Chinese Gold Panda Bullion Coins


The China Gold Coin Incorporation is responsible for the production and distribution of the Chinese Gold Panda coins under license from the People's Bank of China. Chinese Gold Pandas are made out of 99.9% gold and are available with a brilliant uncirculated proof-like finish. The coins were the world's first gold bullion coins that changed the design of their reverse side each year.

Design

The China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation (CBPM) created the designs on the obverse and reverse of the Chinese Gold Panda coins between 1982 and 1986. In 1987, the China Gold Coin Incorporation took over responsibility for the design, manufacturing and distribution of the popular coins.

The obverse side shows an engraving of the "Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests" that is located inside the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. From the Ming dynasty on, Chinese emperors prayed there every year in early spring for abundant harvests and national prosperity. “People’s Republic of China” is written in Chinese characters along the edge of the coin and the year of mintage appears underneath the engraving.

The reverse side of the Chinese Gold Panda coins shows a representation of a giant panda (or a group of pandas). The actual panda image on the reverse side of the coin changes annually. These coins were the world's first gold bullion coins with annually changing designs on their reverse side. There is one exception to this rule though. The design of the panda engraving on the reverse side didn't change from 2001 to 2002 when the responsible authorities decided that the design should remain constant. The decision was reversed after many collectors complained. The coin's face value, gold purity and gold weight appear on the reverse side as well.

reverse side of the 30 gram 2017 Chinese Gold Panda coin
obverse side of the 30 gram 2017 Chinese Gold Panda coin

2017 Chinese Gold Panda

Gold Purity: 99.9%

Weight Face Value Diameter x Thickness
1 kg 10.000 Yuan 90 x 13 mm
12 oz 1.000 Yuan 70 x 6 mm
5 oz 2.000 Yuan 60 x 4 mm
1 oz
(30 gram)
500 Yuan 32.05 x 2.7 mm
1/2 oz
(15 gram)
200 Yuan 27 x 1.85 mm
1/4 oz
(8 gram)
100 Yuan 21.95 x 1.53 mm
1/10 oz
(3 gram)
50 Yuan 17.95 x 1.05 mm
1/20 oz
(1 gram)
20 Yuan
(10 Yuan
until 2015)
13.92 x 0.83 mm
1 gram 3 Yuan 10 x 0.66 mm

reverse side of the 30 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin
obverse side of the 30 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin

2016 Chinese Gold Panda

History

Gold and Silver Panda designs:

The Chinese Gold Panda coin series started in 1982, three years after the People’s Bank of China had issued its first gold coin. The coins were issued in the denominations of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz at first. The 1/20 oz coin followed in 1983. This small size (and the 1 gram coin of which 110,000 were minted only in 1991) was a world's first for bullion coins. Larger coin sizes of 5 oz, 12 oz and 1 kg were minted as well in certain years and in very limited numbers. The Chinese Gold Panda coins were the world's first gold bullion coins with annual design changes of their reverse side (with the exception of 2001/2002 when the design didn't change). Since 1982, all Chinese Gold Pandas have an official face value.

The original face values were 100 Yuan (1 oz coin), 50 Yuan (1/2 oz), 25 Yuan (1/4 oz), 10 Yuan (1/10 oz) and 5 Yuan (1/20 oz). The nominal values of the coins were raised to the current levels in 2001.

Since 2016, Gold Panda coins are produced in sizes according to the metric system. The new gram sizes are the closest equivalent to the prior troy ounce sizes.

Mintages

General production numbers for Chinese Gold Pandas vary wildly, from only 13.532 minted coins in 1982 to 289.055 coins in 1988 (for coins of 1 oz). Since 2007, mintage figures have increased substantially but it is unclear whether these projected maximum mintages were actually reached and how many of these coins were sold. As for the smaller denominations, only 4.168 half-ounce coins were minted in 1998. In general, production numbers were lowest from 1982 to 1984 as well as in the mid-1990's.

Chinese Gold Panda coins were first issued in proof condition in 1986. Proof coins bear the mint mark P on their obverse side. Until 1993, around 10.000 coins were minted annually for each denomination in proof condition. The design of the proof coins was identical to the brilliant uncirculated coins from 1986 to 1994. The mintmark P does not appear on the 1995 and 1996 proof coins. These can be distinguished by their unique panda design (different from that on the brilliant uncirculated coins) though. The proofs from these two years are also the most valuable since only 2.000 proof Pandas of 1 oz were minted in 1995, followed by 1.500 such 1 oz proofs in 1996. In 2007, proof Pandas of 1/25 oz made up the 25th Anniversary Set (See box below). Nowadays, only the large denominations (5 oz, 1 kg) are still produced as proofs in certain years.

