The coin shown is one of twelve which together form a complete set of 100 yuan 1 oz gold lunar coins issued between 1988 and 1999. The reverse face of the coins in the set feature paintings of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The obverse of the coins bear the inscription in Chinese characters: “The People’s Republic of China”. Above the inscription on all coins in the set (with the exception of the Year of the Dragon coin which shows an image of the Temple of Heaven) is a rendering of the National Emblem of China. The year of production is inscribed at the bottom of the obverse face.
The coin pictured is the 1992 Year of the Monkey coin of the set. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 32mm. It has a mintage of 1,900.
The obverse face features an image of the National Emblem of China. The National Emblem was adopted on 20th September 1950, shortly after the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950). It features a picture of Tiananmen Gate, the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Above the image of the gate are five stars, one large star representing the Communist Party of China, and four small stars around it representing the four social classes as defined by Maoist philosophy.
The reverse features a painting by Liu Jiyou (1918-1983) who learned both traditional Chinese painting and western techniques, later combining these methods in his paintings. He took inspiration from his father who was also a famous animal and plant painter. The painting, entitled “Picture of a Monkey” depicts a small monkey perched on a branch looking back over its shoulder. The denomination, 100 yuan, is inscribed to the left of the image. The top edge of the reverse face bears an inscription in Chinese characters pertaining to the specifications of the coin. It reads: “Contains 1 oz pure gold purity .999 1 oz Au”.
In traditional Chinese culture the monkey is deemed a quick-witted, inquisitive, and intelligent animal, and is considered to be the most flexible of all the animals in the zodiac. Those born in the Year of the Monkey are seen as having creative, inventive, and cunning personalities, tending though to be somewhat deceptive.
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