Chris Chatigny of Stack's Bowers published an item on the company blog about an interesting coin, the Kweichow Bamboo Dollar. No,
it's not made of bamboo... -Editor
According to Kann, the famous “Bamboo Dollar” from Kweichow province resulted from rampant inflation in the 1940s that devalued paper
currency in China leading some provinces to begin minting their own metallic money. Minted in the “38th year of the Republic” (1949) this
beautifully designed coin shows an incredible level of artistry and very little circulation.
Part of the reasoning behind the scarcity of this piece is the historical events unfolding around the time period. In late 1945 the
Chinese Civil War resumed, with the communist forces controlling Beijing and other major Kuomintang cities passing to Communist control. As
these were minted during this tumultuous period (under the Republican government) these coins were often buried (leading to often seen
corrosion on this issue), hidden away in stashes (providing excellent collectible examples) or simply destroyed by the communist government
and repurposed. As such, this coinage type from the twilight of the mainland Republic of China is exceedingly scarce and stands among
classic Chinese numismatic treasures.
The obverse design features a stunning image of an iconic three story Chinese pavilion known by the name Jiaxiu Tower (First Scholar’s
Tower). The name Jiaxiu hails from the Ming dynasty era when the tower was built and means “getting the very best in Imperial
examinations.” The building was provided as a place to live study for these “number one scholars,” and records indicate that three such
officials have honored the city by residing there. Standing at 66 feet high the tower is adorned with green tiles, red pillars,
artistically engraved windows and stunning white stone parapets.
The initials “TLK” appear just below the door of the pavilion and are speculated to refer to the engraver of the coin. Two varieties
exist for this “Bamboo Dollar,” identified by the window in the top story, with this being the “round window” variety. A wonderfully ornate
border surrounds the Jiaxiu Tower on bridge design, with descriptive legends around. The upper legend states: “38th Year of the Republic of
China” which means the year 1949. Beautiful rosettes separate the upper legend from the lower legend: “Made in Kweichow Province.”
The reverse design offers this coin its informal title of “Bamboo Dollar”; three stems of bamboo with leaves are encompassed by a
saw-tooth border, followed by a beaded border and finally a crenulated outer border. The Chinese characters for “One Dollar” appear at
either side of the Bamboo image. This example is tied with two other examples at this grade level with only three pieces certified finer by
either PCGS or NGC.
Look for this and other world numismatic rarities in our upcoming December Hong Kong Showcase Auction.
Nice coin. I've never seen one of these. -Editor
To read the complete lot description, see:
CHINA. Kweichow. Dollar,
ND (1949). PCGS AU-50 Secure Holder. (www.stacksbowers.com/BrowseAuctions/LotDetail/tabid/
To read the complete article, see:
High Grade Kweichow Bamboo Dollar (www.stacksbowers.com/NewsMedia/Blogs/TabId/780/ArtMID/
Wayne Homren, Editor
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