A popular choice among numismatists with an interest in older circulated Chinese coins is the Yuan Shikai Dollar: a silver coin struck extensively between 1914 and perhaps as late as the early 1950s. The use of a variety of dies, as well as original dies which were altered and touched up by provincial mints, has resulted in an unknown number – possibly in the hundreds – of die variations for collectors to search for.
One of the more obscure of the commonly seen Yuan Shikai Dollars are those from year 八 (eight), signifying that the coin was struck using a die created in 1919. Since the most commonly encountered date types for the nicknamed “Fat Man” silver dollar are 三 (three (1914)), 九 (nine (1920)), and 十 (ten (1921)), coin types with year eight command a modest premium.
Recently going under the hammer online at auctioneer Stack’s Bowers was one such year eight PCGS appraised and verified as genuine – polished, AU, Yuan Shikai Y-329.6 silver dollar. When the auction closed in the evening of the 5th October, the final bid stood at $239.7, comfortably making its estimate of $200 – $300.
As is characteristic of Yuan Shikai Dollars struck using dies dating from 1919 onwards, this coin bears seven characters on the obverse face, as opposed to the previous six. The additional character is 造 (made), and while it is indicative of a coin struck using a die created in 1919, the coin itself might not necessarily have been struck in 1919 since many dies were re-used in subsequent years.