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The 1982 12th FIFA World Cup The ¼ oz gold piece is one of a four-coin set issued in 1982, comprising one gold, one...April 28, 2015
Xu Beihong Xu Beihong (1895 – 1953) was born in Jiangsu Province at the end of the 19th Century – a time when revolutionary...April 8, 2015
1928 (Year 17) Auto Dollar L&M-609; K-757; Y-428 The Legend Guizhou Province in southern China is a rocky, mountainous and rugged region, and even...March 31, 2015
1923 Dragon and Phoenix Dollar Creating a National Emblem With the collapse and ousting of the Qing dynasty in 1912, China was in a...March 26, 2015
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Chinese coins have been released in four precious metals since their first introduction to the world in 1979. The gold, silver, platinum and palladium coins each have the year of issue on the obverse face of the coin as well as images from Chinese culture, history, famous works of art and much more. We sell coins to investors, collectors, coin-dealers, speculators and they are frequently given as gifts to commemorate special occasions such as wedding anniversaries, holidays and birthdays and in corporate settings.
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2015 is a big anniversary in the artistic community in China, as it marks 120 years since the birth of the revolutionary Chinese master painter, Xu Beihong 徐悲鸿 (1895 – 1953). For MCC collectors and enthusiasts, with the release of the four-coin set earlier this year to commemorate the occasion (more details can be found here), attention has returned to other coins featuring the esteemed artist himself as well as his works.
At this time it should not be surprising to find rare coins featuring Xu Beihong and his work cropping up in auction houses over the next year. Potential sellers will no doubt have felt the hype and interest surrounding these coins increasing, and as such will have deemed their investment ripe for releasing to the market. A good example of this is the 1995 Centenary of the Birth of Xu Beihong 5 oz gold coin which is coming up for auction on the 19th May 2015. The auctioneer presiding over the sale will be China Guardian Auctions, and this rare piece is expected to attract bids in the region of 650,000 – 800,000 RMB.
Only 100 of this coin type were struck, making it a true rarity and the standout piece of the set. This remarkable gold coin has a face value of 500 yuan, weighs 5 oz, and measures an impressive 60 mm in diameter. It was struck at the Shanghai Mint with a fineness of 99.9% and is of proof quality.
The feature image of the obverse face is a bust of Xu Beihong, dressed in a suit. His likeness is accurately captured in this stunning rendering, particularly the detail of the eyes, which almost brings the image to life. To the left of the central image is the date of his birth, 1985, while to the right is the year of his centenary, 1995. Struck above the image are the Chinese characters: “纪念徐悲鸿诞辰一百周年” (Commemoration of the Centenary of the Birth of Xu Beihong), while below is the inscription of the PRC: “中华人民共和国”, and the year of issue, 1995.
The reverse face features part of Xu Beihong’s work, Purple Clouds from the East, a piece of art belonging to the post-impressionism genre. Completed in 1943, the original measures 109 x 113 cm, and Xu Beihong used the medium of ink and colour on paper to convey the story of Laozi – the sage and founder of Taosim – arriving at a military outpost in Hanguguan riding an ox. The legend goes that he was greeted by the commander who had foreseen the great philosopher’s arrival by the appearance of purple clouds in the East. Upon his arrival the general asked Laozi to write down his famous core work, the Daodejing. The original work symbolically uses a lot of purple, and it is a shame that such vivid colours were not be conveyed on the coin face. The rendering on the coin features the left side of the original, showing Laozi on his ox as well as the watchtower of the settlement wall. The face value, 500 yuan, is struck to the right of the image (where the kneeling general would have been), along with Xu Beihong’s signature.
The coin coming up for auction in May is number 55, and is presented ungraded with the matching certificate of authenticity and original packaging.
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2005 was the Year of the Rooster according to the Chinese lunar calendar, and this year marked the beginning of the third iteration of the ever popular Lunar series – second only in popularity to the widely recognised Pandas. The first Lunar series began in 1981; the second in 1993. Colourised Lunar coins had made their first appearance in the series back in 1998 as part of the Year of the Tiger set of issues, but this was not the first time colour had been used to enhance and add a new and different appeal to modern Chinese coins.
