Honolulu Mint – 1989 Chinese in Hawaii Bicentennial Medal

I decided to purchase a silver 1989 Chinese in Hawaii Bicentennial coin (2M-45) even though it does not match the picture (2M-45) in the M&R guidebook. This is my third go around to investigate this coin online. It is highly likely that the M&R picture is incorrect.


The compelling points to purchase:

1. Proper copyright by Honolulu Mint designer. The © SL can be seen above Chinese. SL is for Steven Lee.

Steven Lee, an award winning jewelry designer, founded the Honolulu Mint in 1985. Lee applied his expertise and artistry to first produce a line of coin and ingot jewelry featuring Hawaiian Royalty. Steven Lee was trained at the US government San Francisco Mint where the nations’ proof-quality commemorative coins are minted. There he studied press design and minting operations. An avid collector of historical and numismatic collectibles, Lee has also engineered and built a number of minting presses.  Source: http://www.storesonline.com/site/580760/page/45030/Chinese%20Zodiac

The © SL can also bee seen several Hawaiian coins, medals, and bullion bars.

sl1 sl2

2. Proper reference to creating the Chinese in Hawaii Bicentennial Celebration medal is online.

In 1989, a joint effort between the Governor’s commission and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce sought to produce a coin for the bi-centennial of the Chinese arrival to the Hawaiian Islands. The Honolulu Mint submitted designs and proposals as did many other mints. Ultimately, the Honolulu Mint was chosen as the best company to produce these commemoratives. The resulting coins, minted in pure silver, were an instant success and eagerly sought after by collectors. Source: http://www.storesonline.com/site/580760/page/45030/Chinese%20Zodiac

The 1989 Chinese In Hawaii Bicentennial medal is most  likely the launch coin/medal for the Honolulu Mint making it very desirable to collectors.

3. Actual mintage of the silver 39 mm medal is unknown

However, I did locate additional information on 2M-48 and 2M-49 and its very limited.

“Two 1989 Bicentennial Medals celebrating 200 years of the Chinese in Hawaii. The medals were struck by the Honolulu Mint and are 39.2 mm. in diameter. One is struck in .9999 gold and the other in .999 silver, both containing one troy pound of their respective metals. The gold medallion is number nine of just ten pieces minted and the silver is number 47 of 50. A beautiful and valuable offering.” Source: http://coins.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=122&lotNo=8473

This is interesting in that the diameter is 39.2mm and weight 1 troy pound(12 troy oz)

4. It will interesting to examine the coin in person. Another website provides its physical properties:

  • 39.2mm Diameter
  • 2.9mm Thickness
  • Reeded Edge
  • 31.1g Total Gram Weight (~1 oz)

5. Image of the coin’s design  in a Honolulu Mint advertisement (not sure about the gold trim on the coin). Design is there and the SL initials are there.: