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.
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.Reply
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