At this early stage, the China Mint was commissioning its colourised coins from Swiss mints, presumably because the technology required was already at a developed stage in Switzerland, whereas in China it was in its relative infancy. Today most of the colourised coins available are now struck in Chinese mints, although this change only occurred as late as 2009, with the China Mint relying on the Swiss mints for their colourised strikes right up until 2008.
The 2005 Year of the Rooster 1/10 oz colourised proof gold coin was one such issue, struck at the Faude & Huguenin mint in Switzerland. It is a colourised proof gold coin of 0.999 fineness, weighing 1/10 oz, and measuring 18 mm in diameter. It bears a face value of 50 yuan and had a planned mintage of 30,000 pieces. The 2005 Lunar series comprises 12 coins, 6 of them gold and 6 silver.
The obverse face bears the inscription of the People’s Republic of China struck over the top of a cockscomb flower motif, forming a ring around the central image: a rendering of a bronze age artefact in the shape of a rooster. Below is the year, 2005.
The reverse face bears a rendering of painting of a rooster, with the animal itself highlighted with a dramatic use of the colourisation technique. In the bottom left hand corner of the coin face is the denomination, 50 yuan. Above, written top to bottom, is the inscription: “乙酉年”, referring to the year 2005, or the 22nd year of the 60-year cycle which began in 1984 with the Year of the Rat.
Medallic or Coin Alignment?
Uncharacteristically for the skill and attention to detail often associated with Swiss artisanship (consider the reputation of Swiss watches, for instance), a small number of these coins were struck incorrectly according to the specifications laid out by the China Mint.
The mistake is a subtle one and concerns what is referred to in numismatics as the ‘alignment’ of a particular piece. There are two types of alignment or orientation: ‘medallic alignment’ and ‘coin alignment’.
Pieces struck with a medallic alignment (非背逆型 in Chinese) have the top of the obverse and the top of the reverse face in the same position. The intention for this medallic alignment or orientation is so that if the medal turns over while being worn on a uniform it still displays correctly. To view medallic alignment coins or medals correctly, they must be rotated around their vertical axis.
Coin alignment is the opposite (背逆型 in Chinese), and refers to pieces struck where the top of the obverse shares the same position as the bottom of the reverse. To view these pieces correctly, the coin must be rotated around the horizontal axis.
Various countries around the world have a preference for one type or the other. China generally prefers the medallic alignment, although the colourised 1/10 oz gold Lunar pieces dating from 1998 to 2008 were struck in coin alignment because they were a product of the Swiss mints. When production moved back to China for the colourised Lunar coins, the alignment also changed to the usual medallic alignment.
So when we look at the 2005 Year of the Rooster 1/10 oz colourised gold coin there are two varieties. This is because of an error in consistency at the Swiss mint. Most of the coins are struck in coin alignment, but a very small number, possibly only a couple of hundred, were struck in medallic alignment. These medallic alignment strikes have great numismatic value and are incredibly rare. As of 2013 one of these scarce coins might have a market value of between 35,000 and 40,000 yuan.
About Modern Chinese Coins
Modern Chinese Coins refer to the precious metal Chinese coins of the China Mint that have been issued since 1979. Chinese Panda Coins are the flagship series and continue to make an excellent choice for gold and silver buyers.
This is attributable to the charm of the panda and how the China Mint artisans don’t sit still, the coins change their depictions annually (unlike alternative coins such as the American Eagles and Canadian Maple Leafs.)
The result is an ever-growing group of collectors and investors in precious metals drawn to pandas who in time wish to collect coins from specific years and sometimes build sets too.
There are dozens of other coin series that superbly portray and celebrate Chinese history and culture. Modern Chinese Coins are diverse in all respects which is fitting given the growing number of Chinese coin owners in Asia, Europe and North America.
Diverse subject matters include famous artists and paintings, the twelve animals of the lunar cycle, leaders and politicians, sports as well as animals – including the popular panda coin series.
ChineseCoins.com has the greatest selection of rare, collectible Chinese coins covering the full spectrum. Buy the highest quality coins at affordable market prices. Tangible investments of historical significance are hard to come by and when we sell some of these rare coins, often we won’t see another for months or even years.