Summer is nearing its end, and the Hong Kong auctions season begins. August is usually an interesting time for Chinese coins collectors, when rare coins are made available on the market and new prices are set.

I was browsing the catalogue of Rarehouse, when I was intrigued by one of the highlight of the auction. The denticles of the lot 1355, a rare Yuan Shih Kai pattern coin, bothered me. These teeth reminded me a lot of two other coins I have seen before.

The first coin was introduced to me by a good friend, who was already in the midst of negociation with the owner and wanted my opinion about the deal. It was a beautiful specimen of an extremely rare Yuan Shih Kai dollar, with the signature of the famous Italian engraver L. Giorgi.

Fake KM Pn33 - L&M 73 L. Giorgi pattern Yuan Shih Kai dollar

KM Pn33 – L&M 73 L. Giorgi pattern Yuan Shih Kai dollar (reverse)

Fake KM Pn33 - L&M 73 L. Giorgi pattern Yuan Shih Kai dollar (obverse)

KM Pn33 – L&M 73 L. Giorgi pattern Yuan Shih Kai dollar (obverse)



The price tag was not too high for this type – ¥200,000 CNY, or about $32,000 USD. This looked like a good deal, but I usually collect Imperial dragon dollars, so I decided to learn more about this type online.

That’s how I stumbled upon the sister of that coin. It was sold in 2005 on Coinsky, one of the largest numismatic forums in China, by the same collector from the Jiangsu province that now proposed to my friend the coin that sparked my curiosity.

Fake YSK pattern dollar (2005)

Fake YSK pattern dollar (2005)

Fake YSK pattern dollar (2005)

Fake YSK pattern dollar (2005)



The identical scratches could not lie; as in previous articles, this was an indubitable proof that both coins were fake (click on the picture on the right for higher resolution).

Identical scratches (2005 YSK dollar)

Identical scratches (2005 YSK dollar)

KM Pn33 LM73 L Giorgi with identical scratches

KM Pn33 LM73 L Giorgi with identical scratches



Both replica coins also shared a strange defect, especially for pattern coins: the denticles on their obverse were really badly struck. Here is for comparison a picture of a genuine, graded pattern, lot 41099 at the upcoming Stack’s Bowers auction:

Genuine Yuan Shih Kai dollar (L. Giorgi signature)

Genuine Yuan Shih Kai dollar (L. Giorgi signature)

Small details matter: as you can see, the denticles are sharp and well struck.

My advice to fellow collectors looking forward to acquire rare and expensive Chinese coins this season would be to favour coins graded by PCGS. Raw coins can be cheaper, but if they end up being fake, you are on your own. For this kind of high level items, this can mean a $32,000 USD setback…

3 Responses to “The case of the Yuan Shih Kai pattern”

  1. dikolee says:

    Thank you for your upload!

  2. chunsong says:

    Hello
    I want to buy Chinese coins.
    China has to sell it?
    My e-mail; luochunsong666@live.cn
    Feel free to contact me.
    Thank you.
    Luo

  3. Thanks for the post…..very interesting……….

  4. asuom diabe says:

    Hello, Where, and How can I sell my coins ? and how much worth.

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