The 2015 New Year Greetings ¼ oz silver bullion coin may draw minds of the MCC collecting community back to the late 90s (specifically 1997, 1998, and 1999) as well as 2003 – the other years in which Spring Festival-themed (or Chinese New Year-themed) commemorative coins have been released. While three of these five series, including the latest release, may not be considered by some to form true collectable sets, given that there is little or no continuity in terms of coin types, specifications, and regularity of release, they are all nonetheless united by the common theme of commemorating the Spring Festival.
The 1997 and 1998 Spring Greeting releases were 6-coin series of three gold and three silver coins. The three gold pieces weighed 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, and 5 oz; with respective denominations of 10 yuan, 25 yuan, and 500 yuan. Only the 500 yuan 5 oz gold coin was of proof quality; the other gold pieces were BU coins. As for the silver coins, they came in weights of 5 oz and 1 oz, with the 1 oz coin design having both a proof and BU version, and both with face values of 10 yuan. The 5 oz piece was a proof strike with a face value of 50 yuan. Mintages between the two years remained largely unchanged, with the exception of the 5 oz gold coin (188 pieces in 1997 down to 128 in 1998), and the 1 oz silver proof coin (60,000 pieces in 1997 up to 80,000 in 1998).
A single colourised Spring Greeting 1 oz silver proof coin with a face value of 10 yuan and a mintage of 100,000 was released in 1999.
2003 saw the release of a much contracted series in comparison with that of six years before. This time only two coins were released: a 1/3 oz gold 150 yuan proof coin, and a 1 oz silver 10 yuan proof coin.
The 2015 release featuring the Spring Festival is just a single ¼ oz silver 3 yuan BU coin with a mintage of 60,000.