Hong Kong Colonial Coinage - Silver 10 Cents - 1896 - with INK CHOPMARK

Today's post is about unique coin from British Colonial Hong Kong. Though a common date and variety, it has a special ink chopmark with a meaningful character. 

  • Read on to learn more about the character and its ink chopmarks!

General Overview:

Date: 1896
Dynasty: British Colonial Hong Kong
Emperor/Ruler: Queen Victoria 
Denomination: 10 Cents
Catalog: KM# 6.3
Composition: Silver
Weight: 2.7154g
Size: 17.84mm


Queen Victoria



HONG - KONG      TEN CENTS      1896   

香港          一毫

Coin Remarks:

This coin is a typical circulated coin from the era, where the same design and style was utilized since the early 1860's till the end of Queen Victoria's reign in 1901. Nevertheless, the details on the coin, such as the legends, rim-denticles, and the queen's bust is visible. However, the wear has affected the specific details on the queen, such as the details on her crown. I would approximate the grade as F to VF, where there is strong remaining details on the Chinese characters and English wording on both the obverse and reverse. 

In terms of the scarcity of this coin, it is very common, and commands a catalog value at around 3 to 5 dollars. The coin has a common date and has a high mintage figure, thus giving this coin a very common index in the entire series of Hong Kong 10 cents. 

Nevertheless, the coin is unique because of the ink chopmark on the obverse, which will be further discussed and analyzed below. 

The Ink Chopmark:

A chopmark in general refers to a character stamped onto the coin to denote the authenticity and weight and material guarantee, typically by a merchant. Typically, these chopmarks are found with Chinese characters because they were verified by merchants who operated in the Far East, in countries like China and Japan and regions like Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. This is because the usage of silver as a exchange medium was abundant due to its high liquidity and precious metal value. With these in mind, chopmarks are found on trade dollars, which were large silver dollars issued for trade purposes, and typically had a higher weight and silver fineness compared to domestic circulation dollars. For instance, the British, American, and Japanese Trade Dollars, the Strait Settlements Dollar, the iconic 8 Reales of the Spanish, etc. 

Now, an ink chopmark is a specific type of chopmark that had a similar purpose. However, the application was different: instead of a hammer and press it was typically painted on with a stamp with a strong and permanent india ink or calligraphic ink. For my 10 cents, it has the Chinese character of 香 which is the first character in 香港 or Hong Kong. 

Addtional Information: