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Impressive Wu Zhu Mold
Pedigreed to Arthur B. Coole (1900-1978)

CNG 111, Lot: 918. Estimate $15000.
Sold for $17000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CHINA, Eastern Hàn dynasty. temp. Guāngwŭdì (?). AD 25-57. Æ Mold for Wu Zhu (228x78mm). Bronze mold for production of Wu Zhu coins. Impressions for casting twelve coins, with deep central casting channel, peg and sockets for aligning the reverse mold on the face and flanges for gripping on the back. Cf. Thierry, Wu Zhu 44-5; cf. BN Chinoises II 541-2 (for similar style Wu Zhu); cf. Shanghai VIII 277-273 (for similar Wu Zhu molds). Intact, emerald green patina with dappled corrosion. In custom wooden storage box. Very rare.

Ex Album 31 (17 May 2018), lot 2768; Lynn Knight (12 June 2011), lot 2580; Spink-Taisei 3 (11 February 1988), lot 69; Jack Klausen inventory, c. 1964-1988; Arthur B. Coole Collection (1900-1978).

Bruce W. Smith, who cataloged this piece and others in its 2011 auction appearance, provided the following pedigree information to the E-Sylum (Volume 14, Number 18, 1 May 2011):
The well-known collector of Chinese coins, Arthur B. Coole (1900-1978), sold his collection of Chinese coins and paper money to Kansas City coin dealer Jack Klausen in 1964. In the fall of 1963 he prepared an inventory of the collection, and published about 15 copies for Klausen and various friends. Coole asked Klausen to agree not to break up the collection -- that is, if Klausen sold it he should sell it intact. Klausen agreed and hoped to sell the collection to a museum. He was unable to do so, and during 1977-1978 sold the collection to Taiwan coin dealer, J. S. Lee.
Years later it turned out that Lee did not buy all of the collection. There were some parts on which apparently they could not agree on a price. In 1988 Klausen consigned the coin trees, coin molds, and paper money printing blocks and seals to a Taisei sale, but they did not sell (despite published prices realized for those lots). I believe he consigned them to a different sale in the early 1990's (perhaps Pacific Coast Auctions). Whether they sold at that time or not is unclear, but the material was donated to a museum in Texas, either by the 1990's buyer or by Klausen's estate after his death in 2006.