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The New Most Valuable Chinese Coin Sold at Auction


China Fengtien (1903) Tael Kann-931i LM-486, PCGS AU55. Courtesy of PCGS. Click image to enlarge.

The 1903 Fengtien Tael, considered the King of Chinese coins, continues its reign setting a new record price of 46,575,000 RMB, or over $6.9 million USD. The Fengtien tael dated (1903) has always been a mysterious and very desired coin. The coin was first displayed at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States. It was this display that inspired Catalogue of the Collection of Chinese Exhibits at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition and through which Chinese coin expert and author Eduard Kann and others would learn of the coin’s very existence.

The coin, minted by the Mukden (Fengtien) Mint, is now believed to be struck as a pattern with only one or two examples minted. The survival of the coin was in question until 1952 when Kann got a rubbing of an example from someone in Hong Kong. An offer of $2,000 USD was made to purchase the coin and accepted, allowing Kann to add the coin to his personal collection. The next sale would be in the estate of Kann in 1971, where it would be purchased by Irving Goodman for $3,000. When the Irving Goodman collection was sold in 1991 the coin set a new record for Chinese coins of $187,000. After the 1991 sale it was disclosed that the winner was willing to spend up to $500,000 to purchase this coin.

The Fengtien tael when certified in 2012. Courtesy of PCGS. Click image to enlarge.

The (1903) Fengtien Tael was first graded by PCGS in 2012. The coin was graded AU55 and at the time had an insurance value of $5 million USD. The coin made its latest auction appearance on August 12, 2022, as lot 2562 in the Beijing ChengXuan Auction. It sold for a price of 46,575,000 RMB, or over $6.9 million USD, making the coin the new most valuable Chinese coin.

History Auction Results China