The Lure of Platinum: Part 2

The Lure of Platinum – Part 2:

Following Part 1, in this article we continue to extol the virtues of modern Chinese platinum coins.

A narrow range of rarified subject matter:

The second characteristic of platinum coins that makes them a good choice for collecting and investing is that there are relatively few areas of the Chinese coins market where platinum crops up, making them a rare breed so to speak. Such is the extreme rarity and value of platinum that China does not produce very many of these coins! Modern Chinese coins have a history of over 30 years, but during that time there have been only 15 years when platinum coins have been released. What’s more is that during those years, platinum coin production has still been highly restricted to just one or two series, with a maximum of three series featuring platinum coins during any particular year. They are the Lunar, Ancient Inventions and Discoveries, and Panda series issued between 1992 and 1994.

The People’s Bank of China has issued in excess of 2800 different precious metal commemorative coin types, of which the 55 platinum types make up just 1.9%. The outstanding subject matter of these coins tends to be those of high cultural significance and value, perhaps reflecting the inherent significance and value of the precious metal from which they are made. Some notable examples are themes of religious and spiritual importance, like Guan Yin; or the historically and culturally formative events featured in the Ancient Inventions and Discoveries series. The themes that appear on platinum coins are some of the finest aspects of Chinese culture, and embody the principal of (to use a Chinese expression) “using the best steel for the knife edge”.

In addition to this rarified subject matter, the People’s Bank of China has not issued a platinum coin for 9 years in a row now – the last time being in 2005. If this trend is to continue, it may look like the possibility for future platinum coin releases is relatively low, further increasing their scarcity in the coins market.

A small and specific selection of coin specifications:

Thirdly, the number of different platinum coin specifications is also rather low. There are only five, namely the five weights ranging from 1 oz to 1/20 oz. There are 23 of the 1 oz coin types: five Ancient Inventions and Discoveries; 12 Lunars; four Pandas; and two Unicorns. There are only two ½ oz coin types, namely the 1990 Panda and 1995 Unicorn. The ¼ oz coins include 12 varieties: the 1990 Panda; 1996 Unicorn; and the five coins that make up each of the 1993 and 1994 Ancient Inventions and Discoveries sets. The 10 varieties of 1/10 oz coins are the 8 Panda coins issued between 1990 and 2005; and the 2003 and 2004 Guan Yin coins. Finally, there are 8 platinum coin types weighing 1/20 oz: the 7 Pandas issued between 1993 and 2004; and the 1996 Unicorn.

Of the above mentioned coins, the 1 oz platinum pieces are particularly special, having a similar status and reputation in numismatics to the large scale (greater than 1 oz) coins in gold or silver.

The final Part 3 is coming soon, but in the meantime have a browse in the coin store, and take a look at some of the great platinum investment opportunities currently available.