LPM’s delve into Asia’s numismatc past with its ‘Dragon Dollar’ series of eight rounds is a unique opportunity to look at one of the fastest growing areas of classic numismatic collecting – late 19th/early 20th century Chinese Dragon Dollars. Beginning to command some seriously impressive six-figure prices at auction, the type is still settling down as far as definitive values go.
Many of the originals, while often produced in big numbers, are exceedingly rare, so the chance of coming across one is fairly unlikely. Fortunately, this series offers a fine chance to collect a set of reproductions of some of the rarer versions. Each of the eight carries a copy of the original reverse face and, because these are rounds that do not have to carry modern denominations,has an obverse that does the same thing. Despite being a bullion coin, these are obviously better struck, so it’s fair to say these classic dragon designs have never looked better.
The Dragon Dollars were based on the specification of the old Spanish Trade Dollar, and were formed in 27.22 grams of 0.900 silver. The modern reproduction sticks with modern specifications, and comes in a standard troy ounce of either 0.999 silver, or 0.9999 gold. Both are the standard brilliant uncirculated finish you’d expect of a bullion coin. Also now underway, is a reissue of the silver variant with an antique finish. It’s a particularly pretty version, in our opinion. Five of the eight are already out with this finish, with the rest to follow.
A later addition to the series, only one of which is available at the time of writing, is a one kilogram silver version with a mintage of just 100 pieces. Obviously, this looks to be an exceptional way to view the terrific designs the artists of over a century ago produced. The first issue – the Kiang Nan Dollar – comes well presented in a wooden box with a Certificate of Authenticity. Like the smaller versions, the date, composition and serial number are engraved on the coin edge.
A fine, limited series with a tight mintage, sensible format choice and a theme rarely seen in the bullion market. Hopefully we’ll see future delves into the regions numismatic past. Distributed by LPM, they’re available worldwide. We’ll fill in the gaps in this guide as they’re released and try to flesh out the history some more. We’ve shown both faces of the gold, the silver having an identical obverse.