The coin pictured is one of seven of a series of commemorative dragon and phoenix coins. Three gold and three silver coins were produced in 1990. Four years later in 1994 a bi-metallic coin was issued, making a complete series of seven coins. The obverse of the coins in the series bear the inscription in Chinese characters: “The People’s Republic of China”, below which is a picture of the Great Wall. Below this is the year of production. Except for the 0.5 yuan 2g silver and 10 yuan 1g gold coins, all the coins are inscribed on the outer edge of the reverse face with details of their specifications.
Construction on the Great Wall began following the unification of China under Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC who sought to consolidate his power and protect China from future invasion. The wall was built to keep the barbarians residing on China’s northern border at bay and to control trade routes in and out of the empire. Extensive works have been carried out on the Great Wall throughout Chinese history, particularly during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Today the Great Wall is considered one of the world’s greatest feats of construction, and symbolises China’s dynastic power.
The reverse of the coins feature a picture of a dragon in flight with a phoenix. In Chinese culture the dragon and phoenix are highly respected divine and mythical creatures. The dragon symbolises yang, masculinity, power, success, and fortune; while the phoenix symbolises yin, femininity, immortality, longevity, and prosperity. In this way they not only visually complement each other, but also symbolically. Together they represent the unity of male and female, and yin and yang. The denomination is inscribed between the two creatures, to the right and below the centre of the coin face.
The coin pictured is the 200 yuan, 2 oz gold coin of the series struck at the Shenyang mint. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity and has a mintage of 2,500 with a diameter of 40mm. The year of issue, 1990, is inscribed at the bottom of the obverse face. The bottom edge of the reverse face bears an inscription detailing the coin’s metallic properties. It reads: “.999 Au 2 oz”.
This coin, like the 20 oz gold coin in the series, is distributed with a yellow certificate of authenticity.