Baldwin for Norman Jacobs. He paid US$2,100 for the item that was sold in 2008 for US$40,000 and last week made an astonishing US$129,800. Another incredible example of the surge in the market is lot 691, a Sun Yat-Sen Pattern Silver 50-Cents, Year 18. Made in Vienna this junk dollar was first purchased from the famous Kann collection in 1972 for US$90, it sold through the Hong Kong Coin Auction in 2008 for US$65,000, it opened last week at US$90,000, 1,000 times the amount it was bought for in 1972, and sold for an amazing US$188,800.
Lot 326, a long whisker dragon Silver Pattern Dollars from the Central mint at Tientsin, was the second of four examples included in the sale. Edward Baldwin, Chairman of Baldwin’s and A.H. Baldwin & Sons Oriental specialists commented prior to the sale that (including these four items) he had only ever encountered five examples of this pattern coin in his 40 years in the industry. It was therefore no surprise that this piece sold for an exceptional US$236,000 against an estimate of US$40,000-50,000.
Interesting and unusual lots dotted throughout the auction proved to be incredibly popular with buyers. The first of this kind was lot 241, an Eastern Han Bronze Mirror. Decorated with auspicious mythical beasts and ornate linked arcs on one side, the other is smooth and would have been polished to produce a reflection. This very special lot, estimated at US$500-600 sold for US$5,900. Lot 343, a General Issues, Pattern Silver Mace came with an interesting and highly regarded provenance as it was sold as part of the 1954 Farouk Collection through Sotheby’s in Cairo. This legendary collection was famously catalogued by Fred Baldwin of A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd, with the assistance of Fred’s nephew Albert (father of current Chairman Edward Baldwin.) The cataloguing took place in Cairo, under military guard and in a very short period of time. The lot was estimated at US10,000-15,000 and, although bidding slowed temporarily at US$14,000 the lot finally achieved a staggering US$51,920. Lot 950, a rare lot with wonderful historical resonance, sold in the room for US$165,200. The 1867 Victoria Silver Pattern 1-Tael was created as an attempt to bridge the gap between British and Chinese coin standards. The obverse of the coin depicts Queen Victoria with a key pattern design and the reverse Chinese characters.
High grade coins were plentiful in this sale and the common types in the highest grades really showed their worth with a number selling for well over pre-sale estimates. Lot 311, Lots 517 and 533, a Kwangtung Province Copper 10-Cash, and a Kwangtung Province Silver 10-Cents, were the two best examples selling for US$2,360 and US$33,040 respectively. Lot 517 carried an estimate of US$100-150 and lot 533 was estimated at US$2,200-2,800. Lot 840, a Yuan Shih-Kai Gold Dollar (1916) a good quality piece, sold for double the bottom estimate of US20,000 for a spectacular US$44,840 and lot 1049, an 1886 Korean Yi-Hong Copper-gilt Pattern sold for US$14,160 against