The coin pictured is one of seven dragon and phoenix coins celebrating Chinese culture through the commemoration of the dragon and phoenix and together make a series. Three gold and three silver dragon and phoenix coins were issued in 1990. One bi-metallic coin was issued four years later in 1994. The obverse of the coins in the series bear the inscription in Chinese characters: “The People’s Republic of China”, below which is an image of the Great Wall. Below this is the year of production. The outer edge of five of the coins have inscriptions pertaining to the coins’ metallic properties. The coins of the two smallest denominations, the 0.5 yuan 2g silver and 10 yuan 1g gold coins, do not bear this inscription.
The initial stages of the Great Wall were constructed during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) with further building works being carried out throughout China’s history, even to the present day. The most extensive works were carried out during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Although primarily serving as a barrier to keep enemies at bay to the north of the Chinese empire, the Great Wall also allowed for the tight control of trade routes via various checkpoints along the wall.
The reverse of the coins feature an image of a dragon shown with a phoenix. The dragon is shown spread out below, while the phoenix flies down from above, their heads almost meeting in the centre of the coin as their bodies arch round the reverse face. The phoenix, also called the Bird of Immortality due to its ability to come back to life, is highly revered in Chinese culture, second only to the dragon itself. They both symbolise prosperity and happiness, but the dragon represents power, while the phoenix represents longevity. The denomination is inscribed between the two creatures, to the right and below the centre of the coin face.
This coin is the 1500 yuan 20 oz gold coin of the dragon and phoenix commemorative series struck at the Shenyang mint. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity and has a mintage of 250. It has a diameter of 90mm. The bottom edge of the reverse face bears an inscription pertaining to the metallic properties of the coin. It reads: “.999 Au 20 oz”. The year of issue, 1990, is inscribed at the bottom of the obverse face.
A unique serial number is stamped onto the rim of the 20 oz gold coin of the series. This coin, like other gold coins in the series, is also distributed with a yellow certificate of authenticity.
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