For a bullion coin, the Chinese Gold Panda bullion coin has had a lot of changes since its first year of production, in 1982.
In addition to the expected annual change of the reverse side's panda design, the obverse side has also changed; some changes have been minute, while others have been more noticeable, but, all of them are explained in-depth on this page.
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Reverse Inscriptions - Weight & Purity
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The Chinese Gold Panda bullion coin is a series of gold bullion coins introduced, in 1982, by the People's Republic of China.
The Gold Panda bullion coins were introduced in the following sizes:
The coins are produced with a purity of .999 gold. (ozt. = troy ounce)
In 1983, the 1/20th oz. Chinese Gold bullion coin was added to the series.
The gold panda bullion coins are issued in Proof-like quality with a different panda design each year.
In 2001, the Chinese government decided to stop changing the design every year and thus the 2001 and 2002 Gold Pandas are identical. (see photos in mintage section below)
However, after opposition to the change was voiced by bullion investors and collectors, China quickly changed their policy in 2003 and reverted back to their original policy of a new panda image every year.
When the Chinese Gold Panda Bullion coin series was first introduced, in 1982, the coin was minted at one Chinese mint; the Shanghai Mint.
In 1987, China started to mint the gold bullion coins at another Chinese Mint, the Shenyang Mint.
Mint Marks were inscribed on the gold pandas so buyers could tell where the coin was minted.
An "S" mint-mark indicated the coin was minted at the Shanghai Mint and a "Y" mint-mark indicated it was minted at the Shenyang Mint.
Unfortunately, the mint-marks weren't minted on all the coins.
However, the Chinese mint's inadvertently made the numbers for the coin's year of issue in different sizes, giving holders of these coins another way to decipher where a coin originated.
The photos below show the differences between the large and small dates of the two Chinese mints.
On the left, you can see that the larger, thicker numbers produced by the Shanghai Mint, show some contrast in the spacing and size of the numbers from the Shenyang Mint's Gold Panda bullion coin, on the right.
The sizing difference in the coin's date or 'year of issue' ended in 2001.
The 1982 obverse design of the Gold Panda has the same elements as the current Gold Panda bullion coins, however, the 'field' of the bullion coin's obverse side has changed several times.
The obverse side of the Gold Panda bullion coin displays the 'Temple of Heaven' in the center of the coin, under the temple is the date or the year of issue and above it are the Chinese Symbols for "Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo" meaning "People's Republic of China."
The Temple of Heaven was constructed in the early 15th century, during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also known for building the Forbidden City in Beijing.
To learn more about the Temple of Heaven, click here.
The first design (1982-1991), had the same design on the obverse side of the proof version of the gold panda coin.
The proof versions of the gold coin were minted in smaller numbers than the bullion version and it had a "P" Mint-mark indicating the coin was a Proof.
The Gold Pandas produced from 1992 to 1999 added an outer raised border ring-line to the obverse side; this style lasted until 2000.
Then in 2000, the Chinese 'frosted' the ring around the perimeter of the bullion coin and raised the Chinese Symbols and date.
Since 2001, the current design of the Gold Panda's obverse side incorporates the use of incused lettering, giving the symbols and numbers, of the outer field, a sunken-in or stamped look.
Since the Chinese Government started producing the Gold Panda Bullion coin, in 1982, they had always inscribed, on its reverse side, the coin's weight in troy ounces - '1oz', metal content - 'Au', and purity - '.999.'
In 2015, the reverse inscriptions on the gold and silver panda bullion coins were changed, so much so that the weight, content and purity of the coin were removed completely. (See photo)
The removal of the inscribed information about the coin put many bullion dealers and bullion investors on edge because it made it easier for counterfeiters to reproduce the coin.
Of all the bullion coins produced in the world, the Gold and Silver Chinese panda bullion coins are the most counterfeited.
The removal of the inscriptions made it easier for counterfeiters to reproduce the coin and many in the precious metals industry expressed concern and hope that the inscriptions would return.
