About 12 oz Silver Panda Coins
Between the years of 1988 and 1997, the China Mint released a series of 12 ounce silver coins featuring images of the highly symbolic panda on one face of each coin and The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests on the opposing face of each coin. All of the 12 ounce silver panda coins measure 80 millimeters in diameter and are .999 in fineness. The mintage of these coins ranges from 800 to 6000 pieces.
The obverse face of each coin bears the inscription, “The People’s Republic of China” in Chinese characters. This inscription appears at the top edge of the obverse face; at the bottom edge of the obverse face, one can see the year of issue for each coin. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which is shown on each coin’s obverse face, is one of the main structures at The Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Hall of Prayer is considered to be one of dynastic China’s foremost architectural achievements. This gabled building, created entirely of wood, sits atop great marble slabs. The famous steps that lead to the building are carved into the marble. This style of building gained popularity in the Ming Dynasty and has been influential in architecture of the Far East since that time.
On the reverse face of each coin, one can see an image of a panda or several pandas in idyllic natural scenes. For example, the 1994 coin features a scene of a mother panda watching over her two cubs as they romp near a stream. As on many of the coins, the pandas here are accented by bamboo, the primary source of nutrition for the elusive animal. The reverse face also shows the denomination of the coin, 100 yuan, to the side or below each of the panda images. At the top edge of the reverse face are the details regarding the coin’s metallic properties, “contains 12 ounces of .999 silver, 12 oz Ag.”
The panda is the national symbol of China. If the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is symbolic of China’s architectural achievements and dynastic history, the panda symbolizes China’s unique and diverse natural beauty. The panda’s coloring, black and white, is also symbolic to the Chinese people. The black and white fur exists harmoniously in one animal, just as it does in the yin and yang symbol used frequently in Chinese art and culture. The images rendered on the coin are each delicately engraved by skilled artists. The coins, being of proof quality, have a mirrored background. The design that is embossed on the coin has a matte quality. These two different finishes allude to the panda’s black and white coloring. Though one can see that the coin is made of pure silver, at certain angles of viewing the coin, one can also see the mirrored and matte finishes playing against each other. The two different finishes exist on each coin harmoniously, just as the black and white fur of the panda bear.
Panda coins are especially collectible, as one can create a set of coins across many different series. For this series of 12 ounce, 99.9% pure, silver panda coins, there are twelve different images of pandas that may interest collectors.