This is one of nineteen panda coins that were struck in 1996. This coin is one ounce of 99.9% pure gold, 32 millimeters in diameter, and bears the face value of 100 yuan. This coin is proof in quality, giving the background a mirrored finish and the embellishments a raised, three dimensional quality. Of the panda coins minted in 1996, nine are gold, four are silver, two are platinum and four are both gold and silver. In total, the China Mint released 1500 of this design of coin.
The reverse face of this coin shows a portrait of a panda sitting on a boulder, looking contemplative and peaceful. It sits near a patch of bamboo, its main source of nourishment. Bamboo is also a symbol of peace and tranquility in China. The panda has often been conflated with the idea of diplomacy, as pandas were given as gifts to foreign dignitaries during dynastic rule in China. To the left of the panda’s head, one can read the face value of the coin, 100 yuan. Next to the panda’s shoulder on the right side of the coin, one can see the metallic properties of the coin: “1oz Au, .999.”
On the obverse is a rendering of The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, one of the main structures at the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven was commissioned by the Emperor Yongle during the early Ming Dynasty. Construction ran from 1406 to 1420. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests played an important part in the yearly ritual of prayer for a plentiful crop. The emperor would pray in the Hall of Prayer each winter solstice. The bounty of the crop would either confirm or deny his connection with heaven. The Hall of Prayer, and the entire Temple of Heaven, were in use until the collapse of dynastic rule in 1911. On the top edge of the obverse face, one can see the Chinese characters that translate to “The People’s Republic of China.” At the very bottom edge of the coin is the year of issue, 1996.
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.