The coin pictured is one of twelve 100 yuan 1 oz gold lunar coins produced between 1988 and 1999 which together make a complete series. The reverse face of the coins in the series feature paintings of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac by famous Chinese painters. 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 series (with the exception of the Year of the Dragon coin issued in 1988 which has an image of the Temple of Heaven below the inscription) is a rendering of the National Emblem of China. The year of issue is inscribed below this at the bottom of the obverse face.
1999 Year of the Rabbit coin is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 32mm and was issued by the Shanghai mint. It has a mintage of 1,600.
The obverse face shows an image of the National Emblem of China which shows an image of Tiananmen Gate above which are five stars. The large star stands for the Chinese Communist Party, while the four small stars symbolise the four social classes outlined in the theory of Mao Zedong’s ‘New Democratic Revolution’. The image is encircled by rings of sheaves of wheat and rice, representing the agricultural origins of the Communist revolution.
The reverse face features a rendering of a painting entitled “Picture of Speeding Hare” by Xu Beihong (1895-1953). Highly proficient in the use of both Chinese ink and oils, he combined Western techniques, such as perspective, with traditional Chinese artistic methods. The painting shows a hare or rabbit bounding along past some flowers. The fine detail of the hare is remarkable as the artist accurately captures the likeness of the animal in the painting The denomination, 100 yuan, is inscribed below and to the right of the image. The top left edge of the reverse face bears an inscription in Chinese characters pertaining to the specifications of the coin. It reads: “Contains 1 oz pure gold purity .999 1 oz Au”.
The hare or rabbit has long been regarded as a symbol of luck and fortune in Chinese culture. It has a docile and meek character with a graceful nature. An amiable and good-natured creature, the hare is an embodiment of elegance and grace. People born in the Year of the Hare are thought of as having artistic and sensitive personalities with refined tastes and elegant manners. They are timid and peaceful people and are hard to provoke.
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.