The Chinese Gold Panda coin’s obverse features imagery of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven. The Chinese government’s stamp (in Mandarin) is marked over the temple, and the date of issuance is inscribed underneath. The reverse side shows a panda alongside coin fineness, size, and face value information.
The People’s Republic issued the first Gold Panda coin in 1982. And the coin has been in production ever since. The coin is minted by different Chinese mints but bears no sign of where it came from.
The People’s Republic of China backs the Gold Panda bullion coins and vouches for their purity and legitimacy. Just ensure you buy the coin at the right place to not face quality or authenticity issues later.
About Gold coins
China is one of the largest gold-mining countries in the world. In 2021, its gold production was close to 370 metric tons. A country known for its gold reserves and mining activity will likely showcase its mined wealth in different ways.
Unsurprisingly, the gold market is enormous in China. Although a significant portion of the jewelry is their own gold, a lot of the precious metal for the jewelry is also sourced from outside. Much of the domestically mined gold is also used for other applications, which include bullion.
China has no dearth of gold coins. The most popular coin of them all is the Chinese Gold Panda. The Gold Panda coin is not just well-known and highly regarded in China, it’s also got recognition and a strong following in different parts of the world. Keep reading if you aren’t familiar with the coin or have not heard about it before.
In this article, we cover the following:
- An overview of the Chinese Gold Panda coin
- What it’s worth and is it investment-friendly
- The design of the coin and its gold content
- Where to buy the coin and much more
As mentioned above, the Chinese Gold Panda coin isn’t the only gold coin the Chinese government makes. If you’re investing in gold coins, let this knowledge about the Gold Panda be your gateway to other Chinese gold coins.
About the Chinese Gold Panda
The People’s Republic of China first issued Chinese Gold Panda bullion coins in 1982. That was before the American Eagle (1986) and the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic (1989) gold coins made their debut. Unlike other gold bullion coins, the Chinese Panda coin is made by multiple production facilities based in different Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Shenyang, to name a few.
However, there’s no mention or sign of the mint on the coins. Some Chinese mints make Gold Pandas with great attention to detail; another Chinese mint could excel at finishing. Those exposed to Chinese Gold Panda coins could ascertain the factory a specific coin originated from. Regardless of the mint of origin, the coins are attractive and identical across the board.
Chinese Gold Panda Coin Face Value
The coin is legal tender in China and bears values of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 yuan. The yuan denomination is assigned considering the coin’s nominal weight. Between 1982 and 2000, the coins were issued in denominations ranging from 10 to 100 yuan. The Chinese government added the 5-yuan coin to the roster in 1983.
Also, the face values of the coins were increased after a point. For instance, the 1/10 troy ounce currency had a face value of 10 yuan between 1982 and 2000. From 2001, the value increased to 50 yuan. In 2015, the Gold Panda bullion coins had no denomination printed. The coins also came sans weight, fineness, and metal inscriptions.
The decision to not have engravings on the coins was met with criticism as it made it easier for counterfeiters to fake the coin. Although there’s no official statement on why the inscriptions were removed, it’s believed the production facilities removed the markings to transition from the imperial weight system to the metric system, which ultimately happened in 2016.
The Chinese Panda gold coins come in different sizes, ranging from a troy ounce to 1/20 troy ounce. And there are larger 5 oz (160 g) and 12 oz (370 g) versions too. The first set of Chinese Gold Pandas released in 1982 came in the 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz sizes. The Chinese government issued the 1/20 troy ounce size a year later in 1983. In the same year, China launched Gold Panda bullion coins in 5 oz and 35 oz (1 kg) avatars, with face values of 2,000 yuan and 10,000 yuan, respectively.
|Particulars||1 oz||½ oz||¼ oz||1/10 oz||1/20 oz|
|Diameter||32.05 mm||27 mm||21.95 mm||17.95 mm||13.92 mm|
|Thickness||2.70 mm||1.85 mm||1.53 mm||1.05 mm||0.83 mm|
|Weight||31.1 g||15.6 g||7.8 g||3.1 g||1.6 g|
|Face value (1982-2000)||100 yuan||50 yuan||25 yuan||10 yuan||5 yuan|
|Face value (2001-2015)||500 yuan||200 yuan||100 yuan||50 yuan||20 yuan|
As stated earlier, the Chinese Gold Panda bullion coins embraced the metric measurement system in 2016. That meant the one-troy-ounce coin’s weight was slashed to 30 grams. Similar was the decrease in weights for other coins.