Only in 1991 were 1 gram Chinese Gold Panda coins with a 3 Yuan face value produced. The large denominations - 5 oz, 12 oz and 1 kg - were only minted in certain years. Panda coins also exist in bi-metallic (gold and silver), silver, platinum and palladium versions.

Click here to see a table with detailed mintage numbers.

Chinese Silver Panda Coins

The Silver Panda coins are minted since 1983 in denominations of 1 oz, 1/2 oz (only between 1993 and 1998), 1/4 oz, 5 oz, 12 oz and 1 kg. Only proof coins were minted from 1983 to 1985 out of 90 % fine silver.

There is a 1986 Silver Panda coin (with a 5 Yuan denomination) that was issued in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for their 25th anniversary. That's why it is not a part of the regular Silver Panda series but you can see it included in the above slideshow as well.

'Regular' proof Silver Pandas were then minted again in 1987 out of 92.5 % fine silver (diameter increased from 38.6 to 40 mm for 1 oz coin). There were no 1 oz proof coins minted in 1988 but only the large 5 oz and 12 oz proof coins.

Since 1989, both proof and brilliant uncirculated 99.9 % fine Silver Panda coins are minted. Since then, Silver Pandas mostly bear the same design as the Gold Panda coins. There are some exceptions to this rule however. The 1 oz brilliant uncirculated silver coins of the years 1995, 1996 and 1998 displayed different panda designs than the gold coins of the same denomination. Proof silver coins and coins of other denominations than 1 oz also displayed different panda designs in certain years.

Coloured proof Silver Pandas of the 1 oz denomination were also produced between 1997 and 1999, however not by the China Mint itself. Perhaps due to technical difficulties, the mintage of these rare coins was 'outsourced' to the private PAMP Suisse Mint in Switzerland. The Temple of Heaven is also depicted in a slightly different shape on the obverse side of these coloured silver coins. Regardless where they were actually minted, the coloured Silver Pandas are a regular part of the Chinese Silver Panda coin series.

The China Mint had the Silver Panda coins produced at various branch mints in China. That's why there are sometimes minor variations regarding the font size of the date and the size of the temple on the obverse side of the coins (depending on the branch mint that produced them).

The silver purity and coin denomination are no longer engraved on the coins since 2015 (just like for the Gold Pandas). In 2016, the 1 oz denomination was changed to 30 gram. The 5 oz coin was changed to 150 gram.

Silver Panda coins on which the image of the panda on the reverse side is gold plated (a.k.a. gilded) are also made since 1996.

reverse side of the 2016 Chinese Silver Panda coin
obverse side of the 2016 Chinese Silver Panda coin

2016 Chinese Silver Panda

reverse side of the 1987 Chinese Platinum Panda coin
obverse side of the 1987 Chinese Platinum Panda coin

1987 Chinese Platinum Panda

reverse side of the 1989 Chinese Palladium Panda proof coin
obverse side of the 1989 Chinese Palladium Panda proof coin

1989 Chinese Palladium Panda


Chinese Platinum Panda Coins

Only a small fraction of the total number of Chinese Panda coins were produced out of platinum or palladium. The China Mint released Platinum Panda coins with a fineness of 99.95 % from 1987 - 1990, 1993 - 1997 and 2002 - 2005 in the denominations of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz.

The 1 oz Platinum Panda was minted between 1987 and 1990. Those coins bear the same design as the gold coins of that year. The 1/2 oz and 1/4 oz coins were only minted in 1990 and both of them displayed a unique panda design. The 1/10 oz coin was minted in 1990 (with unique panda design), 1993 - 1997, 2002 and 2005. Finally, the 1/20 oz Platinum Pandas were minted between 1993 and 1997 and in 2003 and 2004.

Chinese Palladium Panda Coins

Palladium Panda coins with 99.9 % fineness were only produced in 1989 (1 oz coins), 2004 and 2005 (only 1/2 oz coins respectively).

Special Sets & Editions

Chinese Gold Pandas without an engraved face value are also produced in very limited mintages since 1983. Chinese government officials hand them out as official gifts to visiting VIP's.

