The coin pictured is one of twelve which make up a complete set of 500 yuan 5 oz gold lunar coins issued between 1988 and 1999. They are proof coins with a purity of 99.9% and have a diameter of 60mm. The reverse face of the coins in this set feature the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac while the obverse shows various famous Chinese buildings.
This is the 1988 Year of the Dragon coin from the set. The obverse features the inscription “The People’s Republic of China”, below which is an image of the Great Wall winding up a mountainside. Below this is the year of issue, 1988.
The reverse features three dragons gravitating around the centre of the face surrounded by a ring. Outside the ring are four more dragons around the outer edge of the face. The denomination, 500 yuan, is inscribed on the bottom edge of the face. This coin has a mintage of 3,000.
The dragon is the only mythical animal in the Chinese zodiac and is thought of as extremely powerful. It is considered highly fortuitous to be born in the Year of the Dragon. Traditionally the dragon represents such attributes as strength, power, ambition, health, intelligence, honesty, patience, and charisma. However it also represents impetuousness, arrogance, and intolerance. Dragons are highly respected and worshipped in Chinese culture and Chinese people call themselves the dragon people.