John Snell Chinese Coin Collection to go under the hammer


2015-06-26 12:37:49


John Snell Chinese Coin Collection to go under the hammer

The famous missionary doctor and numismatist John Snell's Chinese coin collection is to sell

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Dr. John Abner Snell served as a missionary doctor in China from 1909 until his unexpected death in March, 1936. During most of his years in China, Dr. Snell served as chief administrator and surgeon at the Methodist Hospital in Soochow (Suzhou) China.

In addition to his medical responsibilities, Dr. Snell began collecting and trading Chinese coins. His extensive collection has remained in the Snell family locked away in its original steamer trunk for 75 years, forgotten by the numismatic community until now.

Dr. Snell became an expert on Chinese coins of the early twentieth century. He wrote an article, "Chinese Copper Coins of the Twentieth Century" which was published in the June 1932 issue of The Numismatist. Inthe illustrated article, he describes the history of coinage in China after 1900.

Dr. Snell was also cited by A. M. Tracey Woodward in a 1931 article in The China Journal forhis knowledge of Chinese mints. Dr. Snell's collection consists of approximately 950 coins of which 765 are copper and brass of various denominations and 185 are silver.


Snell first arrived in China in 1909. He quickly proved himself to be an unusually gifted surgeon who achieved an almost mythic stature. His siblings would proudly describe themselves as the brothers or sisters of Dr. John Snell, "the famous missionary doctor."

The collection consists of a vast array of mostly 20th Century Chinese coins, each meticulously tied with silk twine into fifteen custom made, fabric lined trays that fit into a massive 60lb heavy steamer trunk.

This historic collection represents a time capsule of Chinese numismatics from Empire to Republic issues, augmented by an extensive offering of Provincial issues in copper, brass and silver.

There are many highlights among the group including patterns, prototypes, off-metal strikings, rare mules and rare die pairings as well as several highly sought after regular and commemorative issues from minors to crown sized denominations, clandestine coinage and even a selection of coins from other nations of Asia and abroad.

Bids close in the online auction on December 2 at Numismatic Auctions L.L.C..

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