Top 10: Most Valuable Chinese Coins!

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you all may be aware, the Chinese market is currently experiencing a surge in popularity among enthusiasts of antiques and collectibles.

But did you know there are valuable Chinese coins that can cost you $50,000 or more?

Check this article out as we look at ten of the most valuable Chinese coins today!

10 of the Most Valuable Chinese Coins:

China-Kweichow 1928 Auto Silver Dollar

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Now, folks, let me tell you about this here coin from 1928. It’s got quite the tale to tell.

This is a depiction of the only car in the remote Chinese province of Kweichow back in the day.

This coin was struck for the governor of the province, Chou His-cheng.

He had recently instructed the construction of a road in the area as part of an initiative to transport grain and alleviate the famine in the region.

The International Famine Relief Commission partly funded the road.

The car belonged to Governor Chou.

In 1928, there was no mint in Kweichow. Therefore, it is believed by some that the coin must have been produced in Szechuan.

Some people believe it was minted in Kweichow using stolen machinery, which Chou’s soldiers may have taken from the Chungking Mint.

So, we have here a coin that has been graded AU58 by the Professional Coin Grading Service, also known as PCGS.

This coin has been in circulation but has minimal wear on the raised parts.

This item was sold by Champion Auctions, a Hong Kong-based auction house, in 2018. According to the estimate, it ranges from $50,000 to $100,000.

China-Chekiang 1902 20 Cents Silver Proof Pattern

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This coin from Chekiang Province was produced in 1902 by the Heaton Mint in Birmingham, United Kingdom, for China.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a coin with a unique design – the drunken dragon!

This design is exclusive to the Heaton’s coins and is the only one to feature this whimsical creature.

These coins come in different denominations, but only a few of each.

Ladies and gentlemen, this particular example, valued at 20 cents, is one of only six to eight specimens known to exist.

The 10 and 5-cent coins have similar numbers. This coin has been graded SP66 by the PCGS, which indicates that it is a specimen coin.

So, that means it doesn’t quite meet the quality of a proof coin, but it’s still better than your average currency coin made for everyday use.

Out of a total of 70, a score of 66 is given. So basically, the coin is in great condition with only a few minor hairlines or marks that are not very noticeable.

This coin was sold at the 2018 auction along with the Kweichow 1928 Auto silver dollar.

I made $88,000. That might sound like a lot, and it is. If you were to lay your hands on a silver dollar from this identical series, it would be worth a significant amount.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are only two of these in existence, and they both fetched around $1 million during their last sale.

China-Heilungkiang ND (1896) 50 Cents Brass Pattern

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In the early 19th century, they minted many Chinese coins in foreign countries, such as Philadelphia in the US, Birmingham in the UK, and Germany.

This 50-cent coin made of brass was struck using dies made by Otto Beh, a German manufacturer from Esslingen.

I am pleased to inform you that the German patterns of Chinese coins are currently in high demand among collectors. I

n 2021, a 50-cent coin by Beh was up for auction. This coin has been rated MS-62, which means it is in mint state.

It is considered the best example of its kind that exists.

Wow, it’s impressive that the item sold for $140,000, which is well above its pre-sale estimate of $60,000 to $120,000.

China-Kiangnan ND (1897) 20 Cents Silver Pattern

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The 20-cent coin you see here was struck in 1897 for China’s Kiangnan Province.

This is one of the designs that Heaton, the English coin producer, created for the Chinese government.

This was one of the earliest examples of Chinese coins by that manufacturer. It has a stunning and intricate depiction of a dragon.

This is a specimen coin, folks, meaning it’s quite rare and highly sought after by collectors.

This coin received a grade of 67 from the PCGS, which is considered excellent as it is close to the maximum grade of 70.

In 2018, it was put up for sale in Hong Kong with an estimated price range of $40,000 to $80,000.

It nearly reached the top of the range at the event and was sold for $78,000.

Republic of China ND (1916) Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Silver, Hat Touching Brim

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Ah, I see that this particular coin, valued at one dollar, was created to commemorate the crowning of Yuan Shi Kai as Emperor Hung Hsien.

The actual date of the coin is uncertain. It seems that the coin was not produced until some time later, as an authoritative 1917 article on Chinese coins does not mention its existence.

Various theories abound. Everyone agrees that the coin was made after Yuan Shi Kai’s death between 1917 and 1920. This coin, my friends, was even more mysterious.

Well, you see, this particular Yuan Shi Kai dollar is unique in that the emperor’s hat is touching the rim of the coin, unlike most others.

