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    The Renowned Complete Ferracute Specimen Double Pattern Set - One of 3 Confirmed Sets

    Szechuan. Kuang-hsü 10-Piece Certified silver & brass Specimen "Ferracute" Double Pattern Set ND (c. 1896/7) NGC,
    1) silver Pattern 5 Cents - SP65, KM-Unl., Kann-Unl., cf. L&M-351 (for standard type), cf. WS-0746 (same), cf. Wenchao-736 (same), Chang Foundation-Unl.

    2) silver Pattern 10 Cents - SP65, KM-Unl., Kann-Unl., cf. L&M-350 (for standard type), cf. WS-0745 (same), cf. Wenchao-735 (same), Chang Foundation-Unl.

    3) silver Pattern 20 Cents - SP65, KM-Unl., Kann-Unl., cf. L&M-349 (for standard type), cf. WS-0744 (same), cf. Wenchao-734 (same), Chang Foundation-Unl.

    4) silver Pattern 50 Cents - SP63, KM-Unl., Kann-Unl., cf. L&M-347 (for standard type), cf. WS-0741 (same), cf. Wenchao-732-733 (same), Chang Foundation-Unl.

    5) silver Pattern Dollar - SP65, KM-Unl., Kann-Unl., cf. L&M-345 (for standard type), cf. WS-0729 (same), cf. Wenchao-730-731 (same), Chang Foundation-Unl.

    6) brass Pattern 5 Cents - SP65, KM-Pn8, Kann-Unl., L&M-Unl., WS-Unl., Wenchao-Unl., Chang Foundation-Unl.

    7) brass Pattern 10 Cents - SP65, KM-Pn9, Kann-Unl., L&M-Unl., WS-Unl., Wenchao-Unl., Chang Foundation-Unl.

    8) brass Pattern 20 Cents - SP66, KM-Pn11, Kann-Unl., L&M-Unl., WS-Unl., Wenchao-Unl., Chang Foundation-Unl.

    9) brass Pattern 50 Cents - SP64+, KM-Pn13, Kann-Unl., L&M-Unl., WS-Unl., Wenchao-Unl., Chang Foundation-Unl.

    10) brass Pattern Dollar - SP63, KM-Pn15, Kann-Unl., L&M-Unl., WS-Unl., Wenchao-Unl., Chang Foundation-Unl.

    In 1896, the Imperial Government of China was in need of modernizing the Chengtu mint in the province of Szechuan. Current technology was inefficient and large-scale, western-style production was impossible, so the search began for a company to supply new minting equipment and dies. The British Royal Mint was first contacted, and made a few pattern coins and submitted a bid for the entire project (L&M 340-344, a 5-coin set which is listed at a market value of $1.97 million); however, the American Trading Company--which was operating in China and Japan at the time--was also approached for a bid that was to be obtained from the Ferracute Machine Company of Bridgeton, New Jersey. While Ferracute was known for its metal presses used in canneries, they were also the current supplier of coin presses to the United States Philadelphia mint. In the end, the European company's offer was undercut to secure the contract in mid-1896, with a winning bid that amounted to roughly $13,000 and included a complete mint setup, including five coin presses, punching presses, feed attachments, and coin dies.

    On March 24, 1897, upon completion of the new machinery, a public demonstration was held at the Ferracute factory in New Jersey. A photo of this event shows formally dressed visitors inspecting sample coins that were struck on the new presses. Among the officials that attended this historic event was United States Mint Chief Engraver, Charles Barber, who engraved the dies for these Chinese coins using a Kwangtung dollar as an exact model, save for the change in province. Ferracute struck a small number of patterns in silver and slightly more in brass to demonstrate the presses it built for China, handing out samples of the brass strikes to attending dignitaries.

    Additionally, American engineer, inventor, and president of the Ferracute Machine Company, Oberlin Smith, had a few, round wooden frames created to house a double specimen set comprised of five silver coins and five brass coins; these sets were presented as souvenirs of Ferracute's success. Records indicate that of these sets, one was given to the Philadelphia mint and now resides in the Smithsonian museum. A second set, which was put together by Henry Janvier, the Ferracute employee who traveled to China to set up the mint equipment, appears to have sold in the late 1980s and resides in a private collection in Asia. A third set-this one-was given to the American Trading Company and retained by the salesman who completed the deal with the Chinese government. And lastly, a fourth set is rumored to exist, kept by the factory and taken by the owner's daughter when the factory closed, though its whereabouts are unknown.

