A Gold British Trade Dollar sold for US$236,000 at the Hong Kong Coin Auction 57 last week, bringing the auction total to US$2,513,400, almost three times the pre-sale estimate. A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd
and local auction partner Ma Tak Wo Numismatic Co Ltd saw prices rocket to new heights during this most recent specialised offering, which contained several significant collections. The large number of items achieving prices many times the estimate and contributing to such an incredible auction total is indicative of the strength of Baldwins position in the marketplace compared to other auction houses in a market that remains strong only at the upper level.
Trade Coinage was issued by Britain to facilitate the lucrative trade of exotic and luxury goods with Mainland China following the two Opium Wars. Produced for circulation in silver, an Eastern preference, the coinage was innovative as it included three languages, English, Malay and Chinese.
This superb Gold example of the Trade Coinage is a special striking for presentation purposes, of which as few as six are thought to exist. This Dollar, produced at the Bombay Mint, is the best preserved coin of its type known to exist. As a result it initiated a bidding battle between several room bidders who were left to spectate as two keen live internet bidders drove the price from US$120,000 to US$236,000 from the comfort of their homes. [Lot 1052]
The coin was from the collection of exacting buyer Johanna Austin. She had a particular interest in trade coins, with her collection spanning all the nations who produced them. The proceeds from the sale of Austin's collection will go to support the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, England.
Also from her collection was a Victoria, Silver Proof ½-Dollar, 1866. Dwarfing the US$15,000-20,000 pre-sale estimate, the coin sold for US$106,200. [Lot 603]
Prices also soared over estimate for the Chinese coins in the Åke Lindén collection. One prized coin from his collection included the Silver Pattern 10-Cents CD1900, from the Peking Mint. An old restrike from original dies, this example was in a PCGS holder, graded SP61 and it sold for US$82,600 [Lot 284]. Also from his collection and the Peking Mint was a Silver Pattern 5Cents that sold for US$82,600 [Lot 282].
Highlights from the lots entered in the auction by other collectors include a Tsao Kun Gold Dollar from 1922 that sold for US$88,500 [Lot 505] and a Hsu Shih-Chang Gold Dollar, 1921, that sold for US$82,600 [Lot 494].
The auction was on Thursday 21 August 2014 in Hong Kong.