NGC-certified Chinese Vintage Rarities Excel in September Stephen Album Sale

Posted on 10/2/2020

Two spectacular silver dollar Specimens realized over twice their pre-sale estimates.

A pair of exceptional Chinese silver coins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) excelled in the Stephen Album Rare Coins Auction 38 that was held September 24-27, 2020. The two top lots of the sale were both Specimen Year 29 (1903) Chihli “Period After Yang” L&M-462 Silver Dollars. The NGC-certified Specimen 65 had an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000 and realized $202,300, while the other graded NGC Specimen 64+ had an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000 and realized $166,600.

China 1903 Chihli “Period After Yang” L&M-462 Silver Dollar, graded NGC SP 65 and pedigreed to Richard Bagge
Click images to enlarge.

Specimens are coins specially struck to produce a bolder and more lustrous finish than what is typically found in circulation strikes. These two Specimens are model examples, exhibiting outstanding surfaces and original toning.

These are the only known Specimens or Proofs of this issue. They are pedigreed to Richard Bagge, Consul-General for Sweden who worked in Shanghai circa 1906 and were inherited by his son, Ragnvald Richardson Bagge (1903-1991) who was a Swedish diplomat.

The set was designed to feature the obverse and reverse simultaneously, which is evidenced by their matching toning patterns. To illustrate this, they would display one of the coins dragon side up and the other dragon side down. They were likely stored in the same presentation case for decades.

These silver dollars were specially struck from the same early-die states by the Peiyang mint, possibly to celebrate the mint's reopening in 1903 after the Boxer Rebellion ended. Early die-states usually had heavy design transfer, which occurs when the planchets are struck with extreme pressure, transferring a faint image of the obverse onto the reverse.

However, these two rarities are extremely well-preserved with clear lines and minimal damage or erosion. Likewise, the rims are in much better condition than what is commonly found on Chinese silver dollar business strikes of this era.

“We are thrilled when the auction results complement the value and rarity of the coins,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “These are truly special vintage Chinese coins and exciting additions to any numismatist’s collection.”

Other NGC-certified highlights include:

Prices realized include buyer's premium and applicable fees & taxes.

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