Guangxu (Kuang Hsu) was the 11th emperor of the Qing Dynasty of China. He started his reign in 1875, so the 34th year of Kuang Hsu is equivalent to 1908. This coin comes from the Chihli (Zhili) Province, located toward the Northeast in mainland China.
As with all Chinese coins, you must beware of counterfeits, which are everywhere. Never purchase a Chinese coin from someone you do not know and trust. Look below on this page for a side-by-side comparison of a real and a fake coin.
One of our favorite web sites for information about dragon dollars is (where else?) DragonDollar.com. There is also a good forum on Chinese coins at China-Mint.info/forum.
The catalogs report the following values for this coin, although catalog values for Chinese coins are wild approximations due to the rampant counterfeiting and the current emergence of China on to the world stage. When there is such unrest as this, prices vary widely both up and down.
worn: $25 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $50
well preserved: $150
fully uncirculated: $850
The coin in our primary picture comes from Stacks Bowers Galleries. It is in magnificent condition. The selling price, a whopping $8500 US dollars in a 2013 auction, shows just how much collectors are willing to pay for coins in superb condition.
Our secondary picture shows the reverse side of a special coin known as a tael. The obverse side (the side with the dragon) looks the same as the one in our primary picture, but the reverse looks different.
Taels from Chihli Province (with the squiggly characters at the top) are very rare. If you think you have one, you must first consider the possibility that it is a counterfeit. If not, here are catalog values (hold on to your hat!):
average circulated: $15000
well preserved: $25000
fully uncirculated: $50000
Returning now to the regular dollar (not tael), a guy named Mike sent us a picture of his 34TH YEAR OF KUANG HSU PEI YANG coin. Sadly, it is a counterfeit. The image below gives a side by side comparison of a real and a fake coin. Two things stand out in this comparison: (1) the real coin looks sharp and has plenty of detail in the design, while the fake coin looks mushy and lacks detail, and (2) many details in the fake's design do not match the real coin.