This coin is the 100 yuan, 12 ounce, pure, silver 1994 Chinese panda coin. The coin is of proof quality, giving the background a mirror like finish and the embellishments a matte or feathered finish. The coin is .999 in fineness and 80 millimeters in diameter. This is one of twenty-one panda coin designs that were released in 1994: eleven in gold, six in silver, two in platinum and two in both silver and gold. The obverse of each coin shows the Chinese characters, “The People’s Republic of China.” Below these characters is an image from the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and the year of issue, 1994.
The Temple of Heaven was commissioned by the Yongle Emperor during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Yongle and his successors would come to this Temple each year to pray for bountiful harvests, until the use of the Temple was outlawed in 1911. The structure shown on the coin is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the hall in which the dynastic rulers would raise their prayers. If the harvest was strong, the emperor’s direct connection to heaven was once again established.
On the opposing side of the coin, one can read its specifications on the outer edge, “contains twelve ounces of pure silver, .999 in fineness, 12oz Ag.” This side also shows a tender scene between three pandas, a mother and her two cubs. The mother watches her two cubs play, one bending to drink from a stream, and the other cub watching from above. The pandas sit in a thicket of bamboo, a symbol of tranquility in China. In all, 2,000 of these coins were minted in 1994.
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