The Chinese Mint Review
As a society, China has spanned millenniums where other cultures stretch centuries at best. With a recorded history reaching back 5,000, this identity is a powerful unifying force in a nation that otherwise spent the bulk of the past 500 years isolated, fractured, and dominated by Europeans powers who arrived by sail and enforced their economic edicts through steel. Times have changed however, and propelled by a population numbering over a billion, The People’s Republic of China, has begun to assert its own economic and cultural might on the world stage.
One such example is the extraordinary popularity of precious metal products issued by the Chinese Mint, including commemorative coins that rival the huge minting operations as the United States Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint. Indeed, while the Chinese Mint is not considered as offering a wide array of numismatic series, their signature offering, the Chinese Gold Panda is as sought after in collector circles, and with the same intensity, as an American Eagle or Canadian Maple Leaf coins.
Political Instability and the Chinese Civil War
Centuries of foreign domination began to crack in the fulcrum of cultural, economic, and political change wrought by the Second World War. In fact, as early as the 1912 formation of the Republic of China under Sun Yat-sen’s Nationalist Party, a steady wave of nationalism began to overtake the population.
These stirrings occurred against the backdrop of the militaristically rising of the fascist Empire of Japan. The Emperor’s forces acted first with a preventive occupation of the Chinese province of Manchuria, setting up a puppet state renamed Manchukuo, and followed up this action with a full throated invasion of coastal China in 1937.
Deep in the interior, the forces of the Nationalist government, now under the command of Chiang Kai-shek, spent more time fighting their ideological foes, the communists fighting under the banner of Mao Zedong. Compelled by the arguments that their internal battle only served to strengthen the hand of their mutual enemy, the Japanese, the two groups set aside their differences until the Allies fully dispatched the invaders by the end of 1945. Old animosities between the two groups quickly turned hot however. Following the end of the war, and the Chinese Civil War raged for another four years before Mao Zedong’s pushed the Nationalist forces from the Chinese mainland.
Fleeing the victorious People’s Army, the Nationalist government set up shop on the island of Taiwan, and the two China policies would take hold for the next forty years. For coin collectors looking to buy precious metal products from the Chinese Mint, they are actually purchasing their bullion from the People’s Republic of China, which is the force that proved victorious during the civil war and remained in control on the Asian mainland.
The China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation
The modern Chinese mint was born in the closing days of the 19th-century, and today operated under the auspices of The China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation. In 1896, the then Qing Dynasty’s government authorized the opening of the first modern mint, and a host of others soon began operating in its wake. The China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation operates under the control of the central government in Beijing, and is overseen by the People’s Bank of China. With one of the planet’s strongest economies powering its development, it is not surprising the level of effort and commitment the artisans and engravers at the mint put forth to deliver their trademark bullion product, the Gold China Panda coin.
The Chinese Gold Panda Coin
Introduced in both bullion and proof versions, the Chinese Gold Panda coin saw first issuance in 1982. A sovereign coin series on par with the popular American Eagle, United Kingdom’s Britannia coin, and the Canadian Maple Leaf, Chinese Gold Panda Coin are an immensely popular coin series.
Available in a variety of weights, since the very first year of inception the coin has been available in one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and one tenth with each coin featuring a .999 purity of gold. The following year saw the addition of the 1/20th ounce coin. Finally, at periodic intervals, the Chinese Mint releases heavier coins of five or twelve-ounce weights, but the offering is not regularly scheduled so collectors are keen to keep their eyes open for a buying opportunity. Considered legal tender, the one-ounce Chinese Gold Panda coins carry a face value of 500 Yuan.
The Chinese Silver Panda Coin
Responding to the accolades following the successful launch of the Chinese Gold Panda, the Chinese Mint designed and issued a silver version of the coin the next year. Initially available in a one ounce weight, the Silver Chinese Panda coin was struck with pure .900 silver. Mintage was sporadic at first with only limited numbers of the coins series offered from 1983 to 1985, and none put forth at all in 1986. After this hiatus, the Chinese Silver Panda has regularly been struck in bullion and proof versions available in six separate weights of one kilogram, 12 oz., 5 oz., 1 oz., ½ oz., and ¼ oz weights.
Design of the Chinese Mint’s Gold Panda Coin
Numismatically speaking, what the Bavarian State Mint does for the Somalian Elephant, the Chinese Mint does for the Middle Kingdom’s most lovable creature, the Chinese Panda. An iconic representation of the mainland’s famous fury denizen, the coin series continues to popularize China’s national animal to a worldwide audience of coin collectors. The Chinese Mint uses the exact same design on both the gold and silver versions of the coin
Obverse—each year, the obverse side of the Gold Panda coin consists of an image of the Temple of Heaven, which located in the heart of southern Beijing and as stood for centuries as a testament and monument to Chinese culture.
Reverse—the common motif of the series’ reverse side is that of a panda in its native habitat. As an example, the 2015 coins feature a single adult panda serenely munching on some bamboo shoots in front of a wall of bamboo.
The Chinese Mint has had a lustrous career in the world of numismatic collectors, and despite an occasionally tumultuous history, the mint is assuming its place as a world class provider of quality gold and silver bullion products.