NGC Grades Rare Chinese Gold Coin Struck with Imperial Ambitions

Posted on 9/29/2020

The 1916 dollar was part of President Yuan Shih-kai's short-lived attempt to establish himself as emperor.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) recently certified a rare and magnificent gold coin that reflected ruler Yuan Shih-kai's bold ambitions during the earliest years of China's Republic period (1912-1949). Graded NGC MS 63, the 1916 L&M-1114 Gold Dollar is one of the finest NGC has graded.

Yuan Shih-kai became the first official president of the Republic of China in 1912 after the nation emerged from centuries of imperial rule. He attempted to elevate himself to the position of emperor in late 1915 and early 1916. The gold coin was intended as a presentation piece to celebrate his ascension as emperor.

China 1916 Gold Dollar (L&M-1114) graded NGC MS 63.
Click images to enlarge.

The obverse features the image of Yuan Shih-kai in a plumed hat commonly seen on Chinese silver dollars of the time. The reverse includes a dragon and the Chinese characters for "Beginning of the Hung Hsien period," a phrase that highlights Yuan Shih-kai's imperial name.

Yuan Shih-kai’s imperial ambitions ended, however, in late March 1916 amid widespread opposition. He resumed his role as president until he died a few months later, in June 1916. Even after his death, coins continued to be struck with his image for several years.

According to the NGC Census, NGC has graded 14 examples of L&M-1114, with only two finer than this one. Another example graded NGC MS 63 realized $48,468 USD (about 300,000 RMB) at an auction in August 2014.

This impressive vintage coin was submitted to NGC Shanghai Business Information Consulting Co., Ltd. (NGC Shanghai), the China affiliate of NGC. NGC Shanghai grades most vintage Chinese and other coins on a full-time basis at its facility in Shanghai.

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To learn how to submit coins to NGC Shanghai, go to

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