China’s history has been tied to precious metals and various types of coinage for centuries now. In fact, some of the earliest known ancient coins were produced by the Chinese. Today, the Chinese Mint (official Chinese name translating to – The China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation) is responsible for striking precious metals coinage.
Most coin series launched by the Chinese Mint enjoy global demand from both investors and collectors. It’s not only China’s long-standing association with precious metals and coins that is responsible for inspiring confidence among buyers, but it also has a lot to do with the effort and attention-to-detail on every product.
Chinese Mint: History and Present Facilities
Although Chinese coinage is among the earliest known proofs of economic activity using a currency, the modern era of the Chinese Mint came relatively late to the scene.
The very first facility under the modern Chinese Mint was established only in 1920 – two years after the end of the First World War. The Chinese government commissioned this facility in Shanghai. However, it was not until 1928 that the Chinese Ministry of Finance brought the Chinese Mint under its direct control renamed it – Central Mint.
Chinese Mint branches were slowly opened in many Chinese cities like Guilin, Kunming, Lanzhou, and Wuchang.
Even though the Mint had to relocate to other Chinese cities due to an invasion by the Japanese in 1937, it continued to strike coins throughout World War II before moving back to Shanghai in 1946.
Today, the Chinese Mint operates six active facilities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an, Nanchang, and Shijiazhuang. These facilities not only strike collectible official coinage using gold imported from Australia, but they also shoulder the responsibilities of striking regular circulating coinage and banknotes as well.
Chinese Coin Series
The Chinese market has been one of the largest consumers of precious metals like silver bullion and gold bullion for centuries now. Recognizing the Chinese fascination for these metals and the demand for something unique from China, prompted the Chinese Mint to launch coin programs that displayed marvelous artwork, sublime quality, pure gold, and centered around China.
Chinese Gold Panda Coins
Nothing screams China like the adorable Panda; it is a beloved mammal, native to China. Knowing this, the Chinese Mint launched their first gold coins, infamous Chinese Gold Panda Coins for the very first time in 1982. The program was set to feature annual releases with brand-new panda designs on every iteration.
Since then, these gold coins have been immensely popular, which is why they still enjoy attention from collectors and investors to this day.
The reverses of these coins feature the design of the panda – a design that changes every single year. Over the three decades of this coin program, we’ve seen designs with groups of pandas, a full family of pandas, and lone pandas, rendered beautifully on the pure gold surface.
On the other hand, the obverses remain unchanged. The Temple of Heaven occupies the center of this side, surrounded by the Chinese characters that translate to “People’s Republic of China.”
Gold Pandas struck before 2016 were launched in ounces. However, starting 2016, the Chinese Mint switched to the metric system and will be using it for all subsequent releases.
Chinese Silver Pandas
Seeing the success of the Chinese Gold Pandas in 1982, the Chinese Mint launched a silver coin variant in 1983, just a year later. Like their gold counterparts, they are annual releases as well and feature annually-changing designs to boot.
The program launched with coins struck using 0.900 pure silver. But the Chinese Mint refinery managed to start issuing 0.999 pure silver Chinese Panda Coins in 1989 and has continued to do so.
Like Chinese Gold Panda coins, Chiniese Silver Panda coins were released in ounce variants pre-2016. However, the Chinese Mint has since shifted to the metric system and the silver coins’ silver content is now measured in grams.