This is a set of pure, gold coins released by the Shenyang Mint in 1989. The gold coins are .999 in fineness and proof in quality. Proof coins are each struck multiple times, giving the background a mirrored finish and the decorations a feathered or matte finish. Each coin bears a ‘P’ mark on the left edge of the reverse face, signifying the proof quality. The coins all feature the image of a panda on the reverse face, and an image of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests on the obverse. In all, 8,000 of each size of coin were minted in 1989.
All of the five coins vary in diameter, face value and weight. The largest of the set is 32 millimeters in diameter, weighs 1 ounce and bears the face value of 100 yuan. The second largest is 27 millimeters in diameter, weighs 1/2 an ounce and has the face value of 50 yuan. The third largest is 22 millimeters in diameter, weighs 1/4th of an ounce and has the face value of 25 yuan. The fourth largest is 18 millimeters in diameter, weighs 1/10th of an ounce and has the face value of 10 yuan. The smallest is 14 millimeters in diameter, weighs 1/20th of an ounce and has the face value of 5 yuan. The coins were all released together in boxes with a red interior. On the obverse face of each coin, one can see an image of one of the main structures at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests was created between the years of 1406 to 1420, during the reign of the Yongle Emperor. He commissioned the buildings there in order to perform ceremonies that would ensure a bountiful harvest each year. From 1420 until 1911, the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties used the Temple of Heaven for this purpose. They would pray at the Hall of Prayer. If the crops in the following year were plentiful, the people would have a tangible affirmation of the emperor’s connection to heaven. Above the Hall of Prayer, one can read “The People’s Republic of China” in characters. Below the Hall, one can see the year of issue on each coin, 1989. The reverse of each coin features a stylized portrait of a panda. The panda is an important symbol in China, standing for the Chinese people as well as the natural beauty of the country itself. Here, the panda appears amid a plaid-like background. The panda sits in a reclined gesture, holding a sprig of bamboo in its paw. Bamboo is also a well-known symbol in China, representing tranquility and natural peace. At the lower edge of the reverse face of the coin is the face value of the coin: 100 yuan for the 32 millimeter coin, 50 yuan for the 27 millimeter coin, 25 yuan for the 22 millimeter coin, 10 yuan for the 18 millimeter coin, and 5 yuan for the 14 millimeter coin. To the left of the denomination on each coin are the details of its metallic properties. The translation of these characters is, “contains pure gold, .999 in fineness.” The characters also include the weight of each coin at the very bottom edge of the reverse: 1oz Au, 1/2oz Au, 1/4oz Au, 1/10oz Au and 1/20oz Au, respectively.