Archive for the ‘numis’ Category

Buying coins in Hong Kong doesn’t have to be daunting. Apart from obviously staying away from the modern counterfeits, the free port actually offers a very good selection at quite good bargains – for American coins. The geographic mispricing that basically drives the theory of buying Asian numismatics in the states also works the other way around.

I just picked up this 1876 S trade dollar, improperly cleaned and slightly damaged (VF35 details?) for HKD500 the other day. Haven’t done too bad (hopefully) for my first purchase, since I haven’t really seen trades at this condition for under $100 for a few years.

So a few notes on noodling the HK market for American coins: (ALWAYS WATCH FOR FAKES)

1. Be prepared. That means Red Book, loupe, scale, and a couple of genuine coins to compare with. I can’t stress how important the scale is, as the prevalence of counterfeits is quite high here. If you need to buy a scale, go to one of the kitchen supply shops on Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei (near the intersection with Wing Sing Lane) and get one for HKD50. It’s a trouble to lug, but well worth it considering the downside risks.

2. Go to smaller private shops. They need to move coins, and given the dead volume for American coins in HK, you can talk down the price quite a lot. Best thing to do as an American is point at it, ask for the price, and then give your own price (on a calculator). But don’t go to street stalls. That’s just a bad move.

Where to buy coins in HK? A good place is the Mong Kok market on Soy Street (4 levels of numismatics!) They mostly deal with Asian numismatics, but there are a few stalls with American coins. I’ll add the exact address later with a picture, but if I don’t get around, feel free to leave a comment.

3. Look for the uncommon coins. It’s really not worth buying common Morgans or Peace dollars (I even saw a blue Ike in the mix) for more than spot (ie, what you can do in the states). We’re looking for high economic/collection efficiency here!

4. Never be afraid to walk away. I mean never. If you can’t get a very good deal, just leave. Unless you know, they happen to have a genuine stella or some other R3, 4 coin. Then remember to bargain hard (30-40% off US wholesale seems reasonable).

5. Always, always, always be vigilant and look for counterfeits. Same concept as in the states, but just two gears higher.


I’ll add more as summer progresses. Though the HK market of US coins are mostly silvers, I would really want to find a misidentified colonial copper or historically significant coin that the dealer doesn’t realize.

To the best of good collecting, and remember to stay away from fakes!

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Doing my Saturday morning transactions… and saw this…

That’s still a live price with 4 hours to go, and all the auctions on eBay are going for that price. This is a note that was released 5 days ago (with 2 left?) for HKD150 per set. So… current price of USD140.50 is around HKD1100.

According past price movements for commemorative notes, this is pretty much close to the bottom. The commemorative CNY 100 millenium was on the market for $40 for a while, now near $800. The Olympic CNY10 was first seen on the market for $300 or so, now averaging $1.2k. About the same (exponential) rate of growth for the BoC Olympics and the Standard Chartered $150.

But there should be a drop in about a month. Time to load up on a few?

Dang… was thinking of buying like 30 of these… guess not. But good thing is that my Chinese numismatics heavy IRA is working out… and I’ll be working in HK in the future so I’ll actually get an opportunity to duel it out with the locals for like 100 of these.

Now… I wonder what’s a good entry price… USD100 sounds good? This is still very domestic market driven…

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The story here. Nothing much else to say, really, other than the Chinese scripophily market is really lagging the growth of the numismatic.

By the way, just looked at the back and saw the bond had a maturity term of 45 years – to 1943, coupon payments of 2 per year. haha that means by the fall of Imperial China (1911) the foreigners bondholders only got around 9 million pounds!

But the coupons 1-68 have been torn off… that means at the end China paid a nominal value of 24.5 million pounds? Is that because these were undersigned by the HSBC and Deutsch Asiatic Bank and somehow somehow somehow still honored the coupons even though the lender didn’t exist anymore?

Wonder if there were CDS facilities back then…

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Disregard the below. Apparently the new Draghi notes can be seen in the wild starting around early April


If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Super Mario’s signature (allegedly) on the new Euro notes. Still emission I… series II will be out in 2013 with the EUR50.

Of course, this is just a mock-up. The new notes should have the new Cyrillic name for the Euro as well as more abbreviations for “ECB”. We might just as well wait for series II to come out since Trichet’s notes were seen in the wild around half a year after he became president.

From the guys at EuroBillTracker

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1953 PR China 2 Yuan P 867

Slowly building up my legacy set… I think I robbed the shop with this $100 purchase! Overjoyed!

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freakin snipers

stupid sniper got this for $5 more… alsdkjfalksjdflaksjdfalkj arrrrghhhh

but i have saved a picture. and i cant complain since i use snipers as well


1947 Tung Pei Bank of China (Local Circulating Note) 500 Yuan – P S3752

Not exceedingly rare, but like the 50 pound Bernhard hard to find on the market. Also first note with Mao. Demand should still be picking up as banknotes are becoming inflation hedges in China. Even with the economy gradually cooling, inflation is still quite high, and deposit rates are simply not enough.

I had 3 before… but they were all fakes…

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One of the new centerpieces the collection – 1934 England 50 Pounds White note – Bernhard counterfeit P338x … simply a classic of numismatics.

These Bernhard notes were made by Jews in concentration camps, as a part of the Nazi plan to destabilize the British economy. This example was probably at the bottom of Lake Toplitzsee until they recovered it in the 80s. A good movie was made of it.

And all for £100! Here’s the 2400dpi scan if you’d like to make counterfeits of a counterfeit.

Going back to numismatics while October kicks the markets.


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