This coin is one ounce of pure silver with a legal tender face value of ten yuan. It is .999 in fineness. This coin was authorized for release by the Shanghai Mint in 1988, the Year of the Dragon. This particular design started the twelve year series of coins displaying the different animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The obverse of the coin shows the Temple of Heaven, and the reverse of the coin displays two dragons. On the obverse, one can also see the lettering for “The People’s Republic of China” above the temple, and the year of release, 1988, below. On the reverse, one can see the denomination, ten yuan, and below the specifications of the coin: “contains .999 Ag, one ounce of pure silver.” In all, 20,000 of these coins were authorized for production in 1988.
On the obverse, the Temple of Heaven is featured prominently. This building is still an attraction and a national symbol. It stands in Southeastern Beijing, and construction for the building was completed in 1420, the same year that many of the buildings of the Imperial City were completed. Emperors of that time were known to visit the temple to make sacrifices and offer prayers to gain a favorable harvest for their people. These practices were outlawed in 1911 by the Nationalist Party.
As the first coin in the series of lunar coins, this is a stand out coin. It features the Temple of Heaven rather than the Tiananmen Gate, and it features a traditional rendering of two dragons facing one another. The dragons appear in the detailed style of traditional Chinese art; they are mirror images of one another and have their claws prominent and mouths wide open.
The dragon is one of the most important symbols in Chinese culture. The dragon has long been revered as a sign of strength, honor and good fortune. It was also once the symbol of the Chinese emperor himself, which makes the juxtaposition of the Temple of Heaven an appropriate historical reference. People born in the year of the dragon are said to be similarly strong and noble, with the personality traits of pride, dignity, eccentricity and originality. The negative traits associated with this sign are violence, brashness and impulsivity.
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.