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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chinese Gold Coins

There are two Chinese gold coins of note issued by the Chinese Government.

The Unicorn gold coin, issued in 1986, is legal tender in the People’s Republic of China. Struck by the People's Bank of China, the obverse (head) depicts a Chinese unicorn - the title of PRC in Chinese and the issuing year, and on the reverse (tail) the Western unicorn.

They are 99% pure gold and weigh one twentieth of a troy ounce. They have a face value of 5 Yuan but will sell for around 40 to 50 dollars US depending on the condition. The condition should always be brilliant uncirculated as far as serious coin collectors are concerned.

The other Chinese gold coin available is the very popular Panda. Probably due to the adorable and cute pandas, always a favorite animal around the world, featured on the obverse (head) of the coins.

The Panda was first produced in 1982 and comes in one tenth, one quarter, one half and a full troy ounce in weight coin. Although the design is that of a Panda on the obverse, each year, with the exception of 1992, a different panda design was struck. All are brilliant uncirculated.

From 1986 to 1995 proof sets were issued and these now command a very respectable price due to their increasing rarity.

Another gold coin, although it could hardly be called a coin as it looks more like a wafer or bar, is the China Year of the Monkey 2004 half troy ounce coin. This features, of course, a monkey on the obverse and is not round like most coins but fan shaped. These usually come brilliant uncirculated and in a presentation box. Only 6600 were made so these are quite rare. They will sell for between 400 and 500 dollars US each.

The Chinese Mint sometimes issues other Gold Commemorative Coins.

Some examples are:
1979 International Children's Year gold commemorative coin (First year gold coin)
Mintage: 13000
Denomination: 450 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 27mm
Fineness: 90%
Weight: 1/2oz
Reverse shows two children planting a tree.
Can be purchased for about 325 to 350 dollars US.

1993 Peacock Gold Coin
Mintage: 1200
Denomination: 100 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 32mm
Fineness: 99.9%
Weight: 1oz
Obverse: The Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Imperial Palace.
Reverse: "Peacock" painted by Lang Shining in Qing Dynasty.
Usually costs about 1000 dollars US

1994 Endangered Wildlife Gold commemorative coin (Panda)
Mintage: 5000
Denomination: 100 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 23mm
Fineness: 91.6%
Weight: 8g
Available for around 340 – 350 dollars US

1995 Dinosaur gold commemorative coin
Mintage: 2000
Denomination: 50 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 27mm Fineness: 99.9%
Weight: 1/2oz
Obverse: The Wooden Pagoda in Shanxi province.
Reverse: Dinosaur.
This coin will fetch over 400 dollars US

1998 Guilin Scenery gold commemorative coin set (4 rectangular shaped coins)
Mintage: 1600 sets (actually mintage only 904 sets)
Denomination: 50 Yuan x 4
Fineness: 99.9%
Weight: 1/2oz x 4 Diameter: (29mm x 19mm) x 4
Obverse: Four famous scenic pots ( the Elephant Trunk Hill, The Flowery Bridge, The Duxiu Peak and the Nanxi Hill).
Reverse: Guilin landscape.

This set regularly fetches over 2000 dollars US.
With such an impressive selection of popular and rare gold coins, a coin enthusiast can enjoy a fascinating and absorbing hobby collecting Chinese gold coins.

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