MY FAVORITE SERIES
Hong Kong Mint, Dollar and Half Dollars of 1866 to 1868
The Hong Kong Mint, Dollar and Half Dollars of 1866 to 1868 is my favourite series. Approval was given on the 10th April 1863 to establish a Branch of the Royal Mint in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Mint, located at Causeway Bay on the Island, was opened on the 7th May 1866. It was a financial failure from the start, as insufficient coins were minted to cover the cost of the minting operation. Finally the mint was closed down in April 1868 and the machinery sold to Japan where it became the Osaka Mint.
The Dollar coin is silver of 39mm with an average weight of 27 gms, however they vary eratically. The initial issue was to have a weight of 27.15 gms which was later reduced to 26.95 gms, however many of the early issue fail to even reach the reduced weight.
The obverse design has a Diademed head of Queen Victoria and a scroll pattern border dividing the legend VICTORIA QUEEN. The reverse has a Chinese labyrinth centre, based on the Chinese character SHOU meaning long life. Around the labyrinth in a 4 leaf clover are 4 Chineses characters reading Hong Kong One Dollar. On the outside of the Chinese characters in a circle are the words ONE DOLLAR HONG KONG and the date. The same scroll pattern as the obverse rings the remaining space. The obverse design was by William Thead and the reverse by Owen Jones. Leonard Charles Wyon of the Royal Mint cut the dies. The Dollars were srtuck with dates 1866, 1867 and 1868. There is also an overdate of 1867/6 which is the most difficult of the 4 coins. The total mintage was 2,108,054 and appears to be spread fairly evenly over the 3 years.
The Half Dollar is a smaller version of the Dollar. It has a diameter of 32mm and an initial weight of 13.58 gms which was reduced to 13.47 gms. The Half Dollar was issued with dates of 1866 and 1867, though there were reports of an 1868 date. The total mintage was 58,587 which were predominantly with the 1866 date. It has been estimated that the mintage of the 1867 Half Dollar was around 2,500. This figure was calculated expanding the proportion of the numbers that had been viewed. The 1867 Half is a very difficult coin and even more difficult in any grade above Fine.
This is my favourite series. Though small in number it is extremely difficult to complete and the coins have lovely designs.
Reference: Coins of the British Commonwealth. Part 2 Asia, by Fred Pridmore.
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