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Research into White Spots

It is the primary cause of insomnia for silver coin collectors the world over. It’s everywhere – an ever present danger hanging in the air – that given the chance will indiscriminately attack the surfaces of silver coins. It is white spot corrosion, and it’s the worst nightmare for the coin enthusiast who, after a relatively short period of time following the receipt of delivery from the mint or their supplier, sees a dreaded white spot appear on their newly-acquired

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Numbers in Chinese Culture

Chinese culture is rich in beliefs and traditions that have extended to the numbers people come into contact with throughout their daily lives. Each number, one through nine and their combinations, has significance or special meaning in Chinese culture. The strength of this belief is easily seen in the Olympics of 2008. As a host for this special occasion, the festivities began on August 8, 2008 and was not a coincidence. The number 8 is a very positive and lucky

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Year of the Rat Chinese Coins

Based on the cycles of the moon, the Chinese zodiac consists of a repeating cycle of 12 years. A different animal sign represents each year. Each of these animals is associated with certain personality traits, and individuals are thought to share the characteristics of the animal sign they are born under.   No one knows exactly when the Chinese zodiac was created, but most sources agree it was sometime during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.—9 A.D.) of the Zhan Guo

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Gold Mining in China

Gold mining in China began in the Song Dynasty (960—1279 AD) and has increased steadily throughout the years, eventually making China the number one gold-producing country in the world. It has kept this top spot since 2007. There are two different methods by which gold is mined in China. Open-pit mining is employed when gold deposits are close to the surface. Pits are built on an angular rather than a vertical basis in order to help prevent the soil erosion

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Year of the Horse Chinese Coins

Horse years occur every twelfth year, and are the seventh in the Chinese zodiac calendar, following the year of the snake. Just as some people in the United States would not do anything without first checking their horoscope, the same holds true for many people in China. Choices of friends and even romantic partners are often made according to the compatibilities found in the Chinese zodiac. For example, people born in the year of the Horse are most likely to

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Year of the Rabbit Chinese Coins

Visitors to an authentic Chinese restaurant are likely to discover their Chinese astrology sign. There are twelve different signs, each rotating every 12 years. However, the calendar year is different for Chinese astrology. For instance, the most recent Year of the Rabbit was from 03 February 2011 to 22 January 2012.    History of The Year of the Rabbit   The Year of the Rabbit could more appropriately be named the Year of the Hare, as hares are indigenous to

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Year of the Tiger Chinese Coins

Diverging from the Western zodiac, Chinese astrology has been described by interpreters as the lunar zodiac. In other words, ancient Chinese astrologers divined fate via the path of the moon through the heavens, also known as the yellow path in Chinese culture. In the West, the course of the sun across the sky is most important. The year of the tiger, the third sign in the Chinese zodiac calendar, took place in 2010. According to the Chinese zodiac, the year

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Year of the Rooster Chinese Coins

Bold, brash, and outgoing. These are all apt descriptions of the Rooster as per Chinese folklore and custom. According to the Chinese zodiac, a sign rolls around once every twelve years. The last Chinese Year of the Rooster was in 2005, which means the next Year of the Rooster will be in 2017. Of course, not all Chinese Roosters are the same. The 2005 Rooster was a Wood Rooster. These persons born in 2005 are said to exhibit traits of

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Year of the Snake Chinese Coins

The year 2013 was the Year of the Snake. Snake Years occupy the sixth position in the Chinese Zodiac, recurring every 12 years. Though the Snake is thought to be a good omen, its significance as a symbol of worship is far less than the Dragon, which precedes the Snake. It is said the Snake Year will be a good year economically and for prospective business owners. A Snake will always find means to provide for their family, sacrificing their

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The Start of a Series: 1984 12 oz Gold Panda

1984 People’s Republic of China 1984 1000 Yuan Gold Panda Coin catalog First 12 oz Gold Coin The China Mint began striking the now famous and well-established Panda series in 1982. Today the impressive and weighty Panda coins with incredibly low mintages that we see and hear talked about in the press are quite familiar to most Panda collectors – although well out of reach for most given their cost! However, until 1984 the largest coin in the series was

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1923 Dragon and Phoenix Dollar

1923 Dragon and Phoenix Dollar Creating a National Emblem With the collapse and ousting of the Qing dynasty in 1912, China was in a state of political upheaval. Dynastic China had come to an end, and the newly founded Republic of China was looking to establish itself as the new governing body. In this restructuring and establishment of the new state, as is very common, new coinage was to be struck. However, the dragon – a common sight on imperial

