1996 5 oz Gold Hong Kong Return

500 Yuan Proof Coin

About the 1996 5 oz Gold Hong Kong Return 500 Yuan Proof Coin

A set of three proof coins, two gold and one silver, was produced in 1996 celebrating the then future transition of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the UK to China in 1997. 

Shown above is the 500 yuan 5 oz gold coin of the set.  It has a mintage of 228 and a purity of 99.99%.  Its diameter is 60mm.

The three coins have identical designs and were struck at the Shanghai mint.  The obverse faces feature the inscription in Chinese which translates as: “The People's Republic of China”, below which is an image of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, with an ornamental totem pillar bounded by peony leaves appearing in the foreground.  The Gate of Heavenly Peace marks the entrance to the Imperial Palace to the north side of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  It was first built in 1420 at the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  Beneath the image is the year of issue, 1996.

The reverse faces feature an image of the book of Basic Law of the People's Republic of China governing the special administrative region of Hong Kong.  The book is surrounded by flowers and bears the National Emblem of China and the Chinese characters which read: “The People's Republic of China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Basic Law”.  Below this is a background picture of Hong Kong harbour and the denomination, 500 yuan.  A traditional Chinese junk and a ferry are depicted sailing across the harbour.  Around the left edge of the coin face is the inscription in Chinese characters which translates as: “Smooth Transition Long-term Prosperity”.  The English translation of these characters is inscribed around the right edge of the coin face.

The United Kingdom acquired Hong Kong as a colony as part of the peace settlement following the First Opium War (1839-1842) during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).  However, on 19th December 1984, China and the UK signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration in which the UK agreed to transfer sovereignty of Hong Kong to China on 1st July 1997 on the condition that Hong Kong kept its laws and high level of autonomy for a period of at least 50 years following the transition of power.

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