|CHINA-ANHWEI 1897 One Dollar Brass Silvered Pattern, with ASTC, L&M192A, Y45.1, PCGS SP63+
This Same Coin sold in Kunker Jun-12 sale for US $2,105,167
Chinese minting tools from Germany
—— A mystery has been solved
Künker Auction (GER)
In 1884 Otto Friedrich Immanuel Beh (1859-1944) founded an engraving company in the city of Esslingen. He produced 40 Chinese dies for Schuler in 1897. In 1898 and 1899 he earned more commissions, for example, from the Magdeburg merchant Heinrich Knape. This is how the coin designs for the provinces of Cheh-Kiang (mint of Hangzhou, Zhejiang), An-Hwei (mint of Anqing, Anhui), Feng-Tien (Fungtian/Fengtian, today’s Liaoning, originally Fengtian Machinery Bureau, today’s Shenyang mint) and Sinkiang (Sungarei, today’s Xinjiang) were created. Also, for Knape, Beh produced five sets of 1 dollar, 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents, as well as 30 patterns for the northeastern province of Hei-Lung-Kiang (Hēilóngjiāng), where no mint had yet been established. His specialization on Chinese coins brought Otto Beh the biggest commissions in the history of engraving companies in the 19th century. All together, he delivered more than 200 dies.
The Chinese numismatics community gradually became aware of the German patterns after 1944 through articles and auctions. By now though, the prices for these extreme rarities are mind-staggering. The many assumptions about their origin have become part of scholarship and the mystery of modern Chinese coin history has been solved.
Chinese minting tools of the engraving company Otto Beh, Esslingen
Extract of Künker Auction Catalog No. 211, June 2012
This portfolio of coining dies from the Otto Beh company in Esslingen is an important document of Chinese numismatic history and of the close economicties between Germany and China at the end of the 19th century. Even at that time German engineering products had an excellent reputation abroad.
Closely linked with the Otto Beh company (established in 1884) was the firm of Louis Schuler (established in 1839) from neighbouring G?ppingen. Today a worldwide operating full public company (AG) and a leading producer of coining machines, Schuler specialized in the 19th century in manufacturing sheet metal working machines – and presses in particular. Schuler obtained the order to supply coin presses in 1895 - in all probability at the Leipzig Trade Fair. Schuler, in turn, commissioned Otto Beh, who specialised in the production of seals and dies, with manufacturing the coining dies. Cooperation between the two companies from Württemberg was highly successful with Beh supplying Schuler with over 200 dies for Chinese coins in 1897 and 1898. At the time this was by far the largest order for Otto Beh - a company principally operating today in manufacturing identification plates signs and in the digital printing field. The company celebrated its 125 year anniversary in 2009. To mark this occasion, numismatist Gerhard E. Kümmel from Esslingen drafted a history of the company with a catalogue of the medals, badges and pins brought out by Beh (Gerhard E. Kümmel; 125 Jahre Gravier- und Pr?geanstalt Otto Beh, Esslingen, Medail-len-Plaketten-Anstecknadeln, Esslingen 2011).
Still in Beh's possession was this stock of male moulds, die plates and letter chasing tools as well as the two test rounds of the Anhwei and Sin Kiang provinces (Sungarei). It was the Beh family‘s wish that the future owners of these items – as documented in the Künker catalogue No. 211 - are collectors very much interested in numismatic history.