China 2003 1 oz Gold Panda

500 Yuan Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

About the China 2003 1 oz Gold Panda 500 Yuan Brilliant Uncirculated Coin

The coin pictured above is one of ten 2003 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 the same panda.  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 iconic set of stairs leading up to it, below which is the year of production, 2003.

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 it was 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, thereby weakening his rule in the eyes of the populace.

This is the 500 yuan, 1 oz gold coin of the series produced in 2003.  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 panda emerging from a circle positioned towards the left of the reverse face, surrounded by bamboo stems.  The denomination is inscribed below and to the right of the circle.  Around the top right edge of the reverse is an inscription pertaining to the specifications of the coin.  It reads: “1 oz Au .999”.

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 bears a unique panda image on the reverse face except for of the years 2001 and 2002 which have identical panda images.  This was because of an idea that was conceived at the time to have the same panda image on the reverse face from 2001 onwards.  However this idea was quickly dismissed.  Many collectors opted not to purchase the 2002 coin because the reverse face was identical to the 2001 coin.  2003 was a relatively good year for the 1 oz BU gold panda coin, following the reintroduction of the unique panda image.

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