Auction News

$700,000 sale expected for ultra rare Chinese coins 


2000 yuan seismograph gold coin
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Chinese gold coins from the 1992 Inventions and Discoveries series are predicted to realise $680,000 to $700,000 at auction in Hong Kong next week. 

Buyers will need to meet a $340,000 minimum to compete for the two People’s Republic of China 2000 Yuan (1 Kilo) pieces celebrating Chinese inventions. 

The first is a proof celebrating the earthquake-detecting seismograph invented in AD 132 by Zhang Heng. It reportedly picked up a quake at a distance of 400 miles. 

The 80 mm-diameter gold coin weighs 32 oz. As few as 10 and a maximum of 16 of these coins were minted. 

There is only one previous known sale of the coin, in 2003. 

The coin’s condition is attractive. 

Heritage Auctions, who are handling the sale, say: “An incredibly satisfying selection broadcasting glorious resplendence and mirroring depth to the virtually pristine fields.” 

Zhang Heng is a well known historical figure in China. Here he is on a 1955 stamp issue.

Zhang Heng is a popular figure in China. In 2018 a satellite was just the latest object to be named in his honour. 

The other coin is a proof 2000 Yuan (1 Kilo) “Compass” piece from the same series. It has an “ultra cameo” condition rating to record the high level of frosting on its raised elements. 

Heritage says: “One of three examples certified at this top pop grade at NGC, our offering exhibits the highest technical quality one could expect from this type, a fact we expect to be matched with fierce bidding activity on the block.” 

A third Kilo is expected to reach a value of $580,000 to $600,000. 

The collected images of lunar astrological symbols is very attractive for buyers.

It is a 1992 “Completion of Lunar Cycle” coin with a mintage of 20. The design, marking the end of a series of lunar new year coins, shows the preceding 12 designs. 

It is a gold coin of 100mm diameter, weighing 32.117oz. 

These proof coins made for collectors are enormously attractive. They carry substantial amounts of gold, but their value far surpasses the current price of around £60,000 for a kilo of gold. 

Their condition, their rarity, their attractive design and their cultural weight will all bring in bidders in Hong Kong. 

Some similar Chinese pieces have shown explosive growth. A 2,000 Yuan 1996 Unicorn issue has risen nearly 20% in the past three years.

As the Compass coin has already met its opening bid total of $340,000 these coins seem likely to add to that encouraging record.

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