China 1996 1 oz Gold Panda

100 Yuan Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

About the China 1996 1 oz Gold Panda 100 Yuan Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

The coin pictured above is one of twenty-seven 1996 panda coins.  Of the twenty-seven produced in this year, sixteen coins are gold, five are silver, two are platinum, and four are bi-metallic.  The reverse of the coins in this series show different images of pandas.  The obverse of the coins all bear the inscription: “The People's Republic of China”.  Below this inscription on all coins in the group is an image of the Temple of Heaven with its extensive and iconic set of stairs leading up to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, below which is the year of issue, 1996.

The Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 AD and situated in southern Beijing, was the place where the Qing (1644-1912) and Ming (1368-1644) emperors would go to make offerings to Heaven for a good harvest.  The importance of these sacrifices could not be underestimated as China's wealth and political stability depended on good harvests.  A poor harvest would not only cause starvation and an economic crisis, but might indicate that the Emperor, whose rule was mandated by Heaven, had fallen out of favour with Heaven, and had therefore lost his legitimacy to rule.

This is the 100 yuan, 1 oz gold coin of the series issued in 1996.  It is a brilliant uncirculated (BU) coin of 99.9% purity and has a mintage of 22,009.  When the coins were struck in 1996 two versions were produced, one by the Shanghai mint, the other by the Shenyang mint.  The Shenyang mint produced a coin with a large date beneath the image on the obverse, while the Shanghai mint issued a coin with a small date beneath the image.

The reverse of the coin shows a picture of a lone panda climbing a tree, looking down as it hugs the trunk.  The denomination is inscribed to the left of the image.  Around the right edge of the reverse face is an inscription pertaining to the specifications of the coin.  It reads: “.999 1 oz Au”.

These 1 oz BU gold panda coins have been issued annually since 1982, forming a collectable series comprising one coin with these specifications from each year.  Each coin in the series has a unique panda image on the reverse except for the coins struck in 2001 and 2002 which have the same image.  This was because of an idea that was developed at the time to keep the panda image on the reverse the same from 2001 onwards.  However this idea was quickly dismissed.

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