Top 25 Most Commonly Counterfeited Chinese Coins

According to Submissions to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)

1. Year 23 (1934) Junk L&M-110 Dollar

The first coin on this list comes as no surprise to many. The Year 23 (1934) “Junk” Dollar, named for the ship on its reverse is among the most abundant of all Chinese Republic silver dollar-sized issues. Well over 100 million were struck, including 30 million minted in 1949, but all dated Year 23, by United States Mints. Read more >

2. Year 3 (1914) Yuan Shih-Kai L&M-63 Dollar

This is the first year of issue of the Yuan Shih-Kai dollar series. The original dies were engraved at the Tientsin Mint by L. Giorgi, and scarce patterns versions of this issue include his name. While the characters for ‘Year 3’ appear in the obverse legend, coins of 1914 are very easy to identify because they have six characters; later issues have seven. Read more >

3. 1927 Memento L&M-49 Dollar

This 1927 Memento Dollar is actually a re-issue of a 1912 commemorative coin, distinguished by the rosettes that appears on either side of MEMENTO. The earlier, original issue had five-pointed stars. They were first re-struck in 1927 to replace the Yuan Shih-Kai dollar in circulation and again in 1949 by the Canton Mint in an effort to support paper money. Neither effort was particularly successful. Read more >

4. Year 9 (1920) Yuan Shih-Kai L&M-77 Dollar

Unfortunately, all dates and varieties of the Yuan Shih-Kai dollar have been counterfeited. Read more >

5. Year 3 (1911) L&M-37 Dollar

Among the last of the Imperial issues, this issue showcases a highly refined dragon among the clouds. The dies were prepared by Luigi Giorgi at the Tientsin Mint, and coins were struck there, at Nanking and at Wuchang. Although a high mintage issue, these attractive dollar coins are very scarce and desirable in high grade. Read more >

6. Year 34 (1908) Chihli L&M-465 Dollar

Struck during the final year of reign of Kuang Hsu, this seemingly local issue made at Pei Yang Arsenal Mint was also restruck during the Republic-era, and thus is readily available. Collectors have focused intense interest on die varieties of this issue, some of which command substantial premiums. Read more >

7. 1916 Hung Hsien L&M-942 Dollar

This fantastic design pairs a forward-facing bust of Hung Hsien in military uniform wearing high-plumed hat. Originally thought to be struck in 1916 to commemorate his enthronement as emperor, new research suggests these were struck after Yuan Shih-Kai’s death as a quasi-commemorative, or non-circulating issue. Read more >

8. (1908) L&M-11 Dollar

Struck in effort to establish a unified coinage of the central mint, this issue was made in large number. It is part of a series with 10 cent and 20 cent silver coins as well. Read more >

9. Year 17 (1928) Kweichow L&M-609 Dollar

This very popular one-year type coin was struck to commemorate the construction of the first road in Kweichow Province. The car portrayed was an American model that belonged to the Governor, and the only car in the region. For many years it was uncertain where these coins were struck, as no Mint existed in Kweichow, but new scholarly research suggests these coins were in fact struck locally using equipment pilfered from a neighboring province. Read more >

10. 1914 L&M-858 Dollar

This attractive coin was struck from one of three designs created in 1914 by L. Giorgi at the Tientsin Mint. It is found with two flan thicknesses, 2.8 mm and 3.25 mm. The thin variety was the issue struck for circulation in 1914 with a mintage of 20,000 pieces. The thick version is a circa 1918 restrike made for collectors. Historically, there was no value difference between these two types, but interest in Chinese coinage varieties continues to grow. Read more >

11. Year 21 (1932) Junk L&M-108 Dollar

Often called the “Birds over Junk” Dollar because of the three wild geese flying above the ship on reverse, this coin is a one-year type. The design was changed largely to remove the rising sun which was equated to the national symbol of Japan. Over two million were struck. Once considered a relatively common coin, they have increased significantly in value in recent years as demand has grown. Read more >

12. Year 8 (1919) Yuan Shih-kai L&M-76 Dollar

This is the “key date” Yuan Shih-Kai dollar, and becomes particularly valuable in choice uncirculated and better grades, reaching into five figures. Read more >

