About Chinese Lunar Fan Gold Coins
Over a period of twelve years starting in 2000 and ending in 2011, a series of twelve 1/2 oz gold fan-shaped lunar coins were issued to commemorate the role of the animals of the Chinese zodiac in Chinese culture. The coins are both brilliant uncirculated (BU) and proof coins, depending on the year, each containing 99.9% pure gold and they have a radius of curvature of 52 mm for the outer edge and 33 mm for the inner edge. The sides of the coin form a central angle of 30°, meaning that 12 coins fit together when placed side-by-side to form a circular ring, representing the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. The authorized mintage is 6,600 for each year. All coins feature one of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, corresponding to the year of issue of the coin. The first coin in the series is the 2000 Year of the Dragon coin. The last is the 2011 Year of the Rabbit coin. In addition to commemorating the Chinese Zodiacs, this series pays tribute to paper fan drawings and fan-shaped canvas drawings – two very important aspects of traditional Chinese art.
Featured on the reverse faces of the coins are images of the animals in the Chinese zodiac. The twelve animals as they appear in order in the twelve year cycle are as follows: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit (or hare), dragon, snake, horse, sheep (or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and the pig. In the tradition of Chinese astrology and fortune-telling, each animal embodies a set of characteristics. The year in which a person is born dictates their animal sign. It is believed that a person with a certain zodiac sign will have similar personality traits, both positive and negative, associated with the animal sign. Fortune-telling and astrology have a long history in Chinese culture, dating as far back as the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), and played an important role in political and military decisions in ancient China. Despite being such an ancient practice, these superstitions and beliefs still influence many Chinese today.
The face value of the coins also appear inscribed on the reverse faces. Of the twelve coins in this set, the 2000 Year of the Dragon coin has a face value of 50 yuan, while the remaining eleven coins all have face values of 200 yuan.
Featured on the obverse faces of the coins is an inscription struck in Chinese characters which translates as: “The People's Republic of China”. This appears at the top of the coin face. The year for which the coin was produced appears below this inscription. Underneath this on each coin is an image of a different site with particular historical significance from the path of the Great Wall. Construction on the Great Wall began following the unification of China under Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC), the first emperor of China and founder of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). The wall has been rebuilt, extended, and repaired throughout Chinese history, most notably during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Today it extends for more than 20,000 km. Most of the sites featured on the coins are drum towers, bell towers, or gateways of strategic passes. The majority of the images show parts of the Great Wall that were built or modified and upgraded during the Ming Dynasty.
First issued in 2000 (the year of Dragon), the Gold Fan series are fan-shaped gold coins that are unique to the Chinese Lunar series. In addition to commemorating the Chinese Zodiacs, this series pays tribute to paper fan drawings and fan-shaped canvas drawings – two very important aspects of traditional Chinese art. The Gold Fans are ½ oz in size, with a radius of curvature of 52 mm for the outer edge and 33 mm for the inner edge. The sides of the coin form a central angle of 30°, meaning that 12 coins fit together when placed side-by-side to form a circular ring, representing the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. All Gold Fans have 99.9% purity and a mintage of 6600 (each year), and they all have a denomination of 200 Yuan except for the 2000 Dragon Gold Fan, which has a denomination of 50 Yuan.