In 1995, the China Mint authorized thirty-three individual panda coins for release. Above is the 12 ounce, 80 millimeter, 99.9% pure, silver panda coin. This is one of ten silver coins released in 1995. The obverse of each of these coins shows the Chinese lettering signifying, “The People’s Republic of China,” and the year of issue, 1995. Between these two imprints is an image of The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, an iconic work of Chinese architecture that has been highly influential in the Far East since its construction in 1420.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is part of the Temple of Heaven, located in Beijing. In 1998, the Temple of Heaven was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it has been culturally, historically and architecturally influential. The Yongle Emperor commissioned its construction. The Yongle Emperor was particularly influential in Chinese history himself, also commissioning the largest encyclopedia known to the world during his reign. Yongle was a true intellectual and was deeply invested in his practice of Buddhism. The Temple of Heaven is one of the visible legacies that he left to the world.
This coin bears the face value of 100 yuan, shown on the reverse face of the coin. Above this inscription, one can see the metallic properties of the coin: “.999 12oz. Ag.” This face of the coin shows three pandas, a mother and her two cubs, enjoying time together next to a small thicket of bamboo. One cub plays closely with its mother, and the other cub watches from nearby. Bamboo represents the flora of China, while the panda is the most emblematic fauna. In all, 1,000 of these twelve ounce, 100 yuan panda coins were minted in 1995.
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