|CHINA-REPUBLIC 1923 Dragon and Phoenix One Dollar Silver, value in large characters, Y336.1, L&M80, K680a, NGC MS62, NC Collection
The popular belief that this coin was issued to celebrate the wedding of the former emperor is quite wrong. An article published in the first issue of the journal of East Asian Numismatics (1994) revealed that the engraver, L. Giorgi, designed this coin in 1914 -- long before the emperor's wedding. The design portrays the 12 symbols of a ruler, and was intended to be a general issue coin for the whole country -- replacing the Yuan Shih-Kai coins minted in the north and the Sun Yat-Sen coins minted in the south. The design was not adopted, but was filed away. In 1923, the Chinese Cabinet passed a resolution from the Ministry of Finance calling for a new national coinage to replace the Yuan Shih-Kai coins (see the Chinese Economic Bulletin #111, 130 and 152 for 1923-24). This dragon and phoenix design was pulled out of the files and minted at the Tientsin Central Mint. In addition to this evidence, there is a small silver medal dated 1921 (two years before the wedding), commemorating the centennial of relations between China and Peru, which uses this same dragon and phoenix design. Nonetheless, this is still an important and beautiful coin.
The large character variety is much scarce than the small character variety. But to the top grade it is reversed, very few small character coins reach MS-65.