13. Year 3 (1914) Yüan Shih-Kai L&M-64 50 Cents

This is the half-dollar sized version of the 1914 Yuan Shih-Kai Dollar that features rather prominently on this list. Smaller 10 cent and 20 cent denominations were also struck. Read more >

14. 1912 L&M-45 Dollar

This dollar from 1912 is part of the same series as the Memento dollar, commemorating the founding of the new Republic. Two versions show Li Yuanhong, one wearing a hat and this bareheaded version, which is somewhat more common than its counterpart. Read more >

15. 2000 Silver Panda 10 Yuan

This one-ounce silver Panda is called the “Mirrored Ring” variety. Coins issued in 2000 come in versions with both a mirrored or frosted ring around the Temple of Heaven. It’s a popular type with collectors that commands a significant premium and has been widely counterfeited. Read more >

16. 1898 Kiangnan L&M-217 Dollar

Struck at the newly formed Nanking Mint, these coins are often called Kiangnan Cyclical Date Dollars. Two characters at 3:00 and 9:00 indicate the date in the 60-year Chinese Calendar. This coin from 1898 (or year Earth and Dog in the cycle) is the first year of issue of the type. Many varieties exist. Read more >

17. (1895-1907) Hupeh L&M-182 Dollar

This issue, with a reported mintage of nearly 20 million pieces, is one of the most common of all “Dragon Dollars.” They are frequently encountered with small chopmarks as, to encourage circulation, the Provincial government set up a public testing office to help introduce the coins to the public. Read more >

18. 1923 Tsao Kun Military Uniform L&M-959 Dollar

Tsao Kun was president of the Republic of China for a little over one year starting in 1923. Soon after his elevation, he commissioned a pair of silver coins. One shows the ruler in civilian dress and commemorates the new constitution. The second, this coin, shows Tsao Kun in military dress and recognizes his successful election. Read more >

19. Year 3 (1914) L&M-63C Dollar

The Yuan Shih-Kai dollar was minted in enormous numbers in 1914 and later years with the goal of replacing earlier coin types and foreign trade dollars in circulation. Numerous varieties exist, including this enigmatic issue which has a small circle within the upper left (facing) bow on reverse. Its purpose is uncertain. Many now believe that it was added to the die to denote a later striking in Shenyang to stabilize the economy during crisis. Read more >

20. (1909-11) Hupeh L&M-187 Dollar

Very similar to the (1895-1907) L&M-182 that also appears on this list, with the insertion of the emperor Hsuan-tung (Xuantong) in the obverse legends. Read more >

21. Year 1 (1912) Szechuan L&M-366 Dollar

In 1912, new military rule overtook the Chengdu Mint and renamed it the Szechuan Mint. Not necessarily intended to be a “provincial issue,” the reverse design (shown as the obverse above to reflect the way this coin is encapsulated by NGC) has 18 rings, one for each province in China. The character in the center, rendered in seal script, is Han, the emblem of the new government. Read more >

22. Year 10 (1921) Yuan Shih-Kai L&M-79 Dollar

This coin is from the final year of issue of this emblematic coin showing Yuan Shih-Kai in profile. While not a particularly rare date, this series is collected by date and type, and choice uncirculated examples are always in demand. Read more >

23. 1904 Hupeh L&M-180 Tael

This One Tael dollar-sized coin of Hupeh Province was issued during the 30th year of Kuang Hsu’s reign, largely for local use. It has a very distinctive two dragon design which appears only infrequently on coinage. Like earlier issues of Hupeh, it failed to find acceptance in circulation and was discontinued. This is a popular and valuable one-year type. Read more >

24. Year 3 (1911) L&M-41 10 Cents

This small silver coin is among the last of the Imperial issues struck in the name of the child ruler. It features a wonderfully rendered dragon that also appears on larger silver coins of this year and a very scarce provincial Republic issue from Hunan. The only relatively affordable version, however, is available on this coin, making it very popular with collectors. Read more >

25. Year 3 (1914) Kansu Yuan Shih-Kai L&M-617 Dollar

The newly formed China Republic sought to standardize its coinage, introducing this new portrait of Yuan Shih-Kai in 1914 for coinage produced countrywide. This version, however, includes two characters on either side of portrait to indicate that it was produced in Kansu Province, an addition that displeased the central government. The characters were removed before the coin went into wide-scale production. Read more >