The coin pictured is one of twelve which together make a set of 100 yuan 1 oz gold lunar coins issued between 1988 and 1999. The reverse face of the coins in the set feature paintings of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The obverse face of the coins bears the inscription: “The People’s Republic of China” in Chinese characters. Above the inscription on all coins in the set (with the exception of the Year of the Dragon coin issued in 1988 which shows an image of the Temple of Heaven below the inscription) is a image of the National Emblem of China. The year of production is inscribed below this at the bottom of the obverse face.
This is the 1998 Year of the Tiger coin of the series. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 32mm. It was struck at the Shanghai mint and has a mintage of 1,600.
The obverse face shows an image of the National Emblem of China which was adopted in 1950 after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China following the Communist victory over the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950). The emblem displays an image of Tiananmen Gate below five stars. Tiananmen Gate, built in 1420, is the main entrance to the Imperial Palace of Beijing. The four small stars symbolise the four social classes defined by Maoist philosophy, and the large star represents the Chinese Communist Party.
On the reverse face is a rendering of a painting called “Picture of Tiger Roaring” by Zhang Shanzai (1882-1940). Zhang was particularly good at painting tigers, the subject of many of his works. The painting depicts a tiger standing on a rocky outcrop, turning its head back over its shoulder to roar. The denomination, 100 yuan, is inscribed to the right of the image. The top edge of the reverse bears an inscription in Chinese characters pertaining to the metallic properties of the coin. It reads: “Contains 1 oz pure gold purity .999 1 oz Au”.
Traditional Chinese astrology sees the tiger as the king of the beasts, much like the lion in western folklore. It is a powerful and popular zodiac sign in Chinese culture, a born leader embodying competitiveness, bravery, and spontaneity. Character traits of those born in the Year of the Tiger vary wildly, much like the nature of the tiger itself. Some are considered unpredictable and impulsive, while others are deemed passionate and daring.
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.