This is the 12 ounce silver, 80 millimeter, proof quality panda coin of 1993. The silver is .999 in fineness, and the coin bears the face value of 100 yuan. In all, 2,000 of these coins were minted in 1993. Twenty-two other panda coin designs were released by the China Mint in 1993: five others in silver, thirteen in gold, two in platinum, one in both gold and silver, and one in copper. All of the coins, save the copper coin, show the Chinese lettering translating to,”The People’s Republic of China” on the obverse. Below this is an image of one of the main structures of the Temple of Heaven, and the year of release.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is the image shown on the obverse face of the coin. The Hall of Prayer is a triple-gabled structure made completely of wood. It is set atop three circular slabs of marble. The signature steps looking up to the Hall are set into the marble. The circular shape of the building refers to the Chinese idea that heaven is round, but the earth is square. At this temple, the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties would come to pray for a plentiful harvest at the winter solstice. The Temple of Heaven was completed in 1420 and was in use until 1911.
The reverse face of the coin features a scene of a family unit of three pandas, a mother and her two cubs. One cub sits up on the left, under the bows of a tree. The other cub is engaged in play with its mother. Its mother sits, holding up her paws to her cub, as he stands on his hind legs. The panda is often the symbol for mankind in China. This scene has an almost human familial feel, as if a mother is playing with her newly walking toddler while her other child watches. Above the mother panda is the face value of the coin, 100 yuan, and the specifications of the metal, “.999 Ag, 12oz.” In all, 2,000 of these coins were minted in 1993.
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