The coin pictured above is one of six 2002 Beijing Opera coins. Of those coins produced in this year, one is gold and five are silver. The reverse of the coins in this series show brightly coloured pictures of characters from the Beijing Opera. The obverse of the coins all bear the inscription: “The People’s Republic of China”. Below this inscription on all coins in the group is a picture of the Grand Opera Tower at the Summer Palace in Beijing. Below this is the year of production, 2002.
The Grand Opera Tower, built in the Garden of Virtue and Harmony in Beijing’s Summer Palace, was constructed to celebrate the 60th birthday of the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908). Cixi, although initially a concubine at court, ruthlessly took power after a coup in 1861 and was the de facto ruler of China for 47 years until her death in 1908. She was particularly fond of Chinese opera, and the tower was specifically built for the performance of opera to Cixi herself.
This is the 200 yuan, 1/2 oz gold coin of the series produced in 2002. It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 27mm. It has a mintage of 8,000.
The reverse of the coin shows a brightly coloured image of the Monkey King character from the opera Havoc in Heaven. The character is shown in a yellow and blue costume wearing a mask. Havoc in Heaven tells the story of the Monkey King who eats the Empress’s sacred peaches growing in the Heavenly Garden and subsequently defeats the heavenly armies sent against him. To the left of the image on the reverse face in Chinese characters is inscribed: “China’s Beijing Opera, Havoc in Heaven.” The denomination is inscribed to the right of the image.