China Silver Dollar
Emperor Hung Hsien, China, 1916
Yuan Shikai - Flying Dragon
for the installation of Yuan as Emperor Hung Hsien
26.88 grams; Silver 900; size: 39.3 mm
Obverse: Bust of Yuan Shikai in military uniform facing wearing plumed hat;
Reverse: A dragon flying to left; above four Chinese characters; below, four Chinese characters
Engraver: Luigi Giorgi
Dollar (Yuan), Yuan Shikai as the emperor Hung Hsien (Hongxian), Republic of China, nd (1916). Mint not recorded. Yuan Shih Kai proclaimed himself Emperor on 1 Jan 1916 with the era name Hung Hsien (Hongxian) meaning 'constitutional abundance'. The move did not obtain widespread support as had been expected. Provinces rebelled and on 22 March he abandoned the claim. He died on 5 June of kidney failure.
This commemorative honors Yuan Shih-kai, one of the leading generals of the new Republic of China, founded in a burst of idealism in 1912 by Sun Yat-sen. The idealism quickly dissipated as various warlords jockeyed for power. Yuan Shih-kai managed to get himself crowned emperor before he died in 1916. Numerous varieties exist of this type.
The Yuan Shikai "dollar" issued for the first time in 1914, became a dominant coin type of the Republic of China. Yuan Shikai (16 September 1859 – 6 June 1916) was a Chinese general, politician and "emperor", famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor, his autocratic rule as the first President of the Republic of China, and his short-lived attempt to restore monarchy in China, with himself as the Hongxian Emperor (simplified Chinese: 洪宪皇帝; traditional Chinese: 洪憲皇帝; pinyin: Hóngxiàn Huángdì; Wade–Giles: Hung2-hsien4 Huang2-ti4).
Yuan Shih Kai (1859AD-1916AD) was born in Hsiang-Cheng of Honan Province in the 9th year of the Hsien Fung reign. In 1882, he followed the commander of Anhui army, Wu Chang-Ch'ing went to Korea to help the Korean king train a new imperial army. In 1884, he was recalled back to China. By the help of Li Hung-chang , he became a 3rd-grade official in charge of training a modern army at Hsiao-Chan near Tientsin in 1895. Later, he was promoted to the position of assistant minister in charged of military training, as he pretended to support institutional reforms. In 1897, he promoted as the governor of Shantung province, and two years later he was promoted again to be the governor of Chihli province. In 1901 he promoted as the minister of Peiyang, gradually becoming the leader of the Peiyang warlords, as he won the trust of Empress Dowager Szu Hsi. Yuan took part in the suppression of Boxers insurgent in 1900. In 1907, Yuan was summoned to the court to became a grand minister of the Privy Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs. After Dowager Empress died, he was stripped of all his offices in 1909.