In this Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review, we consider the most important aspects to give a person a solid background to the official bullion gold coin of China.
China prides itself on a long, and complicated history accompanied by complex financial systems and institutions. Some of the earliest coins known today come out of the Orient, with their signature square holes in the center helping with storing coins. When threaded to a string it enabled a person to hang it around his or her neck, keeping it safe.
Over 2700 years of coin production has been attributed to this old economic giant, with its famed Yuanbao gold ingots, produced somewhere around the 3rd century BC, later supplementing large-scale trade.
Coin production in Ancient China differed substantially from the processes used in Europe at the time. Greek coins were initially cut and hammered, and in the 16th century the French brought in milling techniques, while China cast their coins in molds.
In modern times the first bullion gold coin, the Krugerrand was minted in South Africa in 1967. Canada followed in South Africa’s footsteps with the Maple Leaf Gold Coin in 1979. China was third to enter the Gold Bullion coin race in 1982 with its popular Chinese Panda Gold Coin. It is the first gold bullion coin minted with annual changes to the reverse-side designs.
Specifications of the Chinese Panda Gold Coin
The China Gold Coin Incorporation is the official distributor of Gold and Silver Panda coins in China and the only company approved and licensed by the People’s Bank of China responsible for the distribution of the Chinese Panda gold coins.
Panda America with its headquarters in Torrance, California has been assigned in 1982 as the official United States distributor of Panda gold bullion coins.
Lets look at the technical specifications of the 1 oz Panda Gold bullion coin , shall we?
|1 Ounce Chinese Panda Gold Coin||Specifications|
|Mint||– Shanghai Mint Co Ltd (1982-2004)|
– Shenyang Mint Co Ltd (1985-1999, 2003-2004)
– Shenzhen Guobao Mint Co Ltd (1999-2002, 2005 onwards)
|First Year Issued||1982|
|Gold Content||One Troy Ounce|
|Gold Purity (fineness)||99.9|
|Weight||– 31.1035 gram |
– 30 gram (since 2016)
|Edge||Reeded slanted left|
|Legal Tender||¥100 (Yuan) – 1982 – 2000|
¥500 (Yuan) – 2001 onwards.
Backed by the People’s Bank of China with the authority of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
|Obverse Design||– China Mint Company (1982-1986)|
– China Gold Coin Incorporation (1987 onwards)
|Reverse Design||– China Mint Company (1982-1986)|
– China Gold Coin Incorporation (1987 onwards)
The Panda Gold coin’s Features and Appearance
The best-known feature of the coin’s design is the warm heartfelt illustration of the giant panda on the reverse side of the coin. Another trademark feature is that this reverse design changes yearly with the exception of 2001 & 2002. In these years the coin shared the same design.
Unlike their American counterparts, Panda gold coins do not carry mintmarks to identify their origin. We are left with minor variations in the coin’s design that may vary from mint to mint and the date or the style of the temple on the obverse to try and identify its origin.
To better represent the gentle panda bear’s black and white patches a unique engraving method is used in the manufacturing process of the coin. The end result is a coin that diffracts bright and darker shades of gold in an exceptional aesthetic representation of the Panda bear.
2016 – The metric weight system
In 2016 China made another monumental move, replacing the traditional gold weight system of troy ounces with the metric system as the official standard weight system in China. The gold weight of the coins was inscribed and measured in grams. This sets the Panda apart from other gold coins around the world.
The conversion of the Gold Panda coin from 2016 onwards was as follows:
|Gold weight in oz||Metric weight||Diameter||Thickness||Face value|
|0.9645 troy ounce||30 gram||32 mm||2.70 mm||¥500|
|0.4823 troy ounce||15 gram||27 mm||1.85 mm||¥200|
|0.2572 troy ounce||8 gram||22 mm||1.53 mm||¥100|
|0.0965 troy ounce||3 gram||18 mm||1.05 mm||¥50|
|0.0322troy ounce||1 gram||10 mm||0.83 mm||¥20|
Without prolonging it any further let’s delve into the face design of the Gold Panda. In contrast with our style of writing, we start with the reverse design as it is the favorite part of the gold coin among investors and collectors.
Looking and thinking about the reverse designs it is no wonder that the Panda Gold Coin is a celebrated success.
When we think of teddy bears, it evokes loving childhood memories. In my teenage years, my first love offering was a soft teddy bear. Teddy bears are affordable, soft and cute. To put it simply, Teddy Bears melts one’s heart. The Panda looks fuzzy and soft, exactly like a teddy bear.
Panda Bears have the remarkable ability to remain aware and in tune with their surroundings. Pandas do not like chaos and people that work with Pandas remark on their ability to provide calmness, sureness, and positive vibration.