This is believed to be an experimental piece and quite rare.

The item was last put up for sale at an auction in 2021. Ladies and gentlemen, the guide price for the item in question was $60,000 to $120,000.

However, I must inform you that the competition among bidders was intense.

And the winning bid, ladies and gentlemen, was $420,000. So, folks, just to clarify, the collector who emerged victorious had to shell out an additional $105,000 for the buyer’s premium.

The Republic of China 1916 Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Silver, Flying Dragon

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It’s worth noting that the collectability of the one-dollar coins dated 1916 and featuring Yuan Shi Kai has been observed.

This second example, ladies and gentlemen, also came up for auction in 2021.

This one was a tad bit different. So, as you can see, there’s a noticeable gap between the brim of the coin and the top of Yuan’s hat.

On the other side, we have a flying dragon depicted with great delicacy and detail.

This coin has been rated MS64 by the Numismatic Guaranty Company, making it the finest known example.

For us collectors of Chinese coins, this is a highly sought-after specimen.

I would say, The pre-sale estimate for this item was between $200,000 to $400,000.

However, as the auction commenced, that estimation was quickly surpassed. And the hammer price, ladies and gentlemen, was $520,000.

So, the winning bidder, you know, would have had to pay a buyer’s premium of 25 percent, which would bring the total to an astonishing $650,000.

The Republic of China 1929 S. Y. S Globe Dollar Silver Pattern

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The coin you see here, dated 1939, is the very first Chinese coin showcasing a map or globe in its design.

On one side, you can see two flags crossed above a globe. And this one, here, carries the portrait of Sun Yat Sen.

It is believed by some that the coin was struck at the Tientsin Mint, and there is a possibility that the dies used were produced overseas.

In September 1929, a Chinese Economic Bulletin reported that the National Treasury was seeking bids from foreign producers for four coins that featured Sun Yat Sen.

It is possible that this design was one of them. Let me inform you that only a few specimens of this particular coin variety have been discovered, and each one is unique.

This coin was graded MS65 by the NGC and was put up for auction in 2016.

Ladies and gentlemen, the hammer price for this item has been set at $400,000.

The successful bidder will also be required to pay a buyer’s premium of 21 percent.

Republic of China ND (1912) Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Brass

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This fascinating coin, my friends, is believed to be a trial piece.

On one side, we have a portrait that was believed to be of Ch’eng Te-ch’uan, the former governor of Kiangsu Province, until 1911.

After many years, we discovered that it depicts Yuan Shi Kai instead.

Yuan served as both a military and government official during the Qing dynasty.

He first attempted to save the dynasty by implementing modernizing reforms, but eventually, he became instrumental in compelling the emperor to step down.

After negotiations, he became the first-ever president of the Republic of China in 1912.

This coin has more than one mystery to it, as the identity of the portrait sitter is not the only one.

Many believe it was produced at the Soochow Mint, considered less significant.

It’s possible that the political turmoil during that period led to this situation, as two different governments were vying for control of China.

Let me tell you that this coin right here is the only one of its kind that has been certified by an independent coin grading specialist.

And this is the finest known example. In 2015, this item was put up for auction and sold for $345,000.

The Republic of China 1914 Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Silver with Signature

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This 1914 coin holds value not just for its historical importance but also for the prestige of its engraver.

This coin bears the signature of L. Giorgi, who happens to be an Italian and is widely recognized as the most renowned engraver of Chinese coins.

We have here a coin that has been graded SP65 by the NGC.

It is, without a doubt, the finest known specimen in existence.

Unsurprisingly, there was intense competition when it was put up for sale in 2021. So, it was eventually sold for $420,000.

The Republic of China 1932 Sen Yat Sen Gold Standard 10 Cents Silver Pattern

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This 1932 coin holds a significant place in history as it was one of the earliest coins ever produced by the Shanghai Mint.

This version of the 10 cents coin is known as the “gold standard,” it bears the portrait of Sen Yat Sen.

This silver plain edge variant is truly one of the finest coins in this series, folks. And we know of only four examples that exist.

This is the best quality, graded MS63 by the NGC.

In 2021, the item was put up for auction and sold for a hammer price of $210,000, along with a 25% buyer’s premium.

It was comfortably above the pre-sale estimate of $60,000 to $120,000.

Before you go…

That’s our list! The coins on this list are some of the most valuable Chinese coins you can find. These are great options if you’re looking for something to add to your collection.

Check out my next article: “11 Japanese Coins You Should Add to Your Collection!

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