Baldwin’s auction department had a lot to celebrate last Thursday night after the outstanding success of the Hong Kong Coin Auction 50 and the very first Hong Kong Watch Auction. Auction lots were selling for up to 30 times estimate as prices soared for the array of outstanding rarities on offer. The dynamic Baldwin/Ma Tak Wo collaboration achieved an impressive sale total of US$5,468,403, more than double the pre-sale estimate. The sale took a staggering 14 hours to complete as bidders in the room and online battled it out, forcing prices through the roof.
There was no doubt that the Hong Kong Auction 50 was going to be a success with the partnership eager to mark the 25th anniversary of their involvement in the Orient. The coin industry always appreciates material fresh to the market. Many of the coins in this auction came from an old European collection, while much of the balance was consigned by a local Hong Kong collector who had bought most of his coins decades ago, while living in California. Bidders seemed to be out in force and some of the highest prices were paid for rarities and high grade coins in original condition.
The sale was packed full of classic pieces as well as top end rarities, which far exceeded pre-sale expectations. Lot 479 (pictured above), a Hupeh Province silver “Ben Shen” 20-Cents, was the star of the classic rarities cast, a coin so rare that it was missing from all the major Chinese collections sold in recent years. A modest pre-sale estimate of US$40,000-50,000 was smashed with the lot achieving an astounding US$150,000, selling to a Chinese bidder. Other exceptional lots included lot 487, a 1904 Hupeh Province Silver Tael which carried a pre-sale estimate of US$2,000-2,500 but eventually sold in the room for US$65,000; lot 524, a 1900 Kiangnan Province Silver 50-Cents, estimate US$6,500-8,500, sold for US$100,000 and lot 610, a 1908 Kirin Province Silver dollar which achieved an amazing US$150,000 against a pre-sale estimate of US$4,000-5,000. The highest selling coin, lot 914, was proof positive that modern rarities are just as popular as their classic counterparts. The 1999 Gold Proof 2000-Yuan with certificate number 8 (a most auspicious number in Chinese culture) sold for an incredible US$280,000 against a pre-sale estimate of US$200,000–250,000.
Bidding was strong on the first 300 lots of world banknotes which contained a few exceptional pieces. Most notably lot 63, a Deutsche-Asiatische Bank 5-Tael note dated 1 March 1907 which attracted a great deal of pre-sale interest and sold for US$9,000, well over its estimate of US$3,000-4,000. Lot 135 was also of great interest, the pack of 100 consecutive and uncirculated 2-Yuan notes of the People’s Bank of China sold for bang on its top estimate of US$20,000. In the final stages of the auction the World Coin selection didn’t disappoint as buyers from around the world logged in online to keep prices high. Coins worthy of mention include lot