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Hong Kong Signature Sale 3117  19-21 Jun 2024
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Lot 30126

Starting price: 340 000 USD
Price realized: 680 000 USD
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China
People's Republic gold Proof "Seismography" 2000 Yuan (1 Kilo) 1992 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC, Shenyang mint, KM425, Cheng-pg. 118, 2, CC-409. Scientific Inventions and Discoveries of Ancient China Series. Serial #008. Produced to a minuscule mintage of just 10 pieces according to the certificate, although Chan suggests an actual mintage of 16. Issued in recognition of the innovative seismoscope, one of the earliest known instruments for detecting earthquakes. An incredibly satisfying selection broadcasting glorious resplendence and mirroring depth to the virtually pristine fields. The China Pricepedia has recorded no prior sales, and the present cataloger was able to locate only one example offered in a public auction in 2003, underscoring the momentous opportunity at hand. Accompanied by the original case of issue and highly auspicious COA #008.

Seismography, the science of measuring and recording the details of earthquakes, has a fascinating history marked by significant advancements and inventions. The earliest attempts to systematically record seismic events date back to ancient times. One of the earliest known seismoscopes was invented by Zhang Heng in AD 132. He was a Chinese philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, engineer, and inventor who served as an official in the imperial court of the Han dynasty. His device, known as the "earthquake weathervane," was remarkably sophisticated for its time. It consisted of a large bronze vessel with eight dragon heads around its top, each holding a ball in its mouth. Below each dragon head was a toad with its mouth open to catch the ball. An earthquake would shake the device, causing a ball to drop into a frog's mouth, indicating the direction of the quake. The seismoscope was reported to have successfully detected an earthquake in AD 134 that occurred approximately 400 miles away in what is now the modern province of Gansu. Despite the success, the original designs and more detailed descriptions of the seismoscope's inner workings were lost over time, and no replicas from that period have survived. Zhang Heng's invention remains a significant milestone in the history of geology and seismology, representing one of the earliest endeavors to create a scientific instrument for detecting earthquakes.

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Estimate: 680000-700000 USD
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