Peter Anthony: The 1987 gold 50 Yuan 1/2 oz. Panda Proof is the second five-piece proof set in the Panda series. It was struck at the Shenyang Mint. Each of the 10,000 sets minted contained the five 1/20 through 1 oz. gold Pandas. The proof versions can easily be distinguished from the B.U. coins. Instead of a mintmark there is a small P located to the right and slightly above the Yuan character. An outstanding feature of the coins is the design by master artist Chen Jian, who also was the artist for the original 1982 Pandas. Noteworthy is the illusion of water created by using only a few simple lines. The same design appears on the 1987 B.U. Pandas and the 100 Yuan Proof Platinum Panda.
Although the proof sets were initially popular over the years a strong secondary market never developed and the price dropped to near the level of the B.U. coins. Some sets were even melted for their gold content. A moderate number of coins have been certified with most of those earning a PF-69 grade.
The 1987 1/2 oz. gold Panda is part of the "Gold 1/2 Ounce Panda, 1983-Date, Mint State and Proof." NGC Registry set.