Stack’s Bowers Galleries would be offering interesting Chinese coins from the Republic Era during their August Hong Kong Showcase Auction. One of the coins features a portrait of Yuan Shih-kai wearing his military uniform. The portrait clearly depicts his medals, sash, and epaulets. He is also wearing a high-feathered military hat, which indicates that he led the Chinese Republican military and government. The coin features a signature of the famous engraver Luigi Giorgi, who also headed the Tientsin Mint from 1910-20. This coin is more desirable than the unsigned version.
The reverse features a Chinese inscription that translates to “Republic of China. Coin Commemorative of the Republic.” Another English inscription reads “One Dollar.” Two ornate rosettes sit between the two inscriptions. An open wreath around two Chinese characters translating to “One Yuan”, is featured at the centre.
Yuan Shih-Kai was an important general and politician who brought in various military reforms. He was also greatly responsible for the transition from monarchy to a republic in China. However, rival warlords started competing with each other for power after his death. There were divides in the army during his regime after a point. He also wanted to enthrone himself as emperor, which wasn’t ideal for the Republican movement.
Image Courtesy: Stacks Bowers Galleries