The coin pictured above is one in a set of lunar coins produced from 1981 to 1992. The coins in this series are all 15 gram silver coins, and each of the set shows the animal of the Zodiac that corresponds with the year of release. The reverse features a culturally significant work of Chinese architecture.
This is the 1986 Year of the Tiger coin, featuring a portrait of a tiger on the reverse side and the Forbidden City, the former Imperial Palace in Beijing. The coin is 90% pure silver. In 1986, 15,000 of these coins were minted in total.
The Imperial Palace was built between the years of 1406 and 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. It was home to twenty-four emperors in total, until it was given to the state in 1912. The Forbidden City now houses the Palace Museum and attracts thousands of tourists every year. This particular rendering shows the Hall of Supreme Harmony from the outer court of the City. Below this image, one can see the Chinese characters signifying, “Forbidden City.” Below these characters is the year of issue, 1986. At the top edge of the obverse face is the phrase, “The People’s Republic of China.”
“Picture of a Fierce Tiger” appears on the reverse face, honoring the Year of the Tiger, 1986. This was created by He Xiangning, who lived and worked in China from 1878 to 1972. He was a female activist who helped work to end the reign of the emperors in China. Not only was she a revolutionary in a time that did not push women forward as leaders, He also took her studies to Japan and became skilled in traditional painting techniques. The painting shows a tiger roaring, poised dramatically on a boulder. Above is the denomination, 10 yuan.
In China, the tiger is revered as king of the beasts. Those born in the year of the tiger are purported to be fierce competitors. At times those born in this year may be perceived as ruthless or unyielding in their pursuit of winning or getting their way. Overall, the tiger is a symbol of great courage and bravery. One can count on those born in this sign to be especially courageous and never fearful.
We are available to assist you with any questions on this or other Chinese coins. Our unique expertise and experience in Chinese numismatics covers modern, imperial, republic and circulating coins. We pride ourselves in servicing our clientele to work in building special collections or locate key date coins with help from our global network and have done so since 2004. In addition, we are frequently top bidders on coins and collections when looking to divest.