Above is one of coins that honors the Chinese Zodiac. These coins were authorized for production by the China Mint between the years of 1988 and 1999. This coin is one ounce of pure silver, .999 in fineness. In all, 8,000 of these one ounce silver coins with the denomination of ten yen were produced in 1995, the Year of the Pig. One side of this coin features the Chinese National Emblem, and the other features a famed painting of a pig to honor the Year of the Pig.
The Emblem of China features elements of both Imperial and Communist China. China pays homage to its history by including the Tiananmen Gate, a famed entrance to the emperor’s palace. Above the gate are five stars. The largest star sits in the center of the surrounding four; it represents the Communist Party of China. The other four stars represent China’s four social classes: the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, the peasants and the capitalists. Around the gate and the stars appear bunches of rice and wheat, the emblems of the agricultural revolution. Below the gate are the characters that translate to “The People’s Republic of China,” and just under these characters is the year of minting, 1995.
On the opposite side of the coin is a copy of a painting, entitled, “Painting of a Pig.” Huang Zhou was the creator of this painting. He was known as a very talented artist whose subjects ranged from natural scenery to people and animals. Like other artists of his generation, he mixed Western and Chinese painting techniques. The pig from the picture is shown sniffing a small patch of grass and flowers. He possesses a fat belly, a common trait of the pig, and a symbol which has inspired its reputation for happiness, prosperity and good luck. To the right of the pig’s head, one can see the denomination of the coin, ten yuan. Above this appear the details pertaining to the metallic properties of the coin: “.999 Ag, one ounce of pure silver.”
In Chinese culture, the pig is a noted fertility symbol. Because of this symbolism, the Year of the Pig is thought to be a positive time to conceive a child. Children conceived or born in this year are said to possess positive luck. Those who are born in the Year of the Pig tend to be trusting, sincere and calm. Some of the negative traits associated with this year are fatalism, materialism, and naivety.
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.