    Soon after the demonstration, the minting equipment and corresponding materials were prepared for shipment and crated. To assist with the installation of the new machinery, Ferracute engineer and press designer, Henry Janvier, along with his friend Sidney Bowen, undertook a lengthy, cross-country train trip followed by an overseas voyage across the Pacific, arriving first in Yokohama, Japan, just south of Tokyo. At their next stop in Shanghai, Bowen decided to return to the US while Janvier continued onward, accompanied by Henry Everall of the American Trading Company. Together, the two men traveled to Chengtu to complete the installation of the new mint.
    Nearly thirteen months after the leaving the Ferracute factory, the minting equipment arrived in Chengtu; however, the presses and dies were badly rusted from water damage due to improper handling along the way. According to the site, oberlinsmith.org, "To Janvier's dismay, boxes of parts starting arriving without their protective crating, the crates being broken up and stolen for firewood. Far worse was the discovery that the raft carrying much of the precision press equipment had been unloaded on the dry river bank of the Yangtse, at low water. The river had proceeded to flood before the equipment could be moved and had laid submerged for about six weeks." Thus, Janvier spent weeks attempting to restore and rebuild the precision machinery. By July 12, 1898, he wrote in a letter home that the Chengtu mint was finally operational.

    With the installation of the new mint complete, Janvier struck samples from the badly rusted dies and presented them to a representative of the Chinese government. Janvier expressed that the Chinese accepted the coins with delight and thought the unique rusted die pattern would make counterfeiting more challenging. Despite this, production at the new mint was delayed and few coins were struck before 1901, as Chinese workers created new dies to replace the badly rusted ones. These new dies, however, had a cruder appearance to them, with clumsy English lettering that was not at all akin to the perfect dies engraved by Charles Barber, though they did correct a minor mistake in the Chinese characters.

    Incredibly, only a small sample of coins were struck from Barber's original dies-and it can be surmised that those pieces were produced at the Ferracute factory, prior to leaving the US and being damaged by water and replaced. A number of the brass issues from 1897 have sold throughout the years, most notably through the collection of author and historian, Arthur Cox; however, this set-the only double specimen pattern set for all of China-is comprised of the finest-graded examples of each of the ten types, with the exception of the brass dollar, in which a single SP63+ exists. In fact, no other examples of the silver denominations from this year have been certified at present time.

    Upon examination, each coin from this remarkable set exhibits the highest degree of preservation, which is noticeably perceived once in hand due to a distinctive, mirrorlike reflectivity that beams from the fields, unimpeded by any significant handling or contact. A wholesome, original aesthetic projects from the most imposing, and arguably the most important representative from this group-the silver dollar-which displays a light, silvery tone in the fields, contrasted by gentle touches of darker patination. Such allure, coupled by utter clarity to the strike, lends a simply inspiring appearance to this unimprovable specimen.

    Looking to the set as a whole, each denomination displays a similar, subtle degree of patina, bestowing a look of refined age and elegance throughout, while highlighting the full character and inspiring beauty of the surfaces below. A slight rotation reveals a distinctive glassiness to the fields, which sets the expanses of the argent coins alight in mottled shades of gray and teal, while hues of amber layer the brass issues gently. Closer inspection of the strike reveals the highest level of precision across the denominations, both in the crisp engravings of Barber's dies, as well as an exacting strike that was delivered during production.

    This set likely represents the first, or at the very least, among the earliest Chinese coins to have been ordered from the US, and to own such a set is to forever be a part of its legacy. Certified by NGC, each of the individual coins offered herein has been deemed of choice quality or finer, with an astonishing 7 out of 10 issues ranking at the gem level-confirming that this group of specimens remains admirably close to the condition in which they were created during the waning years of the 19th century. Presented with the original wooden case, this remarkable compilation, so carefully preserved and obviously cherished, is the centerpiece of our December Hong Kong sale.