Click here, to learn more about how to spot a counterfeit Silver or Gold panda bullion coin.
In late 2014, it was rumored that in 2015 the Chinese were going to change the coins weight from ounces to grams and that the removal of the coin's inscriptions was in preparation for this change.
The coin's weight did not change in 2015, but it was believed that the Chinese would make the change in 2016.
As expected, in 2016, the Chinese Gold Coin Corporation changed the weight of the all their bullion coins from troy ounces to grams.
The 1 oz. Gold Panda bullion coin was changed to the '30gram' Gold Panda.
A troy ounce is equal to 31.10 grams and in the short excerpt, below, the convergence from ounces to grams is easier for those who commonly use the metric system to purchase and or trade the bullion coins.
The following excerpt, taken from a CHNGC article, is about the change from troy ounces to grams...(a translator will be needed if you click the "a CHNGC article" link)
"This version of Panda coins weighing unit all from "ounce" to "G", can be described as a very bold attempt, after all, "ounces" is the common international gold unit of measurement for broader, better integration the global market, "g" changes to foreign investment Jicang's recognition of the fact there are unknown risks"
"But for Chinese people, especially for the non-specialist collection of Chinese people, the order "g" instead of "ounce" is undoubtedly applaud favor."
"Ounce" in the eyes of the Chinese people is a very obscure word, such as 1/3 oz, 1/10 oz 1/20 ounce gold coin actually has multiple, if the value of the market price of gold and silver to calculate what is How much, these people seem very vague, even if the final figure out the relationship between ounces and grams, must have been some complex conversion and calculations in order to obtain results."
It is often said that the Chinese Gold Coin Corporation, the Chinese Government entity that produces all of the country's bullion coins, likes to fulfill the requests of its customers, the weight change for the Panda Bullion Coins is an example of this fulfillment.
The centerpiece on the obverse side of the Chinese Gold Panda bullion coin is the Temple of Heaven, located in Beijing, China.
The Chinese characters across the top of the bullion coin say "Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo" meaning "People's Republic of China."
At the bottom of the Chinese Gold Panda bullion coin is its 'year of issue.'
The Reverse features a different portrait of panda(s) every year, except for 2001 and 2002, these years shared the same reverse design.
The 1 oz. gold coin has the face value of 500 Yuan, this is displayed above the Chinese pandas.
Pre-2015, Chinese Gold Panda bullion coins had inscriptions of its weight in troy ounces - 1oz, content - Au, and purity of .999, along the bottom of the coin, under the pandas.
The Edge of the gold coin is Reeded.
Gold Content..........1 Troy oz.
Face Value:...........100 Yuan - (1982 - 2000)
Face Value:...........500 Yuan - (2001 - Present)
Total Weight:...31.10 grams
Purity:.............99.90% / .9990
As mentioned above, in 2015, the Chinese Government removed the weight inscription from the reverse side of the gold bullion coin.
Although the inscription of the coin's size and weight were removed, in 2015, the bullion coin was minted in the same weight and size as the 2014 gold panda bullion coin.
The only change made to the obverse side of the 30gram Chinese Gold Panda is the 'Year of Issue.'
Displayed in the center of the gold bullion coin is the Temple of Heaven, located in Beijing, China.
Across the top of the bullion coin are these Chinese characters "中 華 人 民 共 和 國" they translate into the "People's Republic of China."
The year of issue is inscribed along the bottom of the gold bullion coin.
The edge of the gold panda coin is Reeded.
The reverse side of the 2018 30 gram Chinese Gold Panda bullion coin shows a Giant Chinese Panda holding some bamboo.
Inscribed along the top of the bullion coin is the coin's weight of "30g" (30gram) , content "Au" (gold) and purity of ".999".
Inscribed under the panda is the 30 gram gold bullion coin's 'Face Value' of '500 Yuan.'
Gold Content..........30 grams (0.9645 troy oz)
Face Value:...........500 Yuan
Purity:.............99.90% / .9990
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