar, the design is more beautiful than the design that is eventually used to strike coins for circulation.
This coin is pedigreed to the Rulin Wei Collection. The auction includes six other rarities from this collection, including another Giorgi pattern: a China 1914 Silver Dollar (L&M-859) graded NGC MS 63 (lot 34117). Featuring a portrait of Yuan Shih-kai in a plumed hat, it has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.
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