Silver Panda Coins
of the People's Republic of China
Pictured above, the first silver panda coin from 1983
Other popular panda coins include the one kilo silver panda coins that have been released every year since 1998. These coins each display a vividly detailed portrait of a single panda or two pandas on the reverse face. Many of the coins, like the coin produced in 1998, also feature bamboo as part of the idyllic natural scenery that surrounds the panda. While the panda is the most iconic fauna of China, it is easy to argue that bamboo is China’s most iconic flora. Another symbol of Chinese culture and history appears on the obverse face: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests located at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Not only is this monument important as a landmark representing dynastic culture and practice, it is also a highly influential work of architecture in the Far East. On the reverse face of the coin, the face value, 300 yuan, is printed below the images of the pandas. Above or to the side of the panda engravings appear the specifications for each coin: "1Kg Ag .999," signifying that the coin contains one kilogram of 99.9% pure silver. On the obverse, one can see “The People’s Republic of China” printed at the top of the coin and the year of release adorning the bottom edge. The earlier one kilogram panda coins were produced in lower quantities but the series continues to this day.
The most common of the silver panda coins is the 1 oz brilliant uncirculated panda coins, which were authorized for release starting in 1989 and have continued to be released every year since then. Many of the silver panda coins, particularly the larger-sized silver coins, are proof in quality, meaning that the coins have been struck multiple times and the engraving has been most delicately rendered in an almost three-dimensional quality. However, later coins reflect advancing technology that has allowed the China Mint to release coins that are not proof in quality but resemble the proof coins in detailing and quality. The coins struck in the 1980s and 1990s were usually distributed in sheets of ten, with ten coins per sheet in a five coin by two coin configuration. This packaging is an outer plastic seal that goes over the capsule that the coin is contained in.
Some of the most visually interesting silver panda coins were authorized for release by the People’s Bank of China but were minted in Switzerland due to a lack of proper technology in China. In 1997 and 1998, the People’s Bank authorized 1/2 oz, 5 yuan and 1 oz, 10 yuan silver coins that bear pandas that have been delicately rendered and painted in color. In 1999, only one colorized 1 oz, 10 yuan silver panda coin was released. The 1/2 oz coins that were released are 33 millimeters in diameter. The 1 oz coins are slightly larger at 40 millimeters in diameter.
Among the other weights and values of silver coins that have been produced are the 12 oz, 100 yuan proof coins, minted between 1988 and 1997. The China Mint also authorized the release of 5 oz pure, silver proof coins, which have also been popular with collectors because of their detailing and proof quality.
Silver panda coins are a good way to enter into the world of collecting modern Chinese coins. Coins produced for the current year such as the 1 oz silver pandas are usually available for just a few dollars over melt. The China mint typically releases these coins with 600 in a case, also known as a monster box (in North America, monster boxes of Canadian Silver Maple Leafs and American Silver Eagles contain 500 coins). The coins with lower mintages were produced between 1983 and 2000. Larger coins were also produced at lower mintages, which makes them prized collectible works of art.
1997 1/2 oz Silver Panda - Color
1997 1 oz Silver Panda - Color
1998 1 oz Silver Panda - Color
1999 1 oz Silver Panda - Color
1998 1/2 oz Silver Panda - Color
1998 Kilo Silver Panda
2000 Kilo Silver Panda
1999 Kilo Silver Panda
2001 Kilo Silver Panda
2002 Kilo Silver Panda - 20th Ann. Edition
2002 Kilo Silver Panda
2003 Kilo Silver Panda
2005 Kilo Silver Panda
2004 Kilo Silver Panda
2006 Kilo Silver Panda
2008 Kilo Silver Panda
2007 Kilo Silver Panda
2009 Kilo Silver Panda
2011 Kilo Silver Panda
2010 Kilo Silver Panda