Auction: Y#322.1 1918 Yuan Shikai Dollar

Currently up for auction is the Y#322.1 1918 Yuan Shikai silver dollar. This silver dollar of .900 purity, typically with a weight of 26.7 g and a diameter of 39.5 mm, is presented in good condition, grading well at PCGS AU58.

The obverse features the bust of Yuan Shikai (1859-1916), the warlord and self-styled emperor of the Republic of China (1912-1949) wearing a plumed hat. Silver dollars of this type were struck and issued between 1914 and 1918 – although no date appears struck on the coin – and commemorate the founding of the Republic, attested to by the characters on top edge of the reverse face, which translate (right to left) as “Republic of China Commemorative Coin”. Inscribed in the centre of the reverse face are the characters giving the denomination, as well as the English inscription “One Dollar”, which appears on the bottom edge of the reverse. This coin type is considered much rarer than its more ubiquitous cousin, the “Fat Man Dollar” (Y#329).

In this condition, with the right buyer at auction, this coin might expect to attract bids in the region of $3,250. PCGS records show that the highest price paid for this rarity at auction was in the spring of 2014, when $15,340 was the final bid – but for a coin in much superior condition, grading at MS65. This, however, is an exceptional case, and coins of this age and condition are bound to fetch such high premiums at auction. A more realistic comparison would be a similar coin, graded MS61, which sold at a Stack’s Bowers auction in August 2014 for $3,883.