Peter Anthony: The 15 gram silver Lunar set is widely collected and very popular. The 1981 30 Yuan 15 gram silver Rooster is the first coin in a 12-year cycle of silver Lunar coins that runs from 1981 to 1992. It is also the very first Chinese silver Lunar coin of the modern era. It was released in January of 1981 before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. It is Proof in quality.
The dynamic design on the reverse side is based on a painting of a rooster posed on a rock outcropping by the renowned Chinese artist Xu Beihong (1895-1956). On the obverse is an image the White Pagoda in Beijing’s Imperial Beihai Park. The park’s history goes back more than 800 years. It was used as a garden by five dynasties during that time span. It makes a very fitting subject for this important coin.
This coin is typically found with well frosted devices and deep mirror fields. Unfortunately many of these early Lunar coins have been mishandled and/or suffered from environmental damage and are now hazy or impaired in other ways. Some have been “rescued” by treatment at NCS but Lunar coins like the 1981 Rooster are challenges to find in high grades. Prices for Proof 69 examples are usually well above the lower grades
In the NGC Registry the 1981 30 Yuan 15 gram silver Rooster is part of the “Silver 15 gram (10Y), Series I, 1981-1992, Proof” set.