Peter Anthony: The 1985 1/2 oz. gold 50 Yuan was designed by Mr. Wang Fu De of the Shenyang Mint. It features a playful young Panda hanging from a slender bamboo branch. This joyful image was fitting for the Panda program itself in 1985. Sales of the coins were strong and mintages hit new records. For buyers today this coin is hardly scarce but on the other hand only a small fraction of the original mintage exists in BU condition. That’s because many of these coins were mishandled or melted over the years.
Considering the large number of surviving examples of this coin there are relatively few graded examples. That is because the premium above melt value that it brings is too low to profitably cover the grading fee. However a MS69 can bring a fair premium and that has encouraged submissions. Of those that are graded the most common grade is MS-69 but enough coins fall below this to reduce the average grade to MS-68. When wear or marks are present it is usually seen on the forehead and cheeks above and to the right of the eye. The fields around the Temple of Heaven are also sensitive to flaws.
The 1985 1/2 oz. gold Panda is part of three NGC Registry sets: “Gold 1/2 Ounce Panda, 1982-Date, Mint State," "Gold 1/2 Ounce Panda, 1982-Date, Mint State (Incl. Varieties)," and "Gold 1/2 Ounce Panda, 1982-Date, Mint State and Proof"