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China Fengtien (Fung Tien, Feng Tien) Dollar (Fakes are possible)  1898
China Fengtien (Fung Tien, Feng Tien) Dollar (Fakes are possible) 1898

These are grand old 'dragon dollars' from the Chinese province of Fengtien, with spelling variations Fung-Tien, Feng-Tien, Fengtian, and others. We can easily quote the catalog values for these coins, but that does not do much good in the fluid worlds of Chinese numismatics.

For the record:

worn: $500 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $900
well preserved: $2800
fully uncirculated: $5000

By far the biggest problem in Chinese 'dragon dollars' (be sure to check out the Dragon Dollar web site [PRESS]) is navigating through the myriad of fakes and counterfeits. Crooks are getting better and better at producing high-quality collector coins. Never invest any sizable sum of money into Chinese coinage unless you are completely comfortable with the seller.

To help better understand price variability with the 1898 Fengtien dollars, inspect closely the images of five coins to the right.

The (A) coin is in superb condition. It has zero wear, no problems such as scratches, stains, spots, and the like, and its eye appeal is magnificent. This coin was sold by Rick Ponterio of Stack's Bowers for $15500 US dollars during a 2015 auction. In contrast, the (B) coin has nominal wear but without dazzling eye appeal. It was sold by Kunker for $450 in a 2011 auction. Both Ponterio and Kunker are top-notch numismatics firms, and the (B) coin should have brought more in an open auction, but you get the idea of variability in coin pricing from these two examples.

Now, for the counterfeits, expert numismatist KONDi over at China-Mint.info circled in red the problem areas on the (C) fake. The coin is made of silver, but it is a high-quality counterfeit, worth about $50 US dollars (or less).

Finally, the (D) and (E) coins have what appears to be an erroneous symbol at the center on the reverse. Presumably this is a 'tael' symbol, but there were no such taels minted, so both these coins are fakes. The (D) coin sold on eBay for $6, and the (E) coin comes from requester starfish, also worth around $6.

CoinQuest thanks Ponterio, Kunker and KONDi for use of their coin photos

Coin: 21374 , Genre: The Sinosphere
Requested by: starfish, Sat, 23-Jul-2016 15:43:15 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Sun, 24-Jul-2016 18:59:11 GMT
Requester description: Dragon type
Tags: china fengtien fung tien feng dollar fakes counterfeit taiwan chine chinese chineese fentien dollare dolls doller dol dollars replica forger counterfet fake counterfiet reproductions repro reproduction counterfeits replicas forgery dragon type dragons types circle ring circled encircle circlet circles loops circal encircled circuit ringed circumscibed incircled circel circumference encircles encircling rings circling loop circular circumscribed

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Wed, 22-Nov-2017 11:19:57 GMT, unknown: 1444535