The coin pictured above is one of twelve which make up a complete set of 500 yuan 5 oz gold lunar coins issued between 1988 and 1999. They are proof coins with a purity of 99.9% and have a diameter of 60mm. The reverse face of the coins in this set feature the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac while the obverse shows various famous Chinese buildings.
This is the 1997 Year of the Ox coin from the set. The obverse features the inscription “The People’s Republic of China”, below which is an image of the Mingyuan Tower. The tower served as the main building of the Jiangnan Examination School where aspiring civil servants came to take the imperial examinations of feudal China. The complex was the largest of its kind in China. Below this is the year of issue, 1997.
The reverse shows a painting by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), a Chinese painter and expert forger. He started his painting career as a traditionalist Chinese painter, but later was known for his modern impressionist and expressionist works. The painting featured is called “Picture of Charging Bull”. It shows a large bull standing firm and preparing to charge. The denomination, 500 yuan, is inscribed above the image. This coin has a mintage of 99.
The ox is considered to have an extremely powerful nature. Those born in the Year of the Ox are reliable, diligent, and ambitious. They are calm and have a strong resolve but can be somewhat stuck in their ways, verging on narrow-mindedness. The resolute and strong character of the ox is reflected well in the painting.
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.