Money money money, in a rich man's world

Money money money, in a rich man's world

A Singaporean coin and banknote enthusiast is set to make millions in Hong Kong when he puts his collection up for auction

If you're sitting on some spare cash and wondering what to do with it, perhaps take a leaf, or maybe that should be a note, from Singapore property developer George Lim's book. An expert coin collector, Lim predicts that China’s ancient gold coins could be a savvy investment. And he's selling millions of dollars worth of his existing coin and note collection as a result. 

“I want to sell some of my existing collection to make room for Chinese coins. That’s the future. With the economy in China booming, there should be more interest in coins and coin collecting in China.”

Lim is heading to Hong Kong this weekend to put his coins under the hammer. Michael Hans Chou, CEO of auction house iAssure, which handles Lim’s collection, says forgeries from Asia have forced them to Hong Kong.

“The majority of forgeries are now coming from South East Asia and especially China," says Chou. “We cannot risk holding the auction in China because there are no governing bodies over auctions of this kind on the mainland.” 

All of Lim’s coins have to be certified by the American third-party grading body, the NGC.

The Ultima Coin Collection Auction by George Lim will take place on Sunday August 22 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Die-hard collectors from the United States, China and Singapore as well as Hong Kong, are expected to attend.

“Coin collecting is a niche hobby and collectors like their privacy,” says Lim. “But I made a name for myself back home by buying and selling coins and bank notes, and now everyone who’s a collector recognizes me.”

George cites some impressive items in his collection. Among them is a Singaporean $10,000 note (face value US$7,400) which happens to be the first note, or No. 1, in the entire series. He expects it to fetch around US$500,000 on Sunday’s auction.

And his Yunnan Spring Dollar coin is the only one known to exist in the world. Most collectors didn’t know that George was the owner before the catalogue for this auction was launched. “The Spring Dollar is special because most coins only state the year they were issued, but this one has the season next to the year,” says George. “I expect it to be the first Chinese coin to bring in US$1 million on Sunday’s auction.”


Lorea Solabarrieta is an anchor and China business reporter for NHK World's Newsline and Asia Biz Forecast.
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