Gold Panda Coins
of the People's Republic of China

Stacks Image 586

Pictured above, the inaugural gold panda coin from 1982

The year 1982 is the first year that the People’s Bank of China began to release panda coins featuring detailed drawings of panda bears, the national animal of China on the reverse face of the coins. The symbolism of the panda is highly important in China. Because of the black and white coloring of the animal, it is linked to the Chinese symbols of yin and yang, perfect opposites existing in harmony. This made the panda a likely subject for some of the earliest modern collectible Chinese coins released onto the market. The panda coin has remained popular for the past thirty years, and each year, the coins become even more highly sought after and collectible.

Chinese panda coins feature a wide variety of delicately rendered scenes of pandas on the reverse faces of the coin and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests on the obverse faces of the coin. Along with the beautiful, idyllic scenes of pandas on the reverse face, one can see the metallic specifications of the coin. The coins also show the face value on the reverse face. On the obverse face of the coins, above the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, is the inscription, “The People’s Republic of China” in Chinese characters. Below the Hall of Prayer, one can see the year of release for each coin. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is an important cultural symbol as well, important as a religious and historical landmark as well as an architectural accomplishment with influence throughout the Far East.

Chinese panda coins range in size from a unique five kilogram coin released in 1991 to a one gram coin that was released in the very same year. The five kilo coin has sold before for more than one million U.S. dollars. These coins are not typical, different series include gold panda coins from one kilogram all the way down to 1/20 oz. The mintage of these coins also varies considerably, from just 10 (in the case of the 1991 five kilogram commemorative coin marking the 10th anniversary of the series), to over 500,000. For each year, several illustrations of the Chinese panda are released as the decorations for the panda coins. The scenes are carefully drawn by skilled artists, who work to capture lifelike detail of the still endangered animal. Many of the designs also feature bamboo, a symbol of peace and contentment in China.

For collectors, Chinese panda coins are extremely popular because there is such a wide diversity of values, weights, designs and metals available. A collector can assemble a unique set of Chinese panda coins that appeals to him or her. One could seek to purchase, for example, a set of the five gold, brilliant uncirculated coins from 1995 (each varying in diameter and weight). Alternatively, one could assemble a set of coins all of the same weight, but from different years, like the 1/10 oz coins released from 1982 to 2012 or all 31 of the 1 oz gold panda coins released from 1982 to 2012.

The most common coins, those highest in mintage, were released during the mid to late 1980s and during the mid 2000s. The panda coins released during these years were minted in the hundreds of thousands, likely due to the boom in popularity for panda coins in the 1980s and the rising value of gold in the mid 2000s. Because of the rising value of gold and the uncertain economic climate of the world, collecting gold is a type of insurance policy for some, particularly coin collectors. Panda coins, some of the most beautiful and perfectly constructed coins available, are a fantastic and attractive way to own gold; anywhere from modest premiums over the gold spot price on upward.