Eastern Cultures regard Panda as a symbol of peace and luck. A harbinger of a coming time of liberating abundance. As a Spirit Animal, the Panda bears a message of equilibrium as it brings all things back in balance. As Totem Animal it belongs to people who solve problems with peace.Source: whatismyspiritanimal.com
It is a wonderful idea to depict the Panda on a coin as a metaphor for abundance. It is not strange that the Panda Gold Coin is a must inclusion in any collection of gold and silver.
Seeing a Panda in its natural environment it is understandable that the design change annually because there are unlimited ways to encapsulate the Panda as a single bear or a loving mother caring for her cub.
The wording of the reverse side has changed over the years
1982 – No English and no face values were inscribed on the very first issues of the Panda coin. The gold purity was expressed as a percentage (%) – 99.9%.
1983 – Recognition to the international market was given by adding “AU 1 oz” at the top curve of the coin. Confidence was installed to the market by adding a face value to all sizes of the coin. At the bottom curve of the 1 oz gold coin ¥ 100 was inscribed.
1984 – A slight change was introduced to the top right-hand curve English characters of the coin with the “1 oz AU”. The gold purity was expressed as .999 and not 99.9 % anymore.
1992 – The Chinese designers made a bold move by removal of the Hanzi reference to gold content and replacing it in totality with English writing. This is perhaps indicative of China rising internationally as an economic powerhouse of global consequence.
2001 – The face value of the 1 oz gold coin increases from ¥100 to ¥500.
2016 – Grams replaced the age old Troy ounces on the face of the coins.
The table below illustrate the dearly loved Panda Gold Coin reverse designs from 1982 to today.
|1982||Panda sitting and holding bamboo.|
|1983||Panda walking in a grove of bamboo.|
|1984||Panda reclining and eating bamboo.|
|1985||Panda swinging on bamboo.|
|1986||Panda walking in a grove of bamboo.|
|1987||Panda drinking water from a pond in a grove of bamboo.|
|1988||Panda sitting and holding bamboo.|
|1989||Panda half-reclining and eating bamboo.|
|1990||Panda on a rock near bamboo.|
|1991||Panda sitting and eating bamboo.|
|1992||Panda on a branch of a tree.|
|1993||Panda on a rock looking at bamboo.|
|1994||Panda sitting and eating bamboo.|
|1995||Panda upright holding bamboo.|
|1996||Panda clinging to a tree.|
|1997||Panda in a fork of a tree.|
|1998||Panda reclining on a rock.|
|1999||Panda on a rock looking down.|
|2000||Panda sitting and holding bamboo.|
|Panda walking through bamboo.|
|2003||Panda on the ground eating bamboo.|
|2004||Panda mother and cub nuzzling each other.|
|2005||Panda mother sitting and cub standing nearby.|
|2006||Panda couple sitting and eating bamboo.|
|2007||Panda mother and cub sitting and eating bamboo.|
|2008||Panda mother and cub playing.|
|2009||Panda couple sitting and facing each other.|
|2010||Panda leaning against another panda.|
|2011||Panda mother close to her cub.|
|2012||Panda mother sitting beside her cub.|
|2013||Three Pandas drinking water.|
|2014||Panda playing with a tree branch.|
|2015||Panda sitting and eating bamboo.|
|2016||Panda holding a tree trunk.|
|2017||Panda sitting and holding bamboo.|
|2018||Panda face closeup with bamboo in hand.|
|2019||Panda mother holding a cub in front of a mountain range.|
|2020||Panda cub lying with bamboo in hand.|
|2021||Mother Panda and her playful cub as he explores his tree-climbing|
The Temple of Heaven in Beijing also known as the harvesting hall with its triple-gabled circular building, built on thee levels of marble stone is the motif on the obverse side of the coin. The temple was built for the ceremonies and prayers for a good harvest. Construction of the temple complex was done in the period 1407 to 1420. This obverse design was only changed once over the years. The first design 1982 – 1991
The second design from 1992 onwards depicted the Temple of Heaven enclosed with an inner circle.
the inscription of “People’s Republic of China” in Chinese
The Gold Panda coin ranges
From the smallest bullion gold coins in the world, created by the biggest nation on the planet, you are spoiled for choice that might suit any budget.
The smallest bullion coin ever produced the 1 gram Panda was only issued in 1991. China is also the only country that issues a ¹/20 oz gold bullion coin.
- 1 oz (30 gram)
- ½ oz (15 gram)
- ¼ oz (8 gram)
- ¹/10 oz (3 gram)
- ¹/20 oz (1.5 gram)
- 1 gram bullion coin (1991 only)
In this section, I am going to only point to a few items within the special releases applicable to the Gold Panda coin. The Chinese mint issued special releases since 2015 for the collectors who want to go another step beyond the annual bullion series. The Moon Festival Panda series being issued in 2015 is known for its beauty and low mintages, making it a sought-after item.
The 2017 release features a special holographic finish, and the debut version highlighted space-flown gold insets.
