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 of just 99 pieces.
Aside from its incredible rarity, there are several curious and interesting facts about this coin that make it appeal to collectors. In contrast with the earlier 12 oz gold Pandas of the 1980s, which experienced problems with the dies as well as being issued in not exactly robust packaging, the 1993 12 oz gold Panda is a well-struck coin, and coins of this type tend to be found in excellent condition. The 1993 12 oz gold Panda is also the first of those issued in the 1990s to bear the coin number stamped on its edge – a practice which was stopped between 1990 – 1993 for the 12 oz series.
The extreme scarcity of this coin is really where its value lies. Even though it has an already low official mintage of just 99, following research by the Rongli Cultural Research Institute in conjunction with the CGCI, it is thought that the actual mintage is 70. What’s more is that it is believed that many of the 12 oz gold Pandas were melted, making it likely that this coin is even rarer than official figures would suggest. With the exception of 1984, the first year of issue, the 1980s saw the 12 oz gold Panda series struck with higher mintages in the range of 1600 – 3000 in order to appeal more to bullion investors. However, starting from the 1990s, mintages were once again greatly reduced.