1996 5 oz Gold Romance of the Three Kingdoms

500 Yuan Proof Coin

About the 1996 5 oz Gold Romance of the Three Kingdoms 500 Yuan Proof Coin

This attractive coin pictured above is one of seven issued in 1996 in recognition of the great work of classical Chinese literature, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong (c. 1330 - 1400).  It is the 500 yuan, 5 oz gold coin of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms commemorative series.  Struck at the Shanghai Mint, this proof coin, certified to contain 99.9% pure gold, is a sizeable piece measuring 60mm in diameter and has a mintage of 99.

The historical novel is loosely based on real political and military events that occurred around the time of the collapse of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).  The dramatic scene depicted on the reverse face is the Battle of Guandu, which took place in 200 AD as a prelude to the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280) between the forces of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao - two warlords active at the time.  Cao Cao won a decisive victory despite being under a state of siege and being very short on supplies.  He sent out small units of cavalry to attack and disrupt his adversary's supply lines, breaking the siege with great success and eventually routing Yuan Shao's army.  It is one of these impressive cavalry charges that is so dramatically captured in the picture on the coin face.  The details of the billowing standards and the intricate rendering of the horses and men make this image particularly striking.  To the left of the coin face appears the inscription: “Battle of Guandu”, and the face value, 500 yuan.

Shown on the obverse face is the author, Luo Guanzhong, a late Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368) and early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Chinese writer.  Aside from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he is also accredited with having contributed to another of the great works of classical Chinese literature, The Water Margin.  Appearing above his image are the characters: “Luo Guanzhong, Author of the Famous Classical Work of Chinese Literature 'The Romance of the Three Kingdoms'”.  Below is are the characters: “The People's Republic of China”, and the year of issue, 1996.


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