‘Long-Whiskered Dragon’ Dollar Flies to $690,000, Bringing the Heat to Heritage’s $9.7 Million HKINF World Coins Platinum Event

6 billion Yuan, the largest-denomination Chinese banknote, brings $78,000 to top $1.5 million World Paper Money auction

by Heritage Auctions | Published on June 26, 2023

DALLAS, Texas (June 26, 2023) – A Hsüan-t’ung silver Specimen Pattern “Long-Whiskered Dragon” Dollar Year 3 (1911) SP63 NGC sold for $690,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ HKINF World Coins Platinum Session and Signature ® Auction - Hong Kong to $9,675,525 June 21-23.

The result followed the June 20 HKINF World Paper Money Signature® Auction - Hong Kong auction that finished at $1,503,400, bringing the combined total for the two events, each of which included multiple new records, to $11,178,925.

The event, according to Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President of International Numismatics Cris Bierrenbach, trumpted both the demand for elite world and ancient coins, and also Heritage’s position as the world’s premier numismatic auctioneer.

“This event was another fantastic Hong Kong showing that not only confirms the state of the market,” he said, “but also that Heritage continues to bring world record prices for world-class material.”

That the Long-Whiskered Dragon Dollar finished atop the list of the auction’s top results was anything but surprising. This magnificent coin is among the famed Pattern issues of Luigi Giorgi that are so popular among collectors, many of whom consider them to be Holy Grail-caliber trophies among Chinese numismatics. Most coveted among Pattern dollars are those from 1911, the final year of the Qing Dynasty. Another Giorgi-designed masterpiece drew the auction’s second-highest winning bid when a Republic Yuan Shih-kai silver Specimen Pattern “L. Giorgi” Dollar Year 3 (1914) SP63 NGC went for $408,000.

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China:Shantung, China: Shantung. Republic gold Pattern "Dragon & Phoenix" 20 Dollars 1926 MS64★ NGC,...

A Shantung. Republic gold Pattern “Dragon & Phoenix” 20 Dollars 1926 MS64 NGC more than tripled its pre-auction estimate when it rode 25 bids to a final result of $372,000. This example is one of only a handful of 20 Dollar Patterns that have surfaced in the last couple of decades, the last at Heritage being the MS64 2014 Ultima specimen.

The event included three Kweichow “Auto” dollars, a trio that was led by a spectacular Kweichow. Republic “Auto” Dollar Year 17 (1928) MS62 NGC that set a world record when it drew a winning bid of $336,000. Tied for the second-finest of the type, it was commissioned by governor Chow Hsi-chen to commemorate the completion of the first provincial highway in Kweichow, this issue departed from tradition by featuring the governor’s car as the centerpiece of its design, a declaration not only of the import of Chinese modernization efforts, but of their successful execution.

Three Hong Kong Dollars reached new records, as well — tops among them a British Colony. Victoria Dollar 1868 MS64 NGC that was the top certified 1868 Silver Dollar and got a winning bid of $312,000. A British Colony. Victoria silver Proof Pattern Dollar 1865 PR65 NGC climbed to $240,000, while a British Colony. Victoria Proof Dollar 1866 PR65 Cameo NGC closed at a record $216,000.

Another exceptional coin that brought a record price was a Hunan. Kuang-hsü silver Specimen Pattern 50 Cents ND (1898) SP55 NGC, Heaton mint, KM-Pn2, L&M-379, Kann-Unl., WS-0890, Wenchao-788 (rarity 5 stars) , which brought a winning bid of $204,000. Beautiful and elusive, this is one of just six examples produced as trials by the Heaton mint, further confirmed by extensive research on the topic produced upon the most recent sale of the Goodman example in 2020.

Other record-setting results included, but were not limited to:

A Hsüan-t'ung 10 Cents Year 3 (1911) MS68 PCGS: $90,000

A Charles I gold Unite ND (1637-1642) MS63 NGC: $49,200

A Kiangsi. Republic Fantasy Dollar 1912-Dated MS63 NGC: $25,200

With nearly 1,200 lots sold, the event produced countless other lots that yielded exceptional results, including but not limited to:

A Republic Yuan Shih-kai gold Specimen Pattern "Plumed Hat" Dollar ND (1916) MS62 NGC : $312,000

A Kuang-hsü gold Pattern Kuping Tael (Liang) 1907 MS61 NGC: $312,000

One of just three certified examples of a People’s Republic gold Proof Scalloped “Year of the Monkey” 10000 Yuan (Kilo) 2004 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC : $180,000

The finest certified People’s Republic gold Proof Scalloped “Year of the Dog” 10000 Yuan (Kilo) 2006 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC : $180,000

One of just 15 examples struck of a People’s Republic gold Proof Scalloped “Year of the Rooster” 10000 Yuan (Kilo) 2005 PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC : $162,000

Complete results from the World Coins event can be found at HA.com/3108 .

