The coin pictured is one of seven coins celebrating and commemorating the dragon and phoenix in Chinese culture. Six of the dragon and phoenix series of coins were produced in 1990, three of them gold and three of them silver, and one bi-metallic coin was produced 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, 1990, or in the case of the bi-metallic coin, 1994. The outer edge of five of the coins have inscriptions pertaining to the coins’ metallic properties.
The Great Wall, arguably China’s greatest feat of engineering and visible from space, was built primarily to defend China from the barbaric tribes living on its northern border. The original Great Wall was built after the unification of China under the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), but numerous modifications and extensions have been made throughout Chinese history, most notably during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
The reverse of the coins feature an image of a dragon shown with a phoenix. The phoenix is pictured swooping over the dragon. The dragon and the phoenix are the two most revered creatures in Chinese culture. Both are mythical, divine, and extremely powerful. The dragon typically embodies strong masculine traits, symbolising power and prosperity. The phoenix traditionally represents a powerful feminine character, and is a sign of prosperity and immortality. The denomination is inscribed between the two creatures, to the right and below the centre of the coin face.
This coin is the 150 yuan 20 oz silver 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 1,500. It has a diameter of 100mm. The bottom edge of the reverse face bears an inscription pertaining to the specifications of the coin. It reads: “.999 Ag 20 oz”. The year of production, 1990, is inscribed at the bottom of the obverse face.
A unique serial number is struck on the rim of the 20 oz silver coin of the series. This coin, like the 2 oz silver coin in the series, also comes with a blue certificate of authenticity.