Pictured is a set of coins struck by the China Mint in 1993, which includes one bimetallic coin and four pure, gold coins, .999 in fineness. These coins were marketed in a box made for the set. An image of a panda appears on the reverse face of each coin and an image of the Temple of Heaven is shown on each obverse face. The four gold coins bear a ‘P’ mark on the reverse face, showing that they are proof in quality. In total, 2500 of each of these coins were minted in 1993, making 2500 full sets.
The bimetallic coin features a gold interior with a silver ring surrounding. The silver weighs 1/8 ounce, and the gold interior weighs 1/4 ounce. Both of the metals are 99.9% pure, as denoted on the coin itself. The denomination of this coin is 25 yuan, and it is 30 millimeters in diameter. The other coins in the series measure 27 millimeters (50 yuan face value and weighing 1/2 ounce), 22 millimeters (25 yuan face value and weighing 1/4 ounce), 18 millimeters (10 yuan face value and weighing 1/10 ounce), and 14 millimeters (5 yuan face value and weighing 1/20 ounce).
The reverse face of the coins shows a panda, sitting alone on a boulder. He sits near bamboo, a common element in Chinese panda coins. Although the panda is indeed a bear and belongs to the mammal family of carnivores, it eats primarily bamboo when in the wild. The panda is China’s national animal and is a protected species. It is estimated that only 2000 to 3000 pandas remain living in the wilds of China. At the top edge of the reverse face, one can see the metallic specifications of the coin. On the silver and gold coin, the inscription says, “contains 1/8 ounce 99.9% pure silver, and contains 1/4 ounce 99.9% pure gold.” The gold coins show the phrase, “.999 Au,” followed by each of the weights of the coin: 1/2oz, 1/4oz , 1/10oz, and 1/20oz, respectively.
On the opposing face of each of the coins, one can see an image of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, one of the main buildings at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Hall of Prayer was commissioned by the Yongle Emperor along with the other structures at the Temple of Heaven. The Yongle Emperor was a visionary of his time, designing the Imperial Palace and the Yongle Encyclopedia as well as the Temple of Heaven. Yongle was a deeply religious emperor, and also had strong interest in art, architecture and literature. Above the Hall of Prayer on each coin, one can read, “The People’s Republic of China.” Below it is the year of authorization, 1993. This information appears in the silver ring surrounding the gold on the bimetallic coin.