Keqin Sun: Monthly Report of Modern Chinese Circulating Coins

Posted on 6/2/2023

NGC columnist Keqin Sun examines the Chinese coin market in April 2023.

Keqin Sun

Spring arrives as promised along with the blooming flowers in April. The People’s Bank of China issued a 5 Yuan World Heritage Mount Huang commemorative coin and a 5 Yuan World Heritage Mount Emei - Leshan Giant Buddha commemorative coin on April 7, 2023. The mintage of each type of coin is 120 million.

The Mount Huang and Mount Emei coins conclude the World Heritage Series, an event that was highly anticipated by collectors. The initial collectible market price of the coins on the date of issue was around 14.7 CNY (about $2.07 USD) per set; then the price declined and eventually settled at around 10.5 CNY (about $1.48 USD) per set. We believe it reflects the law of supply and demand.

In recent years, the pre-order method for selling commemorative coins has indeed generated the idea of making quick revenue. However, the coins must face the marketplace. According to the data made available by the People’s Bank of China on April 14, 2023, the redemption rate of the Mount Huang and Mount Emei coins was 89.16%, which means 107 million sets will possibly be circulating. The price has rationally been modified back to around its denomination. The original intention of issuing these commemorative coins could be to allow them to be owned by common people.

Click images to enlarge.

Click images to enlarge.

In comparison with the general public, many collectors may prefer graded coins. The NGC World Heritage Label series and “First Day of Issue” designation are both extremely popular among collectors, which create demand for coins in the series. Several sets were sold in the auctions held by, and the realized prices could be considered as a reliable market reference.

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The monthly auction held by successfully concluded on April 18, 2023. This auction included 546 lots and realized a total of 3.5 million CNY (about $500,000 USD). The modern Chinese coins graded by NGC continue to shine throughout the monthly auction, especially the lots that were graded and encapsulated by NGC at least ten years ago. Those lots were highly sought after by collectors. Such a phenomenon has been ongoing for a long period of time. As more collectors swarm into the modern coin market, the pursuit of such rarity has continued to expand. Collectors pay more attention to the condition of the coins. This phenomenon also reflects the recognition of NGC’s coin grading scale.

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In addition, there are several NGC-graded coins that demonstrated an outstanding performance in the monthly auction. One of them is a China 1993 5 Yuan Panda Bank Specimen graded NGC PF 68 RD Ultra Cameo. It is considered as an ultimate rarity for Panda coin collectors. There are six graded examples of this variety in the NGC Census. This lot is ranked second along with two other examples that earned the same grade. They are only surpassed by a single coin in the NGC Census. This lot realized 222,480 CNY (about $31,000 USD). It is currently the highest price realized in this variety and such grade.

Click images to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Another stunning lot is a China 1985 Yuan 30th Anniversary of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Frosted Field) graded NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo. It is considered a rare, elegant and historical modern commemorative coin. There are two varieties, which are commonly referred to as the “Frosted Field” and the “Mirrored Field.” China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation has produced 1,400 sets, and they were sold abroad. NGC has currently graded 460 examples. This lot realized 99,431 CNY (about $14,000 USD) in the monthly auction, which set a record. It could be considered a milestone in the trading of modern Chinese commemorative coins.

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Coins in the second series of RMB have been issued since 1957 (The earliest date struck on a 1 Fen coin is “1955”). It is commonly agreed as the type that has been issued for the longest period of time, and these coins are still in circulation at present. It could be named as the Chinese coin with the longest lifespan. However, many collectors didn’t pay enough attention to them due to the unitary design and relatively small diameter.

The market always leaves the door open for those who are prepared. Another top lot sold in the monthly auction was a China 1957 Fen graded NGC MS 69, which realized 18,036 CNY (about $2,500 USD). The most recent auction lot realized 7,980 CNY (about $1,100 USD), tracing back to two years ago, which indicates a significant increase in value. Only seven graded examples are recorded in the NGC Census, and this lot is the finest graded.

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The thoughts and opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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