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The Case of the 1989 Dragon and Phoenix

The Dragon and Phoenix in Chinese Culture Culturally for the Chinese, the dragon and phoenix depicted together symbolise balance, and are the animal embodiment and representation of the yin-yang philosophical concept. The phoenix – standing for yin – symbolises such aspects as femininity, negative energy, the moon, darkness, and passiveness; while the dragon – standing for yang – symbolises the opposing aspects of masculinity, positive energy, the sun, light, and action. When together they embody harmony and balance, and are

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The Spring Festival in MCC History

The 2015 New Year Greetings ¼ oz silver bullion coin may draw minds of the MCC collecting community back to the late 90s (specifically 1997, 1998, and 1999) as well as 2003 – the other years in which Spring Festival-themed (or Chinese New Year-themed) commemorative coins have been released. While three of these five series, including the latest release, may not be considered by some to form true collectable sets, given that there is little or no continuity in terms

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Investors vs Collectors in the Domestic MCC Market

The Modern Chinese Coins market is an ever evolving beast, which can make it hard to predict and even harder to keep pace with. That change is now happening faster than ever, especially in a digital age. Here is a summary of some of the general thoughts and sentiments of blog posters in the online Chinese community regarding the transformation of the market as it moves with the times. Despite the fact that nowadays true collectors of MCCs are relatively

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The Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China

The series featuring the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China seems like an attractive choice when it comes to either starting out collecting modern Chinese coins, or expanding an existing collection. So far the People’s Bank of China has issued series featuring Mt. Wutai (2012), Mt. Putuo (2013), and Mt. E’mei (2014). The fourth and final sacred mountain, Mt. Jiuhua, is due for official release in April 2015. For a complete set of a particular featured mountain, there are five

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The 1903 Chihli Silver Dollar

1903 Chihli silver dollars are somewhat rarer than their 1908 counterparts, mainly due to mintage. The name Chihli, or Zhili, comes from the name of a former province of northern China which included the capital, Beijing.  However, the province, home to several mints, was dissolved in 1928. The characters translate literally as “directly ruled”, indicating that the area was under the direct jurisdiction of the Emperor himself, rather than under a provincial governor. The 1903 Chihli dollar has a mintage

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A Worthy Source: The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual

For coin collectors and enthusiasts, no matter what their area of interest, the value of a good book on numismatics cannot be overstated. A well-researched and informative guide on coins which encapsulates years and years of knowledge and experience, carefully and painstakingly acquired by the author can cost just a few dollars. Such a small investment for such a wealth of knowledge may allow the collector to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of others that would otherwise have taken hard

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Yuan Shikai Dollar: Origins of the “O Mint Mark” and the “Triangular Yuan”

Two of the most well known variations of the Yuan Shikai silver Dollar are the O mint mark and the triangular yuan varieties. These are both variations of the 1914 or “Year Three” Yuan Shikai Dollars. However, despite their popularity, the origins of these curious differences found on silver dollar coins still remain uncertain. Popular folklore has had a stab at explaining it. It would be nice to accept the tale as truth due to its simplicity, but despite the

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The Fat Man in a Nutshell: an Introduction to the Yuan Shikai Dollar

The Yuan Shikai Dollar or “Fat Man Dollar”, introduced by Yuan Shikai (16th September 1859 – 6th June 1916) in late 1914 following the beginning of his presidency of the Republic of China (ROC) in 1912, is somewhat of a mis-translation. In Chinese this coin type is known as “袁大头” or “Yuan Big Head” – Yuan referring to Yuan Shikai, rather than the Renminbi. A silver coin with a fineness of 89% and typically weighing 26.4 g, it has a

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1993 12 oz Gold Proof Panda Coin

The 1993 12 oz gold Panda is another intriguing rarity and a semi-key date coin for collectors.  The obverse face bears the image of the Temple of Heaven with the inscription of the PRC above and the date, 1993, below. The reverse face depicts a family group of three pandas in idyllic surroundings. This proof quality coin of 99.9% fineness measures an impressive 70 mm in diameter, and has a face value of 1000 yuan. It has an official mintage

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First Steps: Advice for Beginners

If you are new to Chinese coins and are thinking of investing or collecting, here are a few pointers that will help you get you off on the right foot. Firstly, buying gold Pandas is relatively simple. Gold Panda coins are one of the world’s top five gold coin investment choices. When you invest in coinage, you own something tangible – it’s real gold and silver, not like the futures markets for precious metals. The threshold for entering this market

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Chinese Coins for All Budgets

