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Jan212013

02:46:43 am

What's out there for collectors of Chinese gold panda coins?

Whether it's because of the fascination and admiration that people have worldwide for the panda; the attraction of investing in gold; or the variety of sets available for acquisition - making these coins accessible to many collectors, Chinese gold panda coins have continued to enjoy international popularity among collectors and investors alike, consistently ranking among the top 5 gold coin investment choices in the world.  So what is out there for collectors of these highly sought after coins?  Here is a brief overview.

Gold panda coins of various denominations and sizes were first issued by the People's Bank of China in 1982.  They have been issued every year since then in series comprising brilliant uncirculated coins of 99.9% fineness weighing 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz; with face values of 25 yuan, 50 yuan, 100 yuan, 200 yuan, and 500 yuan respectively - however, the 1/20 oz coin was only introduced in 1983.  From 1986 to 1995, proof quality sets were also issued alongside the brilliant uncirculated ones.

The obverse side of the coins shows a picture of the Temple of Heaven with the year of production and an inscription in characters which translates as 'People's Republic of China', while the reverse side features a portrait of one or more pandas.  With the exception of the coins produced in 2001 and 2002, the images are unique from year to year.  The idea to keep the reverse picture the same turned out to be very unpopular with collectors, many of whom spoke out in defence of changing the image annually.  The idea was shelved, and in 2003 a new unique portrait was chosen.

Several different mints around China produce these pieces, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Shenyang.  Many mints around the world use specific mint marks on their coins to show which mint they were produced at, but Chinese mints tend not to use these marks.  However, there are some small identifiable variations in the design of the gold panda coins in certain years which, if you know what you are looking for, allow for the originating mint to be known.  Such variations include the size of the date and the design of the Temple of Heaven on the obverse face.

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