Chinese Pandas: Panda Claus, or Spin the Panda

Posted on 11/10/2015

Chinese Pandas make perfect holiday gifts.

The holiday season approaches and with it comes the annual agony of what to put on your holiday shopping list. A choice that will please most everybody is a gift that features the world’s most popular animal – the Panda. Among the cheery choices for Panda-themed gifts are jewelry and Panda toys. To make the pulse of any child or grownup beat faster, though, give a gleaming gold or silver Panda coin from China. It combines charm and value into one beautiful package. With more than 600 Panda coins minted, the question really is — which ones make great gifts at the best prices? To help reduce stress this holiday season here are some Pandas that shouldn’t bust the budget:

Under $50* Graded NGC MS 69

  • 2014-2016 10 Yuan Silver Pandas. Three coins that are all designed by famed artist Rocky Zhao. There are few coins more charming and each contains one ounce of 99.9% pure silver.

Under $100* Graded NGC MS 69

  • 1996 10 Yuan 1 oz. Silver. One of the few dates of silver Pandas from the 1990s that can still be bought for under $100 in MS 69. It has an interesting history tied to the Asian Market Crash and the turnover of Hong Kong, China in 1997. It is found in Large and Small Date varieties.
  • 1996 5 Yuan ½ oz. Silver. Part of a six year set of 5 Yuan silver Pandas. These have never attracted a great deal of interest, but are lovely and survive in relatively tiny quantities.
  • 1997 5 Yuan ½ oz. Silver. Part of a six year set of 5 Yuan silver Pandas. This coin has very similar attributes to the 1996 Panda in the same series.
  • 1997 5 Yuan ½ oz. Silver Hong Kong International Coin Convention Panda. With a charming design and a small mintage of 30,000, this makes a fine gift now and offers value for the future.
  • 1998 5 Yuan ½ oz. Silver Hong Kong International Coin Convention Panda. Another Panda that has a mintage of only 30,000, but believed to have a surviving population that is just a fraction of that.
  • 2006 10 Yuan 1 oz. Silver. Would you like a woman’s touch in your Panda collection? The beautiful 2006 Panda coin design is the work of a terrific woman artist from Shenyang, China, Ms. Chang Huan. The 2006 year includes many scarce Panda coins.
  • 2007-2010 10 Yuan 1 oz. Silver. This entire run of dates remains in the affordable under $100 range. Their mintages are all under 1 million coins per year.
  • 2013–2016 20 Yuan 1/20 oz. Gold. Older 1/20 oz. Pandas tend to cost more than $100. These have higher mintages and smaller premiums over their intrinsic, or melt, value than earlier years.

The late, great coin collector and dealer Nick Brown had a slogan, “Collect, invest, have fun.” All of the above coins can bring great joy to the special people on your gifting list. All are true Panda coins. They have beauty, charm, and stories that are worth exploring. So give some numismatic excitement for the holidays with Panda coins. And do it with an NGC-graded coin to maximize its beauty and value, now and later.

*All prices are estimates and may vary.

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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