Chinese Gold Panda 1 oz.
China arguably has one of the oldest economies on earth and a rich heritage of using gold as a currency metal. Today China is still not only one of the largest gold consumers on the planet, they are a very large producer of the yellow precious metal as well, so as China began to trade more freely with other countries, it was only a natural progression for China to offer it’s gold for sale into the international markets and the Chinese Gold Panda was “born” so to speak in 1982.
History and Design
The Panda came to life as a gold coin with .999 purity, and had plenty of room to “grow.” Unlike some of the Chinese Gold Panda's international competition that seldom or never changed the designs of it’s coins, the plan from the outset was to change the design of the furry and lovable black and white bear with each annual minting. This production plan stayed intact until 2001 when it was announced that the Panda Bear image would no longer change annually. Coins produced in 2002 did indeed bare the same Panda Bear image as the year before, but, in response to public outcry that began moments after the initial freeze on new panda likenesses was announced, new panda images began to appear on each successive minting of the coin from 2003 on.
Reverse of the Panda
The other side of the Chinese Gold Panda depicts the “Temple of Heaven” and this image too changes from time to time, but not for the reason you may think. China is a very large country with quite a large population that buys a lot of gold, so as you may expect, they need more than one mint to meet the production demand for these coins. China in fact has at least four mints that produce these gold coins at any given time, and unlike American coins that have a mintmark incorporated into the design to prove origin, the Chinese Mints are allowed to alter the design of the coin slightly to signify production from a particular mint. The 1 Troy ounce coin, which is the largest Chinese Gold Panda produced on an annual basis, is the best specimen for trying to compare differences in the Temple of Heaven images for hints as to which mint produced the coin.