Chinese Pandas: 2017 Pandas Take the Stage

The 2017 Panda coins share the same basic design by Nanjing Mint artist Cheng Chao: a jovial panda sitting in front of a bamboo forest.

Where do Panda coins come from? On a cold November day, I walk into an already darkened auditorium in Beijing. This is the Panda event at the Beijing International Coin Expo and today it is where the 2017 Pandas will meet the world.

The event actually takes place at a hotel across the street from the China National Convention Center, the site of the expo. There is a passageway between the two buildings, but good luck finding it without a guide. The room is already filled with several hundred people when I arrive. Roving beams of magenta light pierce the shadows. Near the doorway I notice several people seated at a table. They are intent on their work—a potter, a paper-cutter and a painter. I pass them by and slip around toward the front of the audience to take photos.

On stage a quintet of graceful young musicians play traditional Chinese music. The crafts and the music underline that these coins are rooted in the culture of China. A new film touches on this theme too. It shows Pandas in their natural habitat and how they are an inspiration for art. It follows the design and production process and displays the full range of 2017 Pandas. All the coins share the same basic design by Nanjing Mint artist Cheng Chao: a jovial Panda sitting in front of a bamboo forest.

2017 Panda Event in Beijing

The popularity of Panda coins expands each year, especially in China where they are sold through bank branches. 2017 mintages are either equal to or higher than the previous year’s.

10 Yuan, 1 gram gold, Mint State quality, mintage 1,000,000 coins
50 Yuan, 3 grams gold, Mint State quality, mintage 800,000 coins
100 Yuan, 8 grams gold, Mint State quality, mintage 600,000 coins
200 Yuan, 15 grams gold, Mint State quality, mintage 600,000 coins
500 Yuan, 30 grams gold, Mint State quality, mintage 700,000 coins
800 Yuan, 50 grams gold, Proof quality, mintage 20,000 coins
1500 Yuan, 100 grams gold, Proof quality, mintage 20,000 coins
2000 Yuan, 150 grams gold, Proof quality, mintage 5,000 coins
10000 Yuan, 1,000 grams (1 kg) gold, Proof quality, mintage 500 coins
10 Yuan, 30 grams silver, Mint State quality, mintage 10,000,000 coins
50 Yuan, 150 grams silver, Proof quality, mintage 60,000 coins
300 Yuan, 1,000 grams (1 kg) silver, Proof quality, mintage 20,000 coins

Perhaps the most exciting moment for the audience arrives: a drawing. Ten lucky guests receive a 2017 silver Panda along with a beautiful Panda paper cut in a presentation box. One of my friends wins! Afterward I join a crowd around her and admire the prizes. Her new silver Panda gleams as it reflects the spotlights.

From this moment on the 2017 Panda coins are officially released. The initial shipments are for the Mint State gold coins and the 30 gram Mint State silver Panda. In the following months, the Proof coins will become available. If last year is any indication, the new Pandas will sell out in a few months. That is on its way to becoming a new tradition.

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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