Coin of the Week: 1988 12 oz Silver Dragon Proof Coin

1988_12oz_silver_dragonA 1988 12 oz Silver Dragon Lunar proof coin is available for purchase right now in the coin store. This proof quality silver coin, with a certified fineness of 99.9%, has a denomination of 100 yuan and measures 80 mm in diameter. An award winning and intriguing coin, it boasts the title of “Best Silver Coin”, awarded at the 1990 E.J. Krause World Coin News Grand Prix.

The design on the obverse face is of the Great Wall, while the reverse face features an ornate carving of two dragons playing with a ball. Struck at the Shanghai Mint, the design was copied from the Nine Dragon Wall in the Imperial City, Beijing. The engraver at the mint was a certain Zeng Chenghu, who used the design from the Nine Dragon Wall, originally by Zhu Chunde.

Dragons hold a special place in Chinese culture and national identity. They consider themselves to be the “People of the Dragon”. This mythical creature symbolises luck, power, and strength, and as a result is the most popular of the lunar animals.

The mythical and mysterious nature of the dragon is reflected in the history of this coin. At the time of production, China was in a frantic and rapid state of economic and political flux. Perhaps due to this turmoil, records concerning mintage and production are somewhat lacking.

1988 was also a big year for the Chinese Gold Coin Incorporation, adding further historical significance to this coin. Having been founded in late December 1987, 1988 was its first full year of operation and therefore a cause for celebration. The lunar series was greatly expanded in terms of mintage figures as well as variety of coin types. 1988 was the first year in which the 12 oz silver lunar coins were issued, and although officially 3,000 pieces were authorised for production, the actual mintage for this coin remains a mystery. We can only guess at the actual number which were struck. It is likely to be significantly lower than the official 3,000.

The 1988 12 oz Silver Dragon Lunar proof coin is currently priced at $2,890. See the coin store for further information.