Chinese Coins: 2014 Panda Coins Released Early

The 2014 Chinese Panda coins were unveiled at the Beijing Coin Expo.

Since 1982, as year-end approaches it has become an annual ritual for coin collectors to anticipate the release of the next Panda coins. Unlike other series of modern “bullion” coins, the Panda is redesigned each year. This has created a unique buzz around the coins. For instance in 2012 there were two Pandas in the design, in 2013 there were three and some collectors speculated that the 2014 installment might feature a quartet of bears.

At the October Beijing International Coin Expo that speculation was laid to rest. The entire range of new Panda coins from 1/20 oz. through kilos were on display and they feature a solo bruin. That the coins were on display at all was newsworthy. Past Expos focused attention on the Lunar coin series. Panda coins were usually released a month or two later with less fanfare. This year, however, the Chinese Mint turned the Expo into a coming out party for the 2014 Pandas. The coins could be seen at the China Gold Coin Incorporation display area in a showcase right next to the 2014 Year of the Horse Lunar coins.

China 2014 Panda Silver 10 Yuan
Click images to enlarge.

Moreover Panda collectors received not only a preview of the new coins, but a status upgrade from the China Mint. The Mint hosted a spectacular event to formally introduce the 2014 Pandas. It featured speeches by Mr. Zhang Hanqiao, the President of China Gold Coin Incorporation and by Mr. Li Bo, the Chairman of Shanghai Gold Coin Investment Co., Ltd. His company is a branch of China Gold Coin Incorporation that specializes in the distribution of bullion Pandas. They spoke about the significance of the Panda as a symbol of peace and friendship between China and the rest of the world as well as about the history and future of the coin series.

An impressive video explained the design and minting process. The crowd was then electrified by the appearance of a floating holographic likeness of a 2014 gold Panda spinning in mid-air. Next a complete master set of every gold BU Panda issued from 1982 to 2013 was laid out on a long table. At the far end two five-coin sets of 2014 gold Pandas were placed on velvet-lined trays. Guests were invited to examine and pick up the coins. I heard several people comment that 2014 is the best design in some years, something that must have pleased Mr. Rocky Zhao, the coin’s designer, who was present.

The event not only provided the numismatic community with a first-look at the 2014 coins but also signaled the high regard that China Mint places on the Panda series.

For those who are interested in learning more about Pandas, Lunars and other modern Chinese coins NGC will host an Educational Seminar in Shanghai on Friday, November 15, from 14:00–17:00 at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Luwan, Concord Room (Third Floor). This will be an opportunity to attend presentations and discuss Pandas, grading, conservation and other topics. It will be a special day and I hope to see many of you there.

Peter Anthony is an expert on Chinese modern coins with a particular focus on Panda coins. He is an analyst for the NGC Chinese Modern Coin Price Guide as well as a consultant on Chinese modern coins.

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