1991 1 oz Gold Panda Coin (small date)


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The coin pictured above is one of nineteen 1991 panda coins. Of the nineteen produced in this year, fourteen of the coins are gold, and five are silver. The reverse of the coins in this series show different images of pandas. The obverse of the coins all bear the inscription: “The People’s Republic of China”. Below this inscription on all coins in the group is an image of the Temple of Heaven with its extensive and imposing set of stairs leading up to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, below which is the year of production, 1991.

The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 AD during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Emperor visited the Temple of Heaven every year at the time of the winter solstice to pray to both Heaven and Earth for a good harvest. This was very important and significant for the feudal Chinese as it was believed that a mandate from Heaven legitimised the rule of the Emperor, and so a good harvest would show Heaven still supported the Emperor, thereby strengthening his rule.

This is the 100 yuan, 1 oz gold coin of the series issued in 1991. It is a brilliant uncirculated (BU) coin of 99.9% purity and has a mintage of 36,367. This coin was struck in 1991 at both the Shanghai and Shenyang mint. Each mint issued slightly different versions of the coin. One version, issued by the Shanghai mint, features a large date on the obverse face. The other version, produced by the Shenyang mint, features a small date.

The reverse of the coin shows an image of a lone panda sitting on a river bank eating a long bamboo stem. The panda sits with its hind paws dipped in the water. The denomination is inscribed to the left of the picture. Around the top edge of the reverse face is an inscription pertaining to the specifications of the coin. It reads: “Contains 1 oz pure gold purity .999 1 oz Au”.

Since 1982 these 1 oz gold BU panda coins have been issued every year, making a series comprising one from each year. The vast majority of 1 oz gold panda coins sell for a small sum over the gold spot price which, given that in the long run gold prices tend to gradually rise, makes these coins a very attractive option for defensive investors. This is the Small Date variety.

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