Above is the 1993, 99.9% pure, 5 ounce silver panda coin, bearing the legal tender face value of 50 yuan and measuring 70 millimeters in diameter. This is one design of the twenty-three varieties of panda coins released by the China Mint in 1993. One coin is bi-metallic. The remaining coins are silver, gold, platinum or copper. This coin shows the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a part of the Temple of Heaven, on the obverse, above which are the characters for “The People’s Republic of China.” Below the steps leading up to the hall is inscribed, “1993,” the year the coin was authorized for release. In total, the China Mint released 3,000 of these coins.
The Temple of Heaven, a series of buildings and gardens on the outskirts of Beijing, was completed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. The emperors and officials of both the Ming and Qing dynasties used this space to pray for the weather conditions conducive to a good harvest. The Temple of Heaven, an extremely influential and culturally important work of architecture, was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998. The Temple interior contains bright and beautifully detailed works of art, while the exterior is a magnificent architectural achievement that has inspired architecture in the East since its completion in 1420.
The reverse face shows a tender scene between two pandas. A smaller panda sits on a rock beneath a larger panda, perhaps its mother. The larger panda seems to be looking at a stem of bamboo, perhaps to offer it as nourishment to the baby panda. The panda has long been an important symbol of diplomacy in China, as pandas were given as gifts to diplomats traveling to China. This was a gesture of friendship between China and other nations. The top edge of the reverse face bears the inscription, “.999 Ag 5oz,” detailing the metallic properties of the coin. Above the smaller panda is the face value, 50 yuan.
We are available to assist you with any questions on this or other Chinese coins. Our unique expertise and experience in Chinese numismatics covers modern, imperial, republic and circulating coins. We pride ourselves in servicing our clientele to work in building special collections or locate key date coins with help from our global network and have done so since 2004. In addition, we are frequently top bidders on coins and collections when looking to divest.