1998 Kilo Gold Vault Protector
2000 Yuan Proof Coin
About the 1998 Kilo Gold Vault Protector 2000 Yuan Proof Coin
Pictured above is the 1998, 2000 yuan, 1 kg gold Vault Protector coin which forms part of a series of four Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) vault protectors. Their reverse faces are replicas of a design used in circulation during the Tang Dynasty.
The coins are round in shape, with a square hole in the centre in the style of the ancient Chinese 'cash' coin. This coin shape has been prevalent and the official currency throughout Chinese history for some 2,000 years. Similarly the method of production remained largely unchanged over this period. Historically, these coins would have been cast in copper. Production of this type of copper cash stopped at the beginning of the 20th Century. In ancient China, since these coins were cast in sets of coin 'trees' rather than struck, they required a certain degree of smartening and filing after being separated from the 'branches' in order to get a smooth edge on them. The purpose of the square hole in the centre is to facilitate filing: many coins could be filed at one time when laced onto a square rod without them spinning when the file was applied.
The 1 kg gold coin shown above is a plate-sized proof piece measuring 100mm in diameter and having a fineness of 99.9%. It was struck at the Shanghai Mint with a very low mintage of 68. The reverse face features four traditional Chinese characters as they would have appeared on a Tang Dynasty coin. At the top is Da; at the bottom is Tang; to the left is Ku; and to the right is Zhen. Da Tang together mean “Tang Dynasty”, while Zhen Ku (read right to left, as was the custom in ancient China) means “Vault Protector”. It is thought that, traditionally, for the master cash coin used to make the moulds which were in turn used to cast all the other cash coins, the characters were written by the hand of the Emperor himself.
The obverse face features a symmetrical foliage motif which surrounds and grows around the central square hole. Above the square hole is struck the denomination, 2000 yuan. Below appears the inscription: “The People's Republic of China”, and the year of issue, 1998, which is itself surrounded by a small leafy motif.