|CHINA-HONG KONG 1941 One Cent Bronze, KM 24, NGC MS64BN. Highest graded by grading service. H.F.Bowker East Asia Collection
According to the World Coin Price Guide, the 5 million 1941 Hong Kong Cents were split into three lots. One was retained by Britain and ultimately melted to supply copper for the war effort. The second batch actually made it to Hong Kong, but it met the same fate of the first after the colony surrendered to Japan in December of 1941. In fact, Pridmore1 states that all coins available in the entire colony were collected and melted by the Japanese to help support their military. The third and final shipment ended up at the bottom of the ocean after the British ship it was on was sunk, likely by a German U-Boat. If any of these three groups of 1941 Hong Kong cents had survived, the coin would likely be relatively common today. However, the perfect combination of events has led this coin to become one of the most expensive and rarest dates of British Territory Hong Kong Cents.
There are thought to be less than one hundred 1941 Hong Kong Cents that survived the war . NGC has only numerically graded 6; 1 in AU 58 BN, 2 (including the one pictured) in MS 61 BN, 2 in MS 62 BN, and 1 in MS 64 BN. Most of the survivors seem to come from Japanese sources, so it's likely that some were distributed after they escaped the Japanese culling of coinage from late 1941-1945.
Pridmore, F. (1965). The Coins of the British Commonwealth of Nations, to the End of the Reign of George VI 1952, Part 2, Asian Territories. London: Spink & Son.