Such is the variety of coins issued by the People’s Bank of China, that when it comes to investing or collecting, there is something for everyone, regardless of taste or budget. For investors with a lot of funds available, it is recommended that you focus your attention on the large-scale gold Panda coins – i.e. those of 5 oz and above; and the older classic rarities – such as the many gold coins dating from the 80s and 90s which

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13 Reasons to Own a Panda Coin

Panda coins are among the most diverse of all coins, different scenes each year – many different sizes and metals including gold, platinum, silver, bimetallic and brass. People from all countries are attracted to owning Chinese panda coins but why? Here are 13 reasons to own a panda coin. 1/ Rarity: Panda coins are released in very limited quantities 2/ Inherently valuable: they are at a minimum worth the value of the precious metals contained but often, considerably more 3/

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Gold In Chinese Culture

Gold has always held a special place in Chinese culture and has been used a means of trade and exchange for thousands of years. Recorded uses of gold in transactions can be found in Quin and Han dynasties. Many emperors in China regarded gold as lucky and adorned themselves in garments that were rich in gold colors and hues and also used to wear gold jewelry. On the Chinese New Year, and specifically during the spring festival, it is a

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China: An Incredible Growth Story

Prior to 1990, although there were years when the growth rate of China’s Gross Domestic Product was high, there were also years where this rate dropped into negative territory. From 1990 to 2011, however, China’s economic growth can only be described as phenomenal. In this span of time, the country went from just another struggling Asian country into a major economic power on a par with developed countries like Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. World Bank data shows that

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The Legacy of Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai, whose likeness is expertly captured in a set of three commemorative coins issued in 1998, was the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), holding office from October 1949 until his death in Beijing in 1976. He was born in 1898 in Huai’an, Jiangsu province into a family of officials. Throughout his early life he was involved in politics, his financial security allowing him to dedicate himself to revolutionary activities. Serving throughout Mao’s leadership and acting

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Yungang Grottoes

Situated just 10 miles to the south west of the city of Datong at the foot of the Wuzhou Shan mountain range in Shanxi province, the Yungang Grottoes play host to a series of 252 shallow caves containing in excess of 51,000 Buddhist statues dating from the 5th and 6th centuries AD. The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are highly valued as magnificent examples of Buddhist cave art – particularly rock-cut art, and are one of the

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The Long March

While historically there were several long marches during the Communist insurgency period (1927-1937) of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950), perhaps the most well known is the Red Army withdrawal from Jiangxi that began on 16th October 1934. This Long March was a legendary military retreat and subsequent escape to the north and west by a surrounded Communist army. It was on the verge of being destroyed by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist (KMT) forces, but following their breaking of the KMT blockades,

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Peking Opera Masks

Rising to prominence towards the end of the 18th Century and enjoying its greatest popularity during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), the Peking Opera occupies a special place in Chinese culture. Considered a cultural treasure and a highly respected art form in China, it is characterised by a combination of music, singing, mime, acrobatics and dance. The stage is usually very sparsely decorated, and few props are used. The focus of the audience rests almost entirely on the performers themselves. This

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Year of the Ox Chinese Coins

Within the Chinese zodiac, the year of the Ox is one of calm, dependability and resourcefulness. Oxen are the second astrological sign in the Chinese zodiac. This sign is known as a water element and it designates the winter month of January. To understand the people who fall under this star sign, it is helpful to understand what meanings are assigned to oxen in the Chinese culture.   The Symbolism of the Ox   In China, the ox is revered

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Year of the Pig Chinese Coins

The Chinese zodiac is made up of a 12-year cycle, which repeats just like the cycles of the moon. Each year of the cycle is named after a different animal. No one seems to know for sure when the zodiac was created; however, it is thought to date back more than 2,000 years, to the Zhan Guo Period. More specifically, it may have been created sometime during the Han Dynasty, which spanned from 206 B.C. to 9 A.D.   The

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Year of the Dog Chinese Coins

The Chinese zodiac is given much significance in China. It is said to have a strong influence on the character traits of those born in each of its twelve years. Dog years follow the year of the Rooster and are eleventh in the cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Characteristics of men and women born in the year of the Dog are believed to be very loyal and kind to others. They are also believed often to care more for others

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Year of the Monkey Chinese Coins

The year of the Monkey arrived in 2004. The Chinese zodiac places the year of the monkey in ninth position in its celestial cycle, which spans 12 years. Dissimilar from the Western zodiac tradition, Chinese astrology stresses the importance of the progression of the moon through the night sky; while in Western astrology, the sun is of primary importance. According to ancient Chinese astrology, the year of the Monkey foretells of mercurial, amorous personal relationships along with hard-earned success in