    Estimates Upon Request


    聞名的四川「漢立克納浦」造銀銅試鑄樣幣全套 - 存世僅三套之一

    1896/7年四川省造「漢立克納浦」光緒元寶銀、銅試鑄樣幣,一組十枚。NGC評級。

    1)庫平三分六釐銀質樣幣,NGC SP65。
    2)庫平七分二釐銀質樣幣,NGC SP65。
    3)庫平一錢四分四釐銀質樣幣,NGC SP65。
    4)庫平三錢六分銀質樣幣,NGC SP63。
    5)庫平七錢二分銀質樣幣,NGC SP65。
    6)庫平三分六釐黃銅質樣幣,NGC SP65。
    7)庫平七分二釐黃銅質樣幣,NGC SP65。
    8)庫平一錢四分四釐黃銅質樣幣,NGC SP66。
    9)庫平三錢六分黃銅質樣幣,NGC SP64+。
    10)庫平七錢二分黃銅質樣幣,NGC SP63。

    光緒二十二年(1896),四川省政府獲奏准成立成都造幣廠。由於當時的技術十分有限,生產效率甚低,西方國家的大規模造幣模式是相當不可能的。因此,四川省政府開始尋找可以提供造幣設備及模具的公司。首先聯絡了英國皇家鑄幣廠,向他們提供了一些樣幣和要求整個項目的投標書。同時亦聯繫了在中國及日本均有營運的美國茂生洋行,透過他們向位於美國新澤西,當時向美國費城造幣廠提供硬幣印刷機的漢立克納浦機械廠(下稱"漢立克納浦")查詢問價。歐洲公司流標,而漢立克納浦當時的中標書金額為$13,000,合約包括完整的造幣設備-五台鑄刷機、打壓機、附件及模具。

    光緒二十三年(1897) 3月24日,於新澤西的漢立克納浦機械廠為完成的造幣設備舉行了開幕典禮。從當時的照片中可以看到,穿著光整的參觀者正在查看已壓製好的樣本。當廠官員包括美國造幣廠首席的雕刻家查爾斯巴伯 (Charles Barber),他們亦為中國錢幣製作了其他印模,其中例子為廣東省壹圓。漢立克納浦使用其中國印模壓製了只有少量的銀銅樣幣,當中數量最少的黃銅樣幣送給了出席的貴賓。

    同時,美國工程師、發明家,以及漢立克納浦的主席Oberlin Smith帶同數個圓形木框,裝入兩組樣幣,銀幣黃銅幣各五枚,贈送賓客,紀念漢立克納浦大獲成功。翻查紀錄,其中一組後來贈送費城造幣廠,現存史密森尼美國藝術博物館。另外一組由親身參與中國設廠的漢立克納浦員工Henry Janvier組裝,這組於1980年代末出售私人藏家,現存亞洲私人收藏。

    光緒二十三年(1897)3月25日,全部機具於試車完成後即裝箱運送中國。同年12月27日,揚維爾與他的朋友西德尼鮑文 (Sidney Bowen) 被派到中國擔任裝設機械及試車任務。經過漫長而艱辛、跨越太平洋的火車之旅,揚維爾跟鮑文到抵了日本位於東京南面的橫濱。鮑文返回美國,而揚維爾則繼續旅程到上海,會合美國貿易公司的享利埃弗爾 (Henry Everall)。他倆一同前往四川成都 - 該造幣廠所在之處。第三組贈與美國貿易公司,送贈與中國政府談攏的銷售員,亦即本次拍賣之錢幣。最後一套傳說由工廠自行保管,在工廠結業之時由持有人千金接手,至今杳然無蹤。

    離開造幣廠近十三個月後,造幣設備抵達了成都,但該批機器在送運途中於宜昌靠岸待轉運之際遇上洪水。根據網頁介紹,運抵時發現整箱零件並沒有加上防護板條箱,而包裝木箱被打碎當作柴火之用。禍不單行,精密機器早已卸貨,擺放長江原先乾固的河床上。隨後河水泛濫,機具被江水淹沒長達六週,導致嚴重銹蝕。因此,揚維爾花了數週的時間試圖恢復和重建這些機械,按揚維爾的書信紀錄,成都造幣廠於光緒二十四年(1898)7月12日才正式完工試鑄。

