1997 5 oz Gold Dolphin

500 Yuan Proof Coin

About the 1997 5 oz Gold Dolphin 500 Yuan Proof Coin

In 1997 a series of four coins was issued by the People's Bank of China commemorating endangered wildlife.  Of these four coins, two are silver and two are gold.  Three of them commemorate the endangered white dolphin, and the fourth commemorates the endangered white swan.  They are all proof coins of 99.9% fineness.  The design on the obverse faces is the same for all four coins and features an inscription at the top of the face in traditional Chinese characters: “The People's Republic of China”, below which is the National Emblem of China.  At the bottom of the coin face appears the year of issue, 1997.

Seen above is the 500 yuan 5 oz gold commemorative coin from the endangered wildlife series.  It commemorates the white dolphin.  It has a very low mintage of a mere 188 pieces, the lowest in the series, and a diameter of 60mm.

Depicted on the reverse face of the coin is a picture of two white dolphins.  They are shown leaping out of the water against a backdrop of Hong Kong harbour.  The Chinese white dolphin, which usually lives for about 40 years, inhabits the seas around south eastern China.  It is typically 2 - 3.5m in length and weighs 150 to 230 kg.  Despite being called white, the Chinese white dolphin is actually pink in colour due to overdeveloped blood vessels close to the skin used for thermo-regulation.  As of the year 2000, there were only around 80-140 of these animals remaining in around the Pearl River.  They were adopted as the official mascot of the ceremonies related to the sovereignty changes of Hong Kong in 1997.  Above the image of the dolphins is an inscription in Chinese characters followed by an English translation: “Chinese White Dolphin”.  The denomination, 500 yuan, appears to the right of the coin face.

 

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