Republican Era Chinese Fantasy Coins

I have come into a possession of a large number of early 20th Century Chinese fantasy coins and replicas, beautifully bound in certificated and numbered albums.

Although individual coins test as silver using an acid scratch plate they are in fact not pure silver as do not have the proper specific gravity. A coin dealer in Toronto had never seen anything like them but informed me they were struck coins, felt they were antique and not modern fakes.

Provenance is good as regards their Republican era production date as they come from a collection which was put together in the 50's, 60's and 70's in Hong Kong by a collector whose descendants are now liquidating his collection (which included many other items of interest.

The certificates list individual set number and size of the issue ranging from 5000 sets for the smallest albums (a replica of the 1900 Peking dollar as below), priced at 1280 Yuan



The larger sets were issued in much smaller editions of 1000 sets priced at 1980 Yuan and upwards.

What would be the best way to offer these sets to modern collectors? Does anyone on this site know of dealers who specialise in antique fantasy coins? All items (except the small samples sacrificed in testing are in BU condition, sealed into the albums behind acetate.

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  • Difficulties selling this set include (1) assurance of authenticity (no fakes), which pervade Chinese numismatics, and (2) estimation of value. The history and packaging helps substantially with number (1), but number (2) is real trouble. Some genuine 'fantasy' pieces sell for $1 US dollar, others for thousands of dollars. The knowledge base in professional circles is limited, as it is with me (for sure), and the necessary research is grueling. I do not know of any dealers who specialize in these coins.

    I always counsel potential sellers to be sure to know the value of the coins before selling. If you don't really care about that, place them on eBay in their 'mixed lots' category (Coins & Paper Money>World Coins>China>Mixed Lots) and see what happens. Otherwise, you have no choice but to do research. You can use this forum to help, but it must be one coin at a time.

    If you want to do a lot of work, break up the lot and place single pieces on eBay with a one cent starting bids. That way the coins will sell as their actual market value, or very close to it, because the collector base on eBay is enormous. Once you have run through a dozen pieces like that, you will have a good feel for the overall value of the entire lot.

  • Thanks Paul

    There is no question of their provenance and authenticity. When I removed coins from a couple of the sets for testing, the silver evidenced 'patina' on the halves of the coins that had been exposed to air (the acetate typical only covers half the coin.)

    It seems to me their value is at least partly in the albums and therefore breaking out individual coins would destroy that. 

    I presume since this forum deals with 'one coin at a time' that I cannot put up individual 'sets' for discussion (for example the 'Peking dollar' as photographed above is in a set of 5 coins of varying denominations)

    The certificates as in the photo below display sophisticated anti-counterfeiting, easily faked  today but not during the Republican Era.


    Cheers and thanks



  • Sets are ok. Posts such as 'Please evaluate these dozen coins' get ignored. Start a new post for each coin or packaged set.

    Yes. The packaging adds value.

  • Thanks

  • Hi Paul

    I have just gone live with one of my sets on e-bay.

    I've set a starting bid of US$100 which is considerably less than I paid. We'll see how it goes.

    Just for interest, I found another one of the sets I hold, this one commemorative medallions, on sale at a rare book seller in the UK.

    He's asking GBP 120.  He also reckons it is 'Circa 1990'.  That actually makes sense when I look at the prices on the sets. I know the 'collector' operated into the '90s.

  • That's a great listing on eBay. I like how you did the Google translate. Your images could be a lot better. I'd invest is a decent camera. Be sure it can take close-ups. Good camers are cheap these days ...

  • Thanks


    My Nikon decided to go on the fritz and the Camera on my Galaxy Note 5 is crap. I will try and do better photos as I add sets

  • Set number 2 is up. Again, the damn Samsung camera let me down

  • Photographing coins is not particularly easy, but it is essential for eBayers. This is when a photo-minded friend comes in handy ...

  • I meant to update them yesterday but was otherwise preoccupied. Will get to it today or tomorrow. The untimely death of my Nikon D 80 makes it tough.

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