On 4th April, Champion Hong Kong Auctions sold a rare 1916 Hat Touching Rim Flying Dragon dollar, graded MS 63 by NGC, issued for Yuan Shi Kai, for $72,000 U.S. Only two such coins have been graded in Uncirculated grades by NGC.
Experts speculate on two different reasons for the issuance of this coin. Some say that it was issued when Yuan Shih Kai became the king of Hung Hsien. Others believe that the coin was created after the Italian engraver, L. Giorgi, left China in 1917. Giorgi had also created dies for a gold $10 coin featuring the same design before he left. Six Chinese engravers worked under Giorgi. Yuan Shih Kai died in 1915. In 1919, Tientsin Mint Director Li Pai-ch’ asked the Chinese engravers to produce a dollar die with the same design.
T’ang Shang-chin produced the best die. An obverse die that Giorgi had engraved in 1914 was used along with the newly produced die to mint Yuan Shih Kai Flying Dragon dollars. These were commemorative coins made for collectors.
Image Courtesy: Champion Hong Kong Auctions