The Chinese Panda gold bullion coin was first issued in 1982 by the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese government wanted to produce a gold bullion coin with a very different theme to that of other countries. They decided on the Giant Panda because of its very peaceful and docile nature which was the image that they wanted to portray to the other countries of the world. This was a very tactful strategy which became known as the “Panda Diplomacy”.
The Chinese Panda coin was so successful that the Chinese government decided they should mint the coin every year but change the reverse side each time with a different panda image. This automatically made the Chinese Gold Panda coins very collectable and as a result the demand for the Panda was very high and so was the price. By 1987 some of the 1982 Pandas were selling for over $3,000 for a 1 oz bullion coin when the spot price of gold was less than $500.
The Chinese Panda reverse side features the Giant Panda with a different design each year with the exception of 2002 when the previous year’s design was repeated but due to the many requests by collectors the government reversed their decision and continued to vary the design again each year from 2003 onwards.
At the top above the Panda from 1982-2000 appears the face value of 100 Yuan. In 2001 it was changed from 100 to 500 Yuan. Along the bottom of the reverse is written “1 oz Au .999” (Au is the Latin symbol for gold) making this a 24 karat coin of 99.9% pure gold.
The Chinese Panda design. The obverse (face side) has wording in Chinese characters at the top “Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo” which translates to “People’s Republic Of China” and at the bottom is the year of issue. The vast majority of coins around the world have a portrait or bust of the Monarch or President but the Chinese Panda has an image of The Temple Of Heaven. There are three slightly different designs of the obverse since 1982, the first change was in 1991 and the final change was in 2000.
The Temple Of Heaven was constructed from 1406 to 1420 and is an Imperial Sacrificial Altar and one of the oldest Taoist temples in Beijing. It was visited by the Emperors of the Qing and Ming dynasties for their yearly prayers for a good harvest. For the Chinese people this is a very historic and important temple and its presence on the face of the Chinese Gold Pandas only adds to the popularity.
The Chinese Panda gold bullion coin was minted containing 1 troy ounce with .999 fine gold purity 24 karat. They have been produced at several different Chinese mints including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Shenyang. This has caused some slight variations from one year to the next on the obverse of the Chinese Panda gold coin including the size of the date and minor details on the temple design.