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Following the opening of the 1st China International Coin Expo on 22nd May in Beijing, seven highlights would be unveiled to the attendees and...June 28, 2015
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Xu Shichang, also known as Hsu Shih-chang, held the office of president of the Republic of China between October 10th, 1918 and June 2nd,...June 12, 2015
This article looks once again at another of the several error strikes that either managed to make it out of the minting process undetected,...May 29, 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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Before the establishment of the PRC in 1949, China had been represented at the Olympics under the flag of the Republic of China (ROC). However the flag of the PRC was raised for the first time at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics in Finland. The PRC sent a delegation of 40 to attend, but due to transportation issues mainly concerning the lack of an available jet aircraft to fly the team over to Finland in time for the competition, only one of the athletes, the swimmer Wu Chuanyu 吴传玉, arrived in time to take part in his event.
Due to its extended period of social and political upheaval in the second half of the 20th Century, the PRC was not represented at any Summer Olympic Games held between 1956 and 1980 inclusively. The first Olympics attended by the PRC since the Cultural Revolution was the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. It was in this year when the PRC truly opened its Olympic medal account with a total of 32 medals (15 golds, 8 silvers, and 9 bronzes), and earning them fourth place in the medal table. China’s first Olympic gold medalist was the 50m pistol shooter Xu Haifeng 许海峰, who earned this landmark achievement at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.
Coins have been issued by the People’s Bank of China to commemorate the Olympics in 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996. However, no coins were issued for the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. The first time China hosted the Olympics was in 2008, and it seems that the China Mint more than made up for the lack of Olympic coins in 2000 and 2004 by issuing three sets in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Games over a three-year period in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
1984 Los Angeles Olympics
From the 1984 series, issued to commemorate the 23rd Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, California, USA, the athletes Zhu Jianhua 朱建华 and Lang Ping 郎平 were picked as models on which the artisans at the China Mint were to base their designs of the two coins which make up the 1984 Summer Olympics series.
¼ oz Silver Coin – Zhu Jianhua 朱建华
The 1984 23rd Summer Olympics ¼ oz silver coin features Shanghai’s Zhu Jianhua, a high jumper recording a personal best of 2.39m. He was born on 29th May 1963 and is 1.93m tall. At the time of competing he weighed 70 kg. While Xu Haifeng was the first gold medalist for the PRC, Zhu Jianhua holds the accolade for being the first male PRC athlete to win an athletics medal: a bronze in 1984.
The coin itself is a proof piece with a fineness of 92.5%. It had a planned mintage of 10,000, although it has an actual mintage of 10,100. The face value is 5 yuan, it measures 27 mm in diameter and was struck at the Shanghai Mint.
½ oz Silver Coin – Lang Ping 郎平
Also commemorating the 1984 Los Angeles Games is the 1984 23rd Summer Olympics ½ oz silver coin featuring the women’s volleyball champion Langping. Playing the position of outside hitter – an ‘all-round’ position typified by strong defensive players who have the ability to strike the ball hard and fast, and often expected to make the best of awkward situations – she bears the nickname “Iron Hammer”. She was an integral part and one of the strongest players of the Chinese women’s volleyball team.
Born in Beijing on 10th December 1960, after her playing career she moved on to coaching. She coached the USA volleyball team from 2005 until the end of the Beijing Olympics of 2008 in which the USA team, under her leadership, won a silver medal (losing out to Brazil in the final). During the same competition, her USA team faced and beat the Chinese women’s team of her home country 3-2 in a widely publicised match attended by both the then Presidents Hu Jintao and George W Bush. She resigned from the USA team in 2008, citing family reasons, and now coaches China’s women’s team. Despite what may be seen as a slightly controversial period coaching the USA team, she is revered in China for being one of China’s first world champions. Her achievements are seen as particularly significant since she was one of the first gold medalists at the Olympics in a sport that wasn’t considered to be a Chinese speciality (like Ping Pong).
Frosted and Mirrored
There are two varieties of this ½ oz silver coin – a mirrored finish and a rarer frosted finish.
Both types are of proof quality with a fineness of 92.5%. They both bear a denomination of 10 yuan, measure 36 mm in diameter, and were struck at the Shanghai Mint.
The mirrored finish coin had a planned mintage of 6,000, although an actual mintage of 4,500 is recorded. In 1988 Paramount, the US company, sent a request to the Shanghai Mint to mint a frosted version of this coin type, but keeping the 1984 date. The mintage for the frosted version is a mere 1,000.
Collectors should take care when handling and preserving this coin, as the high point of the relief is the abdomen of the athlete – an area which is easily scratched.
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The Last Emperor
The 1910 Xuantong Imperial Silver Dollar (Kann 219) was struck in the second year of the child emperor’s reign. The last emperor of China, the Xuantong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, also known as Puyi, was born in February 1906 and ruled from December 1908 until he abdicated in 1912. As Puyi was just a toddler when his reign began, most of his time in power was overseen by his father, Prince Chun, who held the position of Prince Regent until the Xinhai Revolution in December 1911. The abdication of Puyi followed shortly on 12th February 1912, enacted by the Empress Dowager Longyu.
Coins of this type were struck at the Tianjin Mint as pattern designs with low mintages while the mint experimented with potential designs for future issues, although these coins were not officially released for general circulation. They are scarce pieces and highly sought after in the numismatic community today. This silver dollar is one of four coin types struck at the Tianjin Central Mint during the second year of Puyi’s reign to bear the inscription: “宣統年造大清銀幣” (Struck in the Year of Xuangtong Qing Silver Coin). They were based on a similar die design with varying denominations of: 1 yuan; 5 jiao; 2 jiao and 5 fen; and 1 jiao. As previously stated, they were not officially released for circulation, although the silver dollar with a face value of 1 yuan was briefly circulated in very limited numbers.
Design, Specifications and Nicknames
The 1910 Xuantong Imperial Silver Dollar is also known in Chinese as 宣二 xuan’er (xuan two) because it was struck in the second year of Xuantong’s reign, or 水龙 shuilong (water dragon) due to the design on the reverse. It is a silver coin measuring 38 mm in diameter with a fineness of .900.
The obverse face features a central block of four Chinese characters within a circle of beads: “大清銀幣” (Qing Silver Coin). Inscribed above are the same characters but in the Manchurian written language. Below the central ring is the face value, “壹圓” (1 yuan). A floral spray appears to the left and right of the central ring.
The reverse face depicts an intricately detailed dragon pictured flying over the sea (hence the Chinese nickname for this coin, 水龙) and mountains in the distance. The dragon image is, like the obverse face, surrounded by a beaded circle. Above are the characters (right to left): “宣統年造” (Struck in the Year of Xuantong). To either side of the central ring is a floral motif. The inscription “$1” appears at the bottom of the coin face, giving the denomination of the coin.
Value and Scarcity
A rare coin with a beautiful design and highly desirable in good condition, the 1910 Xuantong Imperial Silver Dollar has great collector value. One such well-preserved example is due to go under the hammer today, and has a reserve price of 160,000 – 180,000 RMB.
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.