Peter Anthony: For most Panda dates the ½ oz. gold coin was originally the least popular size. As a consequence fewer of these ½ oz. Pandas are available today than the other denominations. 1986 is an exception. Slightly more 50 Yuan than 25 Yuan Pandas exist today. The ½ oz. size does provide a good view of another masterpiece of line drawing, the solid Panda that stands head-on amidst bamboo shoots on 1986 coins. The planned mintage for this 1/2 oz. gold 50 Yuan Panda was 60,290. For decades 1986 Pandas were considered as common as 1985s and sold for the minimum premium above its melt value. That view is gradually being revised to reflect that sets of 1986 Pandas are in fact scarcer than 1985s.
A fairly modest quantity of the 1986 50 Yuan have been graded. That reflects its long history in the bullion coin dog house. It wasn’t worth grading the 1986 50 Yuan unless it was needed for a set. Of those that have been graded just more than half are MS-69s. The 1986 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"