Why Invest in the Chinese Gold Panda Coin?
The Chinese Gold Pandas are known for their high purity and beautiful design. They are the official gold coins of China. But they are not as widely circulated as some other famous gold coins, making them rare and highly valuable. Regardless of the not-very-robust distribution, the Gold Panda coin consistently ranks high as one of the best bullion gold coins in the world.
The coin’s aforementioned rarity can also be attributed to the dynamic design philosophy. Since the annual issues are not the same design-wise, a sense of rarity and collectability gets attached to the coin. Owing to the high demand, it’s not uncommon to find the currency always out of stock. So, when you can snag a few, don’t lose out.
Chinese Gold Panda Coin Design
The Chinese Gold Panda coin has a distinct obverse and reverse design. The front features a center-positioned picture of the Temple of Heaven. Over the place of worship are Chinese characters “Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo,” which in English means “People’s Republic of China.” At the bottom is the year of production or issuance information.
The coin’s reverse features the panda design, which has been subjected to changes annually since the coin’s inception. As stated above, only the coins issued in 2001 and 2002 have the same design. The rear-positioned panda is usually depicted to be lazing around in its natural habitat. Alongside the panda image, the coin’s face value, weight, and fineness is stated.
The Dynamic Gold Panda Coin Design
The Chinese Gold Panda coin design changes yearly, except when the 2001 and 2002 issues had identical designs. The dynamic design policy was reverted later, thanks to collectors denouncing the design freeze move.
The design changes with every subsequent annual release don’t entail significant overhauls. The variations are usually minor changes to the minting date size, temple style, etc. The front side is particularly not tinkered with much. The fiddling is usually done to the panda on the rear.
The various Chinese Gold Panda bullion coins don’t bear any mintmark indicating their mint of origin. The designs are pretty generic in that aspect. However, the variations mentioned above help identify the several mints they belong to. Also, different designers may take up the coin’s design duties for a set period.
Chinese Gold Panda Coin Metal Contents
Chinese Gold Panda bullion coins are among the highly pure gold coins (24-karat, 99.9 percent gold, or 0.999 fine) available for sale. They are in the same league as the American Gold Buffalo and Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins on the purity front.
Chinese Gold Panda Proof Coins
The Chinese Gold Panda has its proof versions too. All the size variations may not be available as proof sets, however. A notable proof set is the 40th-anniversary 1 kg variant (32.15 troy ounces) with a unique privy mark denoting the date’s significance.
Chinese Gold Panda Coin Value and Prices
The Chinese Gold Panda coin’s values are usually on par with other bullion coins. The pure gold makeup of the currency lends much stability to its market price. The demand for it among collectors doesn’t impact its prices as much, in other words.
Regarding prices, those vary with the coin’s weight. A one-ounce Gold Panda coin trades for as low as $1,900 approximately (December 2022). On the other hand, a ½ troy-ounce coin sells for around $1,000. Because the bullion is pure gold, its value is invariably on par with the ongoing market price of gold. At times, the year of issuance could also ascertain the price.
Chinese Gold Panda Coins: Where to Buy
You can buy Chinese Gold Panda coins in China and other parts of the world, including North America. In China, the CGCC (China Gold Coin Corporation) is the official distributor. Panda America handles distribution in America. It has been the official distributor for the Gold Panda since 1982 and various other Chinese gold coins. JM Bullion, SD Bullion, APMEX, etc. Refrain from buying the coin from a non-authorized shop or online store, such as an online marketplace or auction site.
