Chinese modern coins issued by the China Mint fall into various categories. Most are reflective of the history of China that goes back millennia and the coins themselves tell stories through the different series of coins that have been released. Here we will take a look at the Bronze Age Finds, also known as the Archaeological Finds Series that was one of the earliest to arrive on the scene, the first set – a gold set – issues in 1981, just two years after the first year that Chinese modern coins arrived to the delight of coin collectors – numismatists – worldwide.
The People’s Bank of China released three groups of Bronze Age gold and silver coins. The 1981 set includes an elephant, rhinoceros, flying monster and panther. The 1992 set includes a deer, palace lamp, goat and tiger whilst the 1993 set has an ox lantern, human-shape lamp, bird, and horse keeper. These sets were produced by the Shanghai Mint and distributed by China Gold Coin Incorporation.
Bronze wares were very important in China’s history. They were used for military purposes, musical instruments, mirrors, rulers and storage containers for food and drink. Further, bronze wares were also indicative of person’s class or social stature. Laws stipulated that only royal family members could use all types and sizes of bronze wares with average person having limited access.
1981 Bronze Age set: The coins are all proof, with a purity of 91.6% and a mintage of 1000. On the obverse is the national emblem of the PRC and on the reverse are prized artifacts from the Chinese bronze age: elephant vessel, rhinoceros vessel, flying monster vessel and panther vessel.
The 1992 Bronze Age set has a deer, palace lamp, goat-cup, and tiger-tally. This set is a proof set of coins. Each gold coin has a purity of 91.6% and the mintage is 500. For the silver set also released in the same year, the purity is 90% and there was a run of 3000 sets. On the obverse is the national emblem of the PRC, the release date and the words “China Bronze Age Coins”. On the reverse there are the images of the bronze wares and the date with the year of issue.
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