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World Currency, China Sinkiang Provincial Bank 6,000,000,000 Yuan = 10,000 Gold Yuan Pick S1797 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ..

World Paper Money

Sometimes, a huge-denomination note generates huge demand.

A Chinese Sinkiang Provincial Bank 6,000,000,000 Yuan = 10,000 Gold Yuan Pick S1797 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ , the largest known denomination for any Chinese banknote, drew the largest result ever when it more than doubled its pre-auction estimate, ending at $78,000. Few examples of this high denomination from the 1949 Gold Yuan issue exist due to the combination of the purchasing power of this note at the time and the short lifespan of the bank, and even with that limited available, this example stands out, as one of just two registered in Uncirculated condition in the PMG Population Report.

The magnificent 6 billion Yuan banknote was one of many that established enjoyed record results, a list that included many of the notes that brought in the top results.

“Inflationary currency is of great interest to collectors because of the staggeringly large denominations used to keep these economies moving,” said Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “Most often, inflationary currency continues to decline in value, the old notes rendered worthless without redemption status. When rendered useless, the public still holds the notes in hopes that they are monetized again, or gain value. They stick around a long time. This issue is anything but: few were saved, and only a handful are known to collectors today. It is the rarest and most desirable of all inflationary notes.”

A People’s Bank of China 3 Yuan 1953 Pick 868 S/M#C283-12 PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ , an uncirculated version of this rare and short-lived note also more than doubled its pre-auction estimate when it finished at a record $66,000. The result is befitting of this magnificent note, which is exceptionally difficult to find in such a high grade; its elusiveness is a result, in part, of its introduction as a sign of friendship between China and the Soviet Union. The plates were manufactured in the Soviet Union; due to the Sino-Soviet Split, the design was not renewed, which only increase its collectability.

A pair of Straits Settlements notes — a Government of the Straits Settlements 100 Dollars 1.2.1901 Pick 4C PMG Choice Fine 15 and a Government of the Straits Settlements 50 Dollars 1.2.1901 Pick 4A KNB8 PMG Very Fine 20 — also established new records when they brought matching $66,000 results. The noteswere two of eight Straits Settlements lots in the auction, a group that likely is the finest selection ever offered at auction from the group of British territories located in Southeast Asia, on and around the Malay Peninsula, that was established in 1826 and eventually dissolved in 1946.

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World Currency, China Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, Peking 100 Dollars 1.7.1914 Pick S277r S/M#T101-24 Remainder PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ..

The single finest graded example of a China Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, Peking 100 Dollars 1.7.1914 Pick S277r S/M#T101-24 Remainder PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ (30L) in the PMG Population Report brought nearly twice its pre-auction estimate when it sold for $55,200. The Deutsch-Asiatische Bank was the first large non-British bank to operate in China, and in 1906 was granted permission to issue banknotes, which led to a variety of denominations that were printed and issued over the next decade via branches in Hankow, Peking, Shanghai and Tientsin, as well as in Kiau Chau.

Yet another record fell when the only known Remainder example graded in the PMG Population Report of a China Netherlands Trading Society 5 Dollars 1.1.1909 Pick S458r S/M#S51-2 Remainder PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ reached $33,600. With its roots in a 19th-century Dutch venture in Hong Kong, the Netherlands Trading Society only issued banknotes in two series: 1909 and 1922. Issuance was small, making issued banknotes, Specimen and Remainders very rare. It is fully printed, with a date and serial numbers, but it was never signed and issued.

Other top lots in the HKINF World Paper Money Signature® Auction included, but were not limited to:

A China Netherlands Trading Society, Shanghai 50 Dollars 1.1.1922 Pick S460s S/M#S51 Specimen PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 : $21,600

A China Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, Chefoo 5 Dollars 1.9.1922 Pick S316a S/M#Y13 PMG Choice About Unc 58 EPQ : $21,600

A Straits Settlements Government of the Straits Settlements 100 Dollars 1.2.1901 Pick 4Cx Contemporary Counterfeit PMG Choice Fine 15 : $19,200

A Hong Kong Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. 100 Dollars 1.1.1901 Pick 153s KNB41S Specimen PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 : $19,200

A rarely seen Great Britain Bank of England Treasury Bill 10 Million Pounds 8.9.2003 Pick Unlisted PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 : $18,600

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Source: Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions image Heritage Auctions is the largest collectibles auctioneer and third largest auction house in the world, as well as the largest auction house founded in the U.S. We are also the undisputed Internet leader in our field, with more than 1 million online bidder-members registered on HA.com.

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