2019 Showcased yet another spark of ingenuity from the Chinese Mint with its brilliant design drawing inspiration from the blood moon. The integrated red jade into the reverse design, adding to it a ‘bloody’ eerie effect. This series is also available in a variety of sizes ranging from 1 oz to 1 kilogram.
As with any product that can be bought online there are some pros and cons that need to be considered before buying it. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Chinese Panda Gold Coin.
The Pros of the Chinese Panda Gold Coin
There are many pros to the Gold Panda coin. I have highlighted the 10 most important pros in my view.
1. Unique Designs that changes yearly
In my opinion, one of the strongest features of this bullion coin is the yearly changes that are made to the reverse design. This is a unique feature of the Chinese Mint, which is why the gold Panda is sought after by collectors. When they tried to issue a duplicate of the 2001 designs in 2002, the mint was met with strong opposition and criticism which led to the continuation of the annual design changes.
2. Promoted worldwide
There is this notion of China to expand and promote Chinese culture worldwide. China actively pursues the international distribution of its coins and it has authorized distributors that are located in major gold markets and distribution centers worldwide. The Gold Panda is available in many countries.
3. A leading manufacturer of precious metals
China is the world’s biggest gold producer since 2007 and it has established itself as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of precious metal coins. They bring quality coins to the market and they know their business. The Panda coins are also available in silver, platinum and palladium.
4. Legal Tender and VAT exempt
The Gold Panda coin is backed by the Chinese government. Speculations are that the Chinese government has the biggest gold reserve in the world, so you know that they are financially sound to back their flagship bullion gold coin.
By being exempt from the 17% Value Added Tax private investors can obtain gold at lower premiums above the gold spot price
5. High quality 99.9% gold purity
Chinese collectors and investors prefer gold fineness of 99.9% instead of the 91.67% purity of the Krugerrand and the American Gold Eagle. These coins are packaged in protective capsules for protection against scratches and dents that 24 Karat gold is known for.
6. Low mintages
The Chinese Gold Panda coin is issued at lower mintages than most modern gold coins which makes it ideal for coin collecting.
7. High Market Price
These coins trade at higher prices than other bullion coins which can be described as “panda mania”.
The technique of frosting a coin design is normally only reserved for low mintage numismatic coins and special releases. The frosting is achieved by multiple striking of the coins. Well, since 1995 the Chinese Mint used the frosting process to manufacture their Panda bullion gold coins. Manufactured at a higher standard than other bullion coins they are comparable to the “brilliant uncirculated” grade produced by many mints.
All the different sizes from the one ounce coin to the tiny one gram coin makes the Gold Panda one of the most versatile coins on the planet.
The 1 oz coin bullion coin is not only used for stacking but is also a favorite with the smaller varieties of the coin among jewelers for the design and manufacturing of necklaces, pendants, earrings and bracelets.
10. Increase in value
We already know that there is only a limited supply of gold Panda coins issued each year. These coins are sought after commodities in China as well as overseas. These coins have the ability to grow in value over time. Not only does its premium above spot grow as demand soar, but it also moves upwards with the gold spot price.
The Cons of the Chinese Panda Gold Coin
There are not many cons when buying this premier gold bullion coin. The most important ones are:
Due to the fact that there are no mint marks as they are produced by several Mints throughout China, it is difficult to determine their authenticity.
The coins that are manufactured by the different mints result in minor deviations which make the coin ideal for counterfeiting.
2. Security features
In line with the previous point, these coins have far fewer security features than the Canadian Maple Leaf Gold coin who is the leading coin in terms of security features, or even the Gold Britannia coin from the Royal Mint. Even for experts, it is difficult to detect counterfeit Gold Panda coins.
Buyers should take extra caution when buying these coins and stick to reputable dealers and distributors.
These coins with their high purity gold levels are soft and prone to damages and scratches. If you ever come across a Gold Panda coin leave it in its original packaging as the coin’s value drops drastically when its packaging has been opened, similar to a numismatic coin.
The Gold Panda coin is not automatically accepted for being eligible for the tax-efficient IRA plan. First, enquire from the experts like Regal Assets before buying it for that purpose.
In 2007 China took the lead in the production of gold and has ever since stayed at the top. Being the second strongest economy in the world is nothing to scoff at. China has more than enough wealth and expertise to extract its abundance of precious metal, and strike a plethora of gold bullions, unique to each year.
The Gold Panda has proven its worth over the past nearly 30 years and it seems like it’s not going to stop anytime soon. As more countries flock to the Chinese economy for trade and financial aid the growth of its investments seems imminent. These coins may remain a stable investment in the years to come and is a great addition to investing and collecting gold.
With the Chinese Gold Panda Coin Review, we have done thorough research to spare the inquisitive buyer and the reader the time of embarking on multiple searches to gain an understanding of one of the top bullion coins in the world.
Everybody has their favorite Panda coin design. I would love to know which is yours? Please leave your comment below of your favorite Panda coin design.