    新造幣廠成立後,揚維爾指出中國當局接受了生銹的模具,並認為龍尾位置上的凸點可作防偽暗記,而政府代表同時收取了一枚使用生銹模具所壓製的樣幣。錢幣的生產被延遲,直至光緒二十七年(1901)為止只生產了極少數的錢幣。其後,中國員工製作了新的模具以取代銹蝕的模具,唯這批模具的英文造字粗糙,跟美國造幣廠首席的雕刻家查爾斯巴伯 (Charles Barber)所雕製的截然不同。但這些模具更正了中文字中的輕微錯誤。揚維爾所製的原模在被水淹壞之前只壓製了極少量的樣幣。

    巴伯 (Charles Barber)所製的原模在被水淹壞之前只壓製了極少量的樣幣,並且推測這些樣幣是在漢立克納浦生產然後才離開美國的。1897年以來部分銅幣經已出售,其中最著名的是作家和歷史學家 - 亞瑟考克斯(Arthur Cox)的收藏。 但是,這套是全中國唯一的銀、銅試鑄樣幣套裝,並且是由十枚目前最高評級的樣幣所組成。事實上,現今所知未有第二套同年發行的銀幣獲得評級。

    這套樣幣完美保存,一目了然,幣面閃爍如鏡,毫無觸痕瑕疵。一套十全十美的原裝頂級珍品。組合中,銀幣七錢二分銀幣可謂至尊,表面有淡雅銀色包漿,與較沈的銅色部分形成悅目對比,外觀無可比擬。綜觀整套樣幣,安詳雅緻的色調下,沈澱歲月光輝,餘韻無窮。斜看則見幣面流光躍動,銀幣上藍綠及灰黑斑點忽明忽滅;黃銅幣上琥珀色包漿如輕羅散落幣上。細看打壓痕,全部精確無比,巴伯所製原模造型深峻俐落,製作時的戳印亦同樣確切。

    這套銀、銅試鑄樣幣組合被保存於原始的木製框架中超過了百年以上,可能是最早期從美國訂購的錢幣類型,或者至少肯定為滄海遺珠,而擁有這樣的一套硬幣將成為傳奇。如此精心保存和視為珍藏的一套,將成為我們12月海瑞得「香港國際錢幣展銷會」拍賣的亮點。

    【1896年(光緒二十二年),四川總督鹿傳霖開辦銀元局,經費借自縣庫與藩庫。1898年廠房落成後在外國技師協助下開工。次年中旬,各省奉旨將銀元改歸鄂粵代鑄,川廠停產。1901年,川督奎俊以該省地僻道險,求鄰靡易為由,奏准復工。四川省造銀幣,俗稱 "川龍" ,在龍銀裡獨樹一幟,版式千變萬化深受藏友喜愛。與它省也是自外國引進設備及技師的不同,除了極少的銅鋁樣幣外 "四川省造光緒元寶"以往未見銀樣實物,只有黑白圖片。因此川龍初版的形式有不同的看法,莫衷一是,鑑賞之餘平添些許神秘色彩。

    2017年3月,恰逢四川光緒元寶在原廠試造120年之際,美國茂生洋行這組全套銀銅樣計10枚的原廠試製幣公開露面。美國原廠所造川龍壹圓主幣銀樣放大圖,可看出正面 "庫" 字的 "車" 平頭、 "造" 字的 "告" 不連筆、 "錢" 字 "金" 不出頭及 "花心無點" ;龍臉特寫圖可見龍眉底部連接,非 "川" 字眉而接近 "山" 字形,邊飾與正面相同也是,龍珠有點。證明當初推論的 "庫字不出頭的" 平頭車花心無點 是初始版本"之說無誤。

    早年資訊閉塞,國人對四川機器局開辦造幣廠時的細節及幣模的來源沒有頭緒。然而在英文記載中卻頗為詳盡,筆者將多年搜尋海內外有關川廠創建文獻所得梳理,先後發表於國內錢刊及錢幣論壇,全貌遂漸為國內泉界知曉。當年強必爾舊藏的全套四川試造樣幣流出時未受重視,錯失揭密良機。這套銀樣的出現,對熱衷探討史料的筆者而言,有如拼圖上缺失的最後一片,光緒元寶銀幣開鑄始末的學習可謂功德圓滿。除了文物的收藏價值外,意義非凡。】引自孫浩先生著《美國原廠造四川光緒元寶銀銅樣》


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    5th-6th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
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