In the Far East, the word “Tael” generally refers to weight. In Chinese numismatics, it’s a coin. One unusual example is a “Pei Yang” Tael, minted during the reign of Emperor Kuang Hsu (1872-1908). The coin didn’t meet with much acceptance. Of the few produced, most were recalled and melted, making the example that Stack’s Bowers will be offering in N.Y. next month one of the rarities of Chinese numismatics. It’s expected to sell for $100,000-$125,000.
Another featured item at the January 7th session devoted to Crowns & Minors and Orders & Decorations is a YAP Island “Fei, “ an example in stone from the 19th century that’s considered the “Holy Grail” of primitive money. Some of these coins are over 12 feet in diameter and can weigh as much as 2 tons. This one, which tips the scale at a mere 54 pounds, carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000.