Commemorative issues of the Chinese Gold Panda coins were minted in proof condition for the 10th anniversary (2.500 - 1 oz coins), 15th anniversary (3.800 - 1 oz coins, 8.000 - 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz coins each) and 25th anniversary of the coin series. They mention the anniversary in the lettering underneath the Temple of Heaven on the obverse side. The coin set for the 25th anniversary contains 25 coins (1/25 oz with 15 Yuan face value), each showing a different one of the up-to-then used panda motifs.

Various other commemorative editions of the Chinese Gold Pandas (mostly 1/4 oz coins) were offered by banks, exhibitions and trade fairs (such as the Munich Money Fair), often in anniversary years.

reverse side of the 1990 commemorative 1 oz Gold Panda shown at the Zurich Coin Expo
obverse side of the 1990 commemorative 1 oz Gold Panda shown at the Zurich Coin Expo

1990 Zurich Coin Expo

reverse side of the 1992 commemorative 1/10 oz Gold Panda - Sino Japanese 20th Anniversary
obverse side of the 1992 commemorative 1/10 oz Gold Panda - Sino Japanese 20th Anniversary

1992 Sino Japanese 20th Anniversary

reverse side of the 1995 commemorative 1/2 oz Gold Panda shown at the Munich International Coin Show
obverse side of the 1995 commemorative 1/2 oz Gold Panda shown at the Munich International Coin Show

1995 Munich Coin Show

Bimetallic Panda Coins 1990 - 1997
reverse side of the 5 oz bimetallic Panda coin 1995
obverse side of the 5 oz bimetallic Panda coin 1995

Bimetallic Panda coins (gold core & silver outer ring) were made from 1990 - 1997 in very low mintages. Four different sizes exist: 1/2 oz gold + 1/5 oz silver {50 Yuan (1990 & 1995 - 1997)}, 1/4 oz + 1/8 oz {25 Yuan (1991 & 1993 - 1997)}, 1/10 oz + 1/28 oz {10 Yuan (1992 & 1994 - 1997)} and 5 oz + 2 oz {500 Yuan (1995 - 1997)}.

Gold Panda Proof Sets 1986 - 1992
1989 5-Coin Gold Panda Proof Set

total gold weight: 1,9 oz

From 1986 to 1992, such 5 coin proof sets were issued annually. The 5 included proof coins were the 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz Gold Pandas (with the P mintmark). In 1986 and 1987, 10.000 such sets were issued, followed by 8.000 sets in 1988 and 1989, 5.000 sets in 1990, 3.500 sets in 1991 and 2.000 sets in 1992.

Gold Panda Proof Sets 1993 - 1994
1993 5-Coin Gold Panda Proof Set

total gold weight: 1,15 oz

total silver weight: 1/8 oz

2.500 such proof sets were issued in 1993 & 1994. The 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz and 1/20 oz proof Gold Panda coins are included. The 5th coin is a bimetallic (gold core & silver outer ring) coin out of 1/4 oz gold + 1/8 oz silver. All 5 included coins bear the P mintmark.

25th Anniversary Gold Panda Proof Set 2007
25th Anniversary 25-Coin Gold Panda Proof Set 2007

total gold weight: 1 oz

18.000 such sets with 25 proof coins of 1/25 oz each (face value: 15 Yuan; diameter: 12 mm) were issued. Each of the 25 proof coins shows a different original panda design from the years 1982 until 2007. "25th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Panda Coin" is inscribed in Chinese underneath the Temple of Heaven.

gold vs. silver

Where to buy?

30 gram (1 oz) Gold Panda Coin
reverse side of the 30 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 1,309.42
15 gram (1/2 oz) Gold Panda Coin
reverse side of the 15 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 671.55
8 gram (1/4 oz) Gold Panda Coin
reverse side of the 8 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 371.62
3 gram (1/10 oz) Gold Panda Coin
reverse side of the 3 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 189.76
1 gram (1/20 oz) Gold Panda Coin
reverse side of the 1 gram 2016 Chinese Gold Panda coin
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 100.28
30 gram (1 oz) Silver Panda Coin
reverse side of the 30 gram 2016 Chinese Silver Panda coin
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coin
for about $ 26.52
15x30 gram Tray of Silver Pandas
Tray of 15 Silver Panda coins of 30 gram
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coins
for about $ 395.57
450x30 gram Silver Panda Monster Box
Monster Box containing 450 Silver Panda coins of 30 gram
available Dealers:

BGASC

Buy 2016 coins
for about $ 11,848.50