Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review

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

Chinese Panda gold coin review 2021 China Gold Con Incorporation logo

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 CoinSpecifications
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 Issued1982
Gold ContentOne Troy Ounce
Gold Purity (fineness)99.9
Weight– 31.1035 gram
– 30 gram (since 2016)
Diameter32 mm
Thickness2.70 mm
EdgeReeded 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)
IRA AccountEligible

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 ozMetric weightDiameter ThicknessFace value
0.9645 troy ounce30 gram32 mm2.70 mm¥500
0.4823 troy ounce15 gram27 mm1.85 mm¥200
0.2572 troy ounce8 gram 22 mm1.53 mm¥100
0.0965 troy ounce3 gram 18 mm1.05 mm¥50
0.0322troy ounce1 gram 10 mm0.83 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.

The Reverse

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.

Chinese Gold Panda Review Mother Panda and cub playing

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.


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

1982No 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.

Reverse Design YearDescription
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1982 Reverse Design1982Panda sitting and holding bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1983 Reverse Design1983Panda walking in a grove of bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1984 Reverse Design1984Panda reclining and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1985 Reverse Design1985Panda swinging on bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1986 Reverse Design1986Panda walking in a grove of bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1987 Reverse Design1987Panda drinking water from a pond in a grove of bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1988 Reverse Design1988Panda sitting and holding bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1989 Reverse Design1989Panda half-reclining and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1990 Reverse Design1990Panda on a rock near bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1991 Reverse Design1991Panda sitting and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1992 Reverse Design1992Panda on a branch of a tree.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1993 Reverse Design1993Panda on a rock looking at bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1994 Reverse Design1994Panda sitting and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1995 Reverse Design1995Panda upright holding bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1996 Reverse Design1996Panda clinging to a tree.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1997 Reverse Design1997Panda in a fork of a tree.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1998 Reverse Design1998Panda reclining on a rock.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 1999 Reverse Design1999Panda on a rock looking down.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2000 Reverse Design2000Panda sitting and holding bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2001 Reverse Design2001
Panda walking through bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2003 Reverse Design2003Panda on the ground eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2004 Reverse Design2004Panda mother and cub nuzzling each other.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2005 Reverse Design2005Panda mother sitting and cub standing nearby.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2006 Reverse Design2006Panda couple sitting and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2007 Reverse Design2007Panda mother and cub sitting and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2008 Reverse Design2008Panda mother and cub playing.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2009 Reverse Design2009Panda couple sitting and facing each other.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2010 Reverse Design2010Panda leaning against another panda.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2011 Reverse Design2011Panda mother close to her cub.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2012 Reverse Design2012Panda mother sitting beside her cub.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2013 Reverse Design2013Three Pandas drinking water.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2014 Reverse Design2014Panda playing with a tree branch.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2015 Reverse Design2015Panda sitting and eating bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2016 Reverse Design2016Panda holding a tree trunk.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2017 Reverse Design2017Panda sitting and holding bamboo.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2018 Reverse Design2018Panda face closeup with bamboo in hand.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2019 Reverse Design2019Panda mother holding a cub in front of a mountain range.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2020 Reverse Design2020Panda cub lying with bamboo in hand.
Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review 2021 Reverse Design2021Mother Panda and her playful cub as he explores his tree-climbing
Images Sources: Bullion Exchanges, Pinterest, NGC, Atkinsons Bullion, Apmex

The Obverse

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 Temple of Heaven 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)

Special releases

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.

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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”.

8. Frosting

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.

9. Versatility

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:

1. Authenticity

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.

3. Vulnerability

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.

4. IRA eligibility

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.

Final thoughts

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.

9 thoughts on “Chinese Panda Gold Coin Review”

  1. To own such a unique, and dare I say cute coin, would add to any collection. The low number of coins minted also adds to it having to be included in one’s collection.

    • The frosting technique which gives the coin a true image of the Panda as described in my Chinese Gold Panda Review is simply put brilliant! We can’t argue against the cuteness factor when looking at these coins. Given the amount of work, it takes to produce such a beaut is worth the extra premium for sure Jenny.

  2. Hello there! I really like the design of the coin! I wish currencies in all countries could be designed more like this with pandas and other animals. It would make collecting coins more fun. I definitely see China as a place where many look towards to trade with. I look forward to seeing how much the worth of these coins grows in the next few years. Thanks for this informative post!

  3. Coins collection is a nice hobby to have and to be able to gather rare and strange designs makes the whole process even more interesting. I had never heard of these panda coins but they look cute, interesting and very nice. I will look into them more and see if I can find some. Thank you for the heads up!

  4. Interesting website. I’ve actually never knew what a Chinese Panda Coin was until now. I didn’t know in Eastern cultures they regard Pandas as a symbol of peace. I really do like the uniqueness and details of the coins they look absolutely stunning. If I had known about these from a long time ago I would highly consider collecting them.

    • Well, fortunately, it is still not too late to protect your wealth and exposure to weakening currencies by buying “hard” assets like precious metals or “Digital” assets like Bitcoin.  

  5. I used to work for the bullion company and I have to say that the Panda is always very popular, people keep asking for them in any other medals. I think investing in precious medals is the best way as you said that the value will only just increases. Also if you interest in any other coin, American Eagle is very easy to move or if you just want the medals you can just invest in bullions as well.  Palladium is also something that people invest as well. 


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