FREE Shanghai Mint notes anniversary of refugees with medals
Shanghai Mint notes anniversary of refugees with medals
Medals commemorate arrival of Jews fleeing German persecution
BY JEFF STARCK COIN WORLD STAFF
Under persecution from the Nazis, European
Jews fled across the globe, including to a
settlement in Shanghai, China.
Seventy years ago, an estimated 20,000 refugees began arriving at the Designated Area For
Stateless Refugees, known as the “Shanghai
Ghetto” or “Hongkew Ghetto.” The arrival of
the refugees is memorialized on new medals
from China’s Shanghai Mint.
The Proof .999 fine silver and Proof .999 fine
gold medals are the first numismatic items
from a Chinese mint to have a theme related to
Jewish history, according to Danny Spungen,
president of Why Not Collectibles of Lincolnshire, Ill., which is coordinating the issue.
The 1-ounce silver, 1-ounce gold and 5-ounce
gold medals feature the same designs (with
exception of specification details), which were
created by engraver “Rocky” Zhao, who has
designed more than 40 Chinese commemorative coins and medals.
The obverse of the medal depicts a symbolic
street scene with a Chinese lady holding an
umbrella over a young refugee girl (who Spungen calls “Sarah”) who holds a toy panda. A
reference to the metallic content and weight
appears on the obverse, with the 2013 date.
A mezuzah, a small parchment with a biblical
passage, traditionally placed by Jews on door
posts of their homes, can be seen on a doorway to the left of the child. The street address
on the door — 1943 — is symbolic of the year
the district opened to the refugees.
The reverse shows a harbor scene with the
SS Conte Biancamano, one of the steamer
ships that carried refugees from Europe, the
Bund business district and the words, SHANGHAI MEMORY. Birds in the sky over the harbor fly
in a formation that resembles the numeral 70
to represent the anniversary.
Each medal is individually etched with its
limited edition number on the reverse.
The 1-ounce silver medals measure 40 millimeters in diameter, the 1-ounce gold pieces
are 32 millimeters in diameter and the 5-ounce
gold medals measure 60 millimeters.
The medals and scroll are housed in a wood
box with a glass top, in memory of Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,” the 1938
night of assaults and vandalism that led to an
escalation of the flight of Jewish refugees out
of Nazi Germany and Austria.
The 1-ounce silver medal is limited to a mintage of 5,773 pieces (representing the current
year in the Jewish calendar) and costs $188
each. The 1-ounce gold medal is limited to 570
medals and costs $3,636, and the 5-ounce
medal, limited to 36 pieces, costs $32,000.
A total of 164 two-medal sets, with the
1-ounce versions, as well as 36 three-medal
sets with all three versions, are available,
though pricing for the sets was not disclosed.
Delivery will begin at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in
Rosemont, Ill., Aug. 13 to 17.
The 2013 medals are the first in a five-year
program honoring Jewish history in China.
In 2014 the medal program will feature a
1-ounce silver medal (limited to 5,774 pieces)
and a 5-ounce silver medal (limited to 571
pieces. The designs for the 2014 medal will be
unveiled at the 2013 ANA show.
Three U.S. distributors offer the 2013 medals,
the KMJ Group, Mish International Monetary
Inc. and Qian’s Coins & Collectibles.
Telephone the KMJ Group at 562-888-2596
or visit www.thekmjgroup.com.
Contact Robert Mish at 650-324-9110 or visit
Qian’s Coins & Collectibles may be reached
at 857-928-2750 or at [email protected]
For more information about the medals, visit
or direct any email messages to Spungen at
[email protected] ■
Photographs by Donn Pearlman.
The Shanghai Mint remembers the 70th anniversary
of the settlement of the Shanghai Ghetto with new
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