Hong Kong and China Coin Collection | How much do you need to spend to build a great collection?

Posted on 21 March 2019

How much should I spend to build a collection rare and interesting Hong Kong and Chinese coins?

As China gradually opened up to global trade in the early 1980s and Hong Kong passed from being a British Crown Colony to a Special Administrative region of China there has been a rapidly growth in demand for coins from both places.

However, people always ask us, “how much do you need to spend to build a collection of Chinese and Hong Kong coins (or any coins for that matter)?”.  

Should you invest only a couple of dollars or should you splurge on some exceedingly rare coins like the 1989 Dragon & Phoenix Pattern Gold 200 Yuan sold in Hong Kong for $ 408,000 (US !!!)?

The simple answer is that it depends on your budget and experience, after all you don’t necessarily need to own a pristine James Bond 1960s DB5 Aston Martin sports car to appreciate classic sports cars.

Let’s have a look at the different price tiers in coin collecting...

1. Collector coins for less than US $10:

Whether a young child or a pensioner, collecting coins has always been accessible to everyone and can be enjoyed with a limited budget. Many collectors start by collecting good examples of coins from foreign travels and with a budget of $100 HKD you can certainly find lots of intriguing non graded coins.

If you pay close attention to the change in your pocket, you will still find "Queen's Head" Hong Kong coins from the 1980s and early 1980s in daily use. They are not worth a fortune, but they are an interesting piece of Hong Kong history that anyone can collect.

There's a great article in the South China Morning post about the Queen's head coins entitled "The man who replaced The Queen with the Bauhinia"

You can also visit local coin markets and find inexpensive circulated (used) examples of older Hong Kong coins and modern Chinese coins in this price bracket.

There are so many inexpensive avenues for people to enjoy collecting coins and it’s important to remember that although many rare coins can be expensive, there are plenty of affordable options out there as well to get started with.

2. Coins at approximately US $100:

At $100 (give or take $20), you can easily start to find interesting rarer coins from both China and Hong Kong. These coins will start to be better quality and rarer modern coins, silver coins, limited mintage collector coins and coins with a unique story and solid following from collectors.

Many coins at this level will be graded or in special presentation case and usually are quite easy to sell on if you later want to make some changes to your collection.

3. China and Hong Kong coins up to US $300:

As we move up the ranks into the realms of more serious rare coins. $300 is a significant amount of money to most people and usually Chinese and Hong Kong coins purchased in this range will typically be brought by more experienced collectors.

You will start to be able to get higher quality samples of older Hong Kong coins and very high-quality specimen proof Queen Elizabeth reign Hong Kong coins.

Looking towards China, you will be able to get interesting modern Silver Chinese medals and medium grade examples of older Chinese coins such the famous Junk Dollar.   

Although still a decent chunk of change, coins you buy at this price point are going to be pretty rare, very collectible and relatively low risk versus investing heavily in one or two super-rare coins.

4. China and Hong Kong coins under US $1,250

It’s definitely a big leap from $300 but in this price bracket we start to see lots or rare gold and silver Hong Kong coins together with older examples of rare coins such as high grade examples of the Hong Kong Queen Victoria One Mil coin.

Many of the high-quality modern Chinese (post 1979) gold coins are accessible in this range including the Panda series and gold Chinese Peacock coins.

Most coins in this level are also highly tradable as they are often quite hard to find and serious collectors are always on the look out for missing coins to complete their particular collection. For example there is continua demand from collectors looking for the best example of rarer Chinese Panda Coins but far fewer collectors on the hunt for mediocre versions of the same coins at lower price brackets because they are less rare. 

5. Coins over US $2,000

Given $2,000 is a serious amount of money to spend on anything, can it ever be a good idea spending that amount of money on coins from China and Hong Kong?

Assuming you have the disposable income available, we would only recommend the top shelf coins if you are already a very experienced collector. Coin values go up and down in line with different fashions so make sure you know your particular area of interest very well before buying very rare coins.

There is a small but extremely affluent and active upper tier of coin collectors in Hong Kong and China and every year at the Hong Kong coin show, sales of eye wateringly expensive sales of top end coins are recorded.

However, for most collectors, coins remain a hobby rather than an investment and usually collectors only buy at this level with a significant amount of knowledge in their preferred area of collecting.

Coins from Hong Kong in this range include the uber rare 1941 one and five cent coins are some of the most highly sort after by the top dollar collectors. The range of very rare coins from China is much larger although most are famous older coins such as high-grade examples of of the Chinese $1 “Old Dragon” coins or early rare modern coins such as the gold Year of the Child coins.

Whatever your budget or country of interest, there is plenty to look out for and enjoy.

Happy exploring!

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