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Do You Possess One of These 12 Valuable Chinese Coins Worth Up to $2 Million?

Wei Ting Chang / Getty Images
Wei Ting Chang / Getty Images

Human civilization doesn’t get much more ancient than China, whose history dates back more than 5,000 years and whose global influence can be seen in everything from how people govern to what they eat. China was among the earliest civilizations to mint coins, with some specimens created more than two millennia ago. You aren’t likely to come across one of those outside of a museum. But even modern Chinese coins can fetch seven figures on the collectibles market.

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You’ll find a “huge range” of Chinese coins to choose from, according to the CoinValueLookup website. Here’s a look at 12 of the most valuable Chinese coins. Estimated prices and descriptions are from CoinValueLookup. Keep in mind that the highest values are for coins in top graded condition.


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China-Kweichow 1928 Auto Silver Dollar

This coin was minted for a provincial governor, but there are lingering questions about where it was minted. While some experts think it was made in Szechuan, others speculate that it was minted in Kweichow on “stolen machinery.” A high-grade version sold for 70,000 British pounds sterling in 2018, which would have been about $93,000 based on that year’s exchange rates.

Read: Lincoln Pennies With Dime Reverse Sides Are So Rare They’ll Fetch Upwards of $100K

China-Chekiang 1902 20 Cents Silver Proof

This coin was produced for China by the Heaton Mint in Birmingham, UK, and features a unique “drunken dragon” design. It was made in different denominations but “only a handful of each” are in circulation. One version sold at auction for $88,000 in 2018, but a rare silver dollar from the same series will likely fetch more than $1 million.

China-Heilungkiang ND 1896 50 Cents Brass Pattern

This brass 50-cent coin was struck from dies made by Otto Beh, a German manufacturer who specialized in Chinese coins. German patterns of Chinese coins are “highly sought after” by collectors. One version sold for $140,000.

China-Kiangnan ND 1897 20 Cents Silver Pattern

Here is another design produced for the Chinese government by Great Britain’s Heaton Mint. This is a “specimen” coin highly prized by dealers and collectors and has sold for as much as $78,000.

Republic of China ND 1916 Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Silver, Hat Touching Brim

The actual date of this coin is “shrouded in mystery,” according to CoinValueLookup. No mention of its existence was made in a 1917 article on Chinese coins, which suggests it could have been minted later. In any case, this coin has sold for more than $500,000.

Republic of China 1916 Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Silver, Flying Dragon

Coins in this series depicting Yuan Shi Kai are “highly collectable” – especially one that features a “clear space” between the top of Yuan’s hat and the rim of the coin. Because of its rarity, the coin sold for a base price of $520,000 and a 25% buyer’s premium that brought the eventual price up to $650,000.

Republic of China 1929 S. Y. S Globe Dollar Silver Pattern, NGC MS65

This was the first Chinese coin to feature a map or globe in its design. Only a handful are known to exist, and each is different. One specimen sold at auction in 2016 for nearly $500,000 including the “hammer price” and the 21% buyer’s premium.

Republic of China ND 1912 Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Brass

There has been debate about the portrait in this coin, with some believing it is a former provincial governor and others saying it is a former military and government official. One version sold for $345,000 in 2015.

Republic of China 1914 Yuan Shi Kai One Dollar Silver with Signature

Part of the value of this coin comes from the fact that it was engraved by  L. Giorgi, an Italian considered the “most famous” of all Chinese coin engravers. One version sold for $420,000 in 2021.

Republic of China 1932 Sen Yat Sen Gold Standard 10 Cents Silver Pattern

This one of the first coins produced at the Shanghai Mint. A version featuring the image of Sen Yat Sen is known as the “gold standard” 10-cent piece. It sold for more than $260,000 in 2021, including a 25% buyer’s premium.

Republic of China YR16 1927 Chang Tso Lin Silver Dollar

This is a “rare and immensely valuable” that features an image of the Chinese warlord Chang Tsao Lin. It was presented at an auction in Taisei in April 2022 and wound up selling for a whopping $2.125 million, making it the most valuable coin on this list.

China 1867 Shanghai Tael — With Rays

This coin was struck at the Hong Kong mint and features both Chinese and British emblems. That design was rejected by Chinese officials and nearly all of the coins were melted down. Those that survived command very high prices, with one selling for $1.99 million.

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This article originally appeared on Do You Possess One of These 12 Valuable Chinese Coins Worth Up to $2 Million?