The Chinese Panda coin
was first minted in 1982 of 999 fine gold. In 1983, 1/20 oz was added to the other sizes of 1/4, 1/2, and 1 troy ounces. Larger coins were minted during some years, with a weight between 5 oz and 12 oz. The coins feature different design each year and are produced in several mints, including Shenyang, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and others.
The reverse side of the Chinese Panda features panda, which is depicted differently every year. The Temple of Heaven is featured on the obverse side, together with Chinese characters reading People's Republic of China and the year of issue. The China Gold Coin Corporation is the official distributor of both gold and silver
Pandas and since 1982, Panda America has become the official distributor in the United States.
The Chinese Silver Panda features a different design every year and is minted in different denominations and sizes from one half ounce to 1 kilogram. Several of the silver varieties from the 1990s are rare and scarce, selling at significant premiums nowadays. For this reason, many numismatists around the world take interest in the Chinese Panda varieties.
The 1987 Sterling Panda is the only coin of these series, produced from sterling silver. This coin was the first to have a diameter of 40 mm. Different types of coins have been minted, including proof, uncirculated, gilded/ gold plated, and colored. Others are privy marked for commemorative issue and different distribution.
Counterfeit one ounce coins have been offered as well, in 2006 in particular, with sellers from China offering them on eBay. These were easy to distinguish, with denominations absent from the coins. Others are not as easy to distinguish because they have denomination. Counterfeits can be distinguished by weighing and comparing those with authentic coins.
The Gold Panda series are among the most popular coins of the 80s. The Pandas became popular among US collectors, with premium priced-bullion being established as a concept. The Panda enjoys increasing popularity among gold buyers and investors in China and worldwide. Because the design changes yearly, China has managed to build a steady demand for the Panda coins, regardless of the fluctuations in the price of gold
Gold Pandas are also used as jewelry, with the one ounce coin
being set in necklace mountings. Coins of smaller sizes are offered in earrings, bracelets, and pendants. Panda coin jewelry has become popular in the United States and other parts of the world.
Collector interest in the one ounce Panda of 1982 was so high that coins were sold for over $3,000. With Panda mania on, early year coins were traded for considerable premiums as well. While China is continuously expanding the Panda product line, only some collectors are looking to buy the newly issued Pandas.
The Pandas were offered with 2 distinct mintmarks in the 80s the 5 ounce and 12 ounce giant Panda and the boxed Proof Set. These coins could easily reach $20,000 a coin. China still produces special editions, low-mintage coins occasionally. However, most buyers and collectors favor smaller sizes and the bullion priced, one ounce coin. Today, Pandas are minted with 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, 1 oz of gold. They are legal tender, minted with a face value between 25 and 500 Yuan, except for the 1991 coin which was minted in the denomination of 3 Yuan.
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