This is a set of coins produced in 1994, including one bimetallic coin and four 99.9% pure, gold coins. These coins were released in a box made specifically for the coins, featuring a red interior. All of these coins show an image of a panda on the reverse face and an image of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests on the obverse face. The four gold coins are proof in quality, as shown by a ‘P’ mark on the reverse face of the coin. In all, 2500 of these sets of five coins were released in 1994.
The bimetallic coin is wrought in gold and silver. The gold is at the center of the coin, and it is surrounded by a silver ring. The gold contained in this coin weighs one quarter of one ounce, while the silver weighs one eighth of one ounce. The face value of this coin is 25 yuan, and it measures 30 millimeters in diameter. The other coins in the series measure 27 millimeters (50 yuan face value), 22 millimeters (25 yuan face value), 18 millimeters (10 yuan face value), and 14 millimeters (5 yuan face value). These four coins weigh 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, 1/10 ounce, and 1/20 ounce, respectively.
The obverse face of all of these coins shows the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, an iconic work of Chinese architecture. The Hall of Prayer is a large, triple gabled building that represents the turning of the seasons in Chinese culture. Each year during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the emperor would pray here for a good harvest. In 1998, the Temple of Heaven, where the Hall of Prayer is located, was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. This structure is considered not only culturally and historically important in China, but architecturally influential throughout the Far East. Above the Hall on each coin, one can read, “The People’s Republic of China,” and below it, one can see the year of issue, 1994. The bimetallic coin shows this information in the silver ring surrounding the gold interior.
The reverse face of the coins shows a panda, sitting on a grassy patch and eating bamboo. Bamboo comprises 99% of a wild panda’s diet, even though the panda belongs to class carnivora. The panda may eat grubs or worms on occasion but much prefers the sweet green plant that represents peace and tranquility in China. Above the panda on each coin, one can see the specifications of the metal. On the bimetallic coin, one can read, “contains 1/8 ounce pure silver, .999 in fineness, and contains 1/4 ounce pure gold, .999 in fineness.” The other coins have a simpler phrase imprinted, “contains .999 Au,” followed by each of the weights of the coin: 1/2oz (50 yuan denomination), 1/4oz (25 yuan denomination), 1/10oz (10 yuan denomination) and 1/20oz (5 yuan denomination).