It is not difficult to discern why they call this a 'fatman' dollar. President Yuan Shikai of China was not all that fat, but it sure looks like he was in his profile on this coin. There are two denominations, 50 cents and 1 dollar. Both coins look very similar, but their size is different.
Evaluating these coins is not easy. First we list some very approximate catalog values:
50 CENTS (1/2 YUAN) 30 mm diameter, 0.306 troy ounces silver
worn: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $50
well preserved: $100
fully uncirculated: $300
1 DOLLAR (1 YUAN) 37 mm diameter, 0.755 troy ounces silver
worn: $20 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $50 to $500
well preserved: $75 to $1000
fully uncirculated: $100 to $2000
If you have a 50 cent coin you must apply the principles presented on our Important Terminology page (link at upper left) to convert the catalog values given above to actual buy and sell values.
But, if you have a 1 dollar coin, the evaluation is complicated, and beyond the scope of our CoinQuest forum. The list above indicates values for well preserved yuan coins between $75 and $1000. This is quite a wide range, as explained below. In a nutshell, you will need either a world coin catalog that covers the years 1914 to 1921 (look in the library) or you will need advice from a knowledgeable coin collector or dealer.
The coin in our picture comes from repsected eBay seller debsjims in Oklahoma, USA. It is mounted in a PCGS numismatic slab, identified as coin Y-329.6, dated 1921, and graded (numismatic grade) MS62.
All this information directly affects the value of the coin. If you have a fatman dollar, you must at least get a coin catalog, or talk to a knowledgable collector or coin dealer. The many nuances in this coin cause wide value shifts as shown in our value listings above on this page.
(1) The PCGS slab is important because it guards against counterfeits. Counterfeits are worth zero. But watch out. Counterfeiters are getting so good, they sometimes make fake PCGS slabs.
(2) The coin dealer, debsjims, is a repuatable dealer, with an eBay rating over 300 and 100 percent positive feedback. Working with high quality coin dealers is absolutely essential in today's counterfeit-laden market.
(3) The Y-329.6 codification gives the variety of the coin. Varieties are small variations within a single series of coins, and it takes a trained eye to tell them apart. For instance, some varieties have 6 Chinese characters above Shihkai's head, others have 7 Chinese characters. There are also differences in the edge design which make a difference to value.
(4) Dating the coin can be tricky unless you are familiar with Chinese characters and dynasties.
(5) Finally the grade (MS62 for debsjims's coin) is graduation of CoinQuest's fully uncirculated specification. An MS62 coin is worth more than, for example, an MS60 coin, and less than an MS65 coin.
Factors like these are well beyond the ken of CoinQuest. Consult with a coin catalog or a knowledgable collector or coin dealer.