Which Chinese Gold Panda Coin Variant Should You Buy?
As the case is with other gold coins, go for the 1 oz variant of the Chinese Gold Panda. It’s a standard size (not too small, not too large). The ½ oz variant should ideally be the second-best size, but not with the Gold Panda coin. The size was initially the least popular due to its inability to showcase the panda in full glory. That caused a halt in its production and a significant drop in mintage numbers. The variant is, therefore, not very easy to procure. If you find one, buy one as the “rare” tag could make it slightly more premium among buyers.
The first set of gold coins that come to mind when discussing bullion coins are the American Gold Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and Vienna Philharmonics. The Chinese Gold Panda coins don’t enter thoughts instantaneously, which we believe adds to the coin’s unique appeal. Gold Panda coins look great and are made of the highest quality.
So, go ahead if you want to buy the Chinese Gold Panda coins. They will be great additions to your collection or investment portfolio. They are solid investment tools, too, even if you don’t appreciate the beauty and finish. And because there are fractional sizes, the smallest coins make great gift items too. Even if not IRA-eligible, Chinese Gold Panda coins are still worth buying, especially for their design and purity.
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Are Chinese Gold Panda coins IRA eligible?
No, Chinese Gold Panda coins cannot be bought under a gold IRA (individual retirement account) arrangement. Even though the currency is 24 karats (meeting one of the qualities needed to qualify for a precious metals IRA), the IRA doesn’t recognize or approve the establishments that make Gold Panda coins. But the eligibility status is not clear, and it’s advised to contact your IRA provider to learn more.
Are Chinese Gold Panda coins a good investment?
Yes, Chinese Gold Panda coins are a great investment due to their purity, excellent design, and coveted status within the investor community.
Chinese Gold Panda coins vs. American Gold Buffalo coins: What’s the difference?
The Chinese Gold Panda and American Gold Buffalo coins are 24-karat specimens. Except for that, everything else is different, particularly the design. If the Chinese Gold Panda displays Chinese culture, the Gold Buffalo coin pays homage to the Native Indian and the American bison, showcasing American heritage.
Chinese Gold Panda coins vs. Austrian Vienna Philharmonic gold coins: What’s the difference?
The Vienna Philharmonic bullion has ushered recognition and respect toward Austria among investors the way the Gold Panda currency has done for China. Both coins come in multiple sizes, but the designs are extremely varied. The Gold Panda focuses on Chinese culture. The Philharmonic coin does the same for Austria, bringing the famed Vienna Philharmonic orchestra to the fore.
How can you tell fake Chinese Gold Panda coins?
Besides the weight and dimension discrepancies, fake Chinese Gold Panda coins usually have varied designs. The most common error counterfeiters make is not getting the design right for a particular year. Also, the fake coin will not be real gold.
You can perform various tests (at home and the jeweler’s) to ascertain the same. The fake coin is usually made of a non-precious metal with a thin, negligible amount of gold covering the base metal. Lastly, it doesn’t matter how skilled the fake coin maker is, they cannot fully replicate the real coin’s intricate design details and smooth and reflective finish.
What are the Chinese Gold Panda coins worth?
Since the Chinese Gold Pandas are pure gold, they’re worth their weight in gold. Depending on the coin’s rarity and demand (which could vary as the designs are not the same across the board), the coin’s actual market value could be slightly higher than the gold prices for the specified weight.
Is there a Chinese Silver Panda coin?
Yes, there is a silver version of the Chinese Panda. Except for being made of silver, it’s identical to the gold version. The design, weight, dimensions, etc., are the same across the gold and silver coins. Also, different mints make the Chinese Silver Panda coins.
The first set of Silver Panda coins was issued in 1983. The 10-yuan silver currency issued weighed 27 grams, measured 38.6 mm diametrically, and was 0.900 fine silver. The proof quality, one troy ounce silver version was sterling silver (0.925 fine) and had a 40 mm diameter.