China 2002 1 oz Gold Panda

500 Yuan Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

About the China 2002 1 oz Gold Panda 500 Yuan Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

The coin pictured above is one of ten 2002 panda coins.  Of the ten coins issued in this year, six are gold, three are silver, and one is platinum.  The reverse of the coins in this series show images of pandas.  The obverse of the coins all bear the inscription: “The People's Republic of China”.  Below this inscription on all gold coins in the group is an image of the Temple of Heaven with its imposing set of stairs leading up to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, below which is the year of issue, 2002.

The Temple of Heaven was the place where the emperors of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing  (1644-1912) dynasties would go at the winter solstice to worship Heaven and pray for a good harvest.  This was of particular significance for them since not only did the wealth of China depend on good agricultural output, but it was also believed that Heaven gave the Emperor his mandate to rule, and a poor harvest might indicate to the people that the Emperor had lost this mandate.  So the political stability of the country depended on a good harvest as well.

This is the 500 yuan, 1 oz gold coin of the series issued in 2002.  It is a brilliant uncirculated (BU) coin of 99.9% purity and has a mintage of 120,000.  The reverse of the coin shows an image of a solitary panda walking among dense bamboo plants, appearing from behind a cluster of bamboo stems in the foreground.  The denomination is inscribed below the image.  Around the top left edge of the reverse face is an inscription pertaining to the specifications of the coin.  It reads: “1 oz Au .999”.

These coins have been struck every year starting in 1982 and together they form a collectable series of 1 oz BU gold panda coins.  On the reverse of each coin is a unique panda image with the exception of the years 2001 and 2002 which have identical reverse faces.  It was originally planned that the panda image would remain the same each year starting from 2001, but this idea was quickly abandoned.  Many collectors chose not to acquire the 2002 coin because of its similarity with the 2001 coin.  

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