China had produced a 10-Yuan one-ounce Silver Panda bullion coin in 1995 as a part of a series that began in 1983. The Gold Panda bullion coin series was introduced in 1982. Several coins in varying sizes and denominations were struck in this series. All 10-yuan silver Panda coins struck between the late 1980s and the 2016 issue followed the standard of one troy ounce of .999-fine silver.
Even though there were several design changes over the years, Chinese Touchstones are a constant. The obverse of this coin features the Temple of Heaven, that was built in 1420 in Beijing. The reverse of this coin features a Panda, which is an endangered species and the national animal of China. Only 2000 pandas are found in the wild today. They feed on bamboo majorly in tropical regions.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests at the Temple of Heaven is featured on the obverse of the 1995 1-ounce silver Panda. The hall was built in 1420 and was initially called the Great Hall for Sacrificial Rituals. It was rebuilt in 1545 to take a shape of a round building and was called The Great Hall for Offering Sacrifices. It had a triple-eave roof in blue, yellow and green glazed tiles that denote Heaven, Earth and the mortal world respectively. It was rebuilt again in 1751 with a triple-roofed structure of azure glazed tiles. It was renamed as The Hall of Prayers for Good Harvests. Other inscriptions on the obverse include the year date 1995 and a Chinese text that translates to “People’s Republic of China” in English.
The reverse features a panda in the canopy of a bamboo tree, eating a branch. Other inscriptions in the reverse include the denomination and content .999 1oz Ag. The panda is looking at a stream in a forest. The edge of this coin is reeded.
As there was stagnation of Bullion prices during the mid-1990s, the mintage limit of these coins was restricted to a few numbers. Two die- varieties are found in these coins. Coins struck at Shanghai Mint feature a “Large Twig” design while those struck at Shenyang Mint features a “Small Twig” design. The bamboo branch goes above the panda’s paw on the Large Twig design while it does not in the Small Twig variety. The digits of both varieties also differ.
A total of 170,000 such coins were minted including Uncirculated and Proof versions. The 31.1 g coin is made of 0.999% fine Silver and has a diameter of 40 mm.
Image Courtesy: Shanghai Mint