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Year of the Goat Chinese Coins

Within the Chinese zodiac, the year of the goat is one of caring, harmony, emotion and imagination. Goats are the eighth astrological sign in China. This sign is known as a fire element, and it designates the middle of the summer season. To understand the people that fall under this star sign, you must first understand what meanings are assigned to goats in the Chinese culture.   The Symbolism of the Goat   Goats are often compared to old men

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Year of the Dragon Chinese Coins

In Chinese culture, 2012 corresponds to the year of the dragon. People born during dragon years, the fifth position in the Chinese astrological cycle, are believed to carry with them all of the power and majesty afforded to the divine beasts. The year of the dragon heralds success in financial endeavors, as indicated by the dragon’s traditional association with good fortune and wealth. Chinese astrological tradition diverges from the Western solar zodiac methodology, which is associated with the course of

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Chinese Coins with Political Figures

Over the course of the 20th century, ever since the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 and during the dying days of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) before that, Chinese politicians have played a major role in their country’s development. The likes of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), who served as president of the Republic of China (1912-1949), were revolutionaries, reformers, and fervent nationalists. However, since the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950) which resulted in the founding of the

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Bronze Age Finds Coins

Bronze wares have played an important role in China’s history. They have been used for military purposes, musical instruments, mirrors, rulers and storage for food and drink. Further, in the ancient times, bronze wares were also an indicator of a person’s class. Laws stipulated that only royal family members could use all types and sizes of bronze wares but the average person was limited in their ability to use bronze wares. Chinese Bronze wares, as precious metal ware, was mainly

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Unicorn Coins

From 1994 to 1997, the “Chinese and American Mascot: Unicorn” coin sets were issued by the People’s Bank of China to commemorate the unicorn: two mystical beasts from the Chinese and Western folklore that share the same name. The unicorn of the Western folklore is of course the familiar gentle white horse with a single horn that has the ability to cure all poison and revive the dead. It often represents white magic and appears in the Bible, fantasy literatures,

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Three Kingdoms Coins

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong during the waning years of Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century is a famous Chinese historical novel. This vast and complex novel, consisting of approximately 800,000 words and 120 chapters takes place during the demise of the Eastern Han Dynasty (r. 25-220) and the subsequent period known as the Three Kingdoms (220-265). Most of the hundreds of characters in this partially factual, partially mythological story concern themselves with either restoring

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Traditional Culture Coins

BACKGROUND. In 1995, the Chinese gold and silver coin market had not yet fully begun in earnest. Coin dealers only supplied the market with small quantities aimed to test market reaction. It was even hard to sell single coins with smaller face values, let alone selling a full set of five one ounce coins—hardly anybody inquired with very little interest. Until 2000, at the International Coin Expo held in Guangzhou, only a few coins from the one ounce set from

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1980 Olympic Coins

The 1980 Olympic Games Coin Series is one of the most sought after Chinese modern coin series. It is actually two sets of coins: The “Winter Olympic” set was released in May 1980 to commemorate the 1980 Winter Olympic at Lake Placid, New York (Winter Olympic Coins), while the “China Olympic” set was released in June 1980 to commemorate the recognition of the Chinese Olympic Committee by the International Olympic Committee (the COC coins). Each set includes gold, silver and

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1979 Year of the Child Coins

BACKGROUND. The International Year of Child (IYC) Coin series was one of the first coin series made in the history of modern China. Released in 1980, it was issued to commemorate 1979, the UNESCO proclaimed International Year of the Child. Thirty five countries in total released coins to commemorate the IYC, but the Chinese IYC coins were particularly special, as China was one of the twelve countries which have released gold commemoration coins, and was also one of the handfuls

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Terracotta Army

Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC) and his Terracotta Army There is an enigmatic aura and an air of mystery surrounding the Terracotta Army. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers, the pottery warriors are located near Xi’an, in Shaanxi province. These life-size soldiers form an army of the dead, built to protect their Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, in the afterlife, from the spirits of all those who he had wronged during his short but influential life. The army comprises

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Investing in Chinese Collectibles

Investing in physical objects is a long-honored tradition among those buying for the future. Here we will take a quick look at the Chinese market as it has a proven record of being a liquid market for hard assets and one that has seen considerable price appreciation as a result of strong demand. Due to the growth of the economy it is a reasonable assumption that this will continue. Prospective investors can find a wealth of investment opportunities in the

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