In 1993, the China Mint released nine coins featuring a famous Chinese painting on the reverse. Five of these coins are gold, and four are silver. This is the five ounce silver coin, measuring 70 millimeters in diameter. It is .999 in fineness and of proof quality. The proof quality of the coin allows for the mirrored background with feathered, three dimensional embellishments adorning it. It bears the denomination of 50 yuan. In all, 888 of these coins were released in 1993.
The obverse of the coin bears the inscription, “The People’s Republic of China,” and the year of release, 1993. In the center of the coin is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, one of the buildings that make up the outer court of the Forbidden City. This detailed rendering shows the wooden building and its marble steps. This building was in use during the Ming Dynasty for state meetings and during the Qing Dynasty for ceremonies like weddings. The Forbidden City was constructed from 1406 to 1420 by the Emperor Yongle. From 1420 until 1911, the Forbidden City was in use by China’s dynastic rulers. The architecture is iconic of China, and the City itself attracted thousands of visitors each year.
The painting shown on the reverse is “Picture of Peacock Displaying Tail Feathers.” This painting was created by Guiseppe Castiglione, an Italian missionary who came to China in 1715. A skilled painter, Castiglione made his way to the court of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. He impressed viewers with his combination of Chinese and European techniques. He also painted portraits of the emperor and empress. Castiglione was not only an artist, but also a skilled architect. He was responsible for designing the Western style buildings at the summer palace in Beijing.
The painting shows two peacocks, one with its tail feathers prominently displayed, as if trying to attract a mate. The other peacock, also a male, has his feathers closed. He looks demurely to the side. Surrounding the peacocks are trees, shrubs and spring flowers. Below the demure peacock, one can read the specifications of the coin, “5oz Ag .999.” Above the fanned feathers is the face value of the coin, 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.