This is one of nineteen panda coins produced in 1996. This is the 12 ounce, pure, silver panda coin. The coin is .999 in fineness and measures 80 millimeters in diameter. This year was the fifteenth anniversary of the panda coin’s first mintage. The China Mint issued three commemorative coins in gold, four bi-metallic coins, two platinum coins, four silver coins, and six panda coins in gold. In all, 800 12 ounce, 80 millimeter, silver panda coins were released in 1996.
On the obverse face of the coin, one can see a representation of The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a part of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Temple of Heaven was commissioned by the Emperor Yongle, a highly religious and visionary ruler, in 1406. Construction ran from 1406 to 1420. This Hall of Prayer was the sanctuary where dynastic rulers of the Ming and Qing dynasties would journey to perform rites that would ensure a solid harvest. If the harvest was healthy, the emperor’s connection with heaven was once again renewed. On the top edge of the coin, one can read the characters signifying, “The People’s Republic of China,” and at the bottom, one can read the year of issue, 1996.
On the reverse face of the coin is a scene of three pandas. One panda is resting on the trunk of a tree, while the other pandas play together in the background. Beyond the pandas, one can see trees and mountains. The panda has long been a symbol of diplomacy in China, as the panda was often given as a gift to foreign rulers during the centuries of dynastic rule in China. Above the mountains in the background, one can see the face value, 100 yuan. At the very top edge of the reverse face are the specifications of the coin, “.999 12oz Ag.”
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