The Chinese Silver Panda is a fun series of coins to collect and invest in because of their vast difference from year to year. The coins are produced by several Chinese mints over the years, including mints in Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Shenyang. Chinese Silver Pandas celebrate and commemorate one of China’s most popular and loved symbols, the panda, and have been a captivating collection of coins for over 30 years.
Chinese Silver Panda History
China first began minting its Chinese Silver Panda coins in 1983. They have been minted every year since, except for 1986 and 1988. Because of the loveable imagery and varying designs released each minting year, these coins have been eagerly collected since they were introduced. Investors also appreciate their silver fineness level, and see that as an advantage to investing in Chinese Silver Pandas, in addition to their consumer market demand.
Chinese Silver Panda Design and Specifications
One of the most alluring aspects of Chinese Silver Pandas is that the coin’s design, size, and denomination changes from year to year. The obverse (front) side of the coin always features the Temple of Heaven, a historic set of buildings in Beijing, originally constructed in the early 1400s. The temple is a spectacular architectural accomplishment, and a symbol of pride for China. The obverse side of the Chinese Silver Panda coin also has “People’s Republic of China” written in Chinese characters, as well as the minting year. Some versions of the Chinese Silver Panda are commemorative coins; those will have the commemorative theme included in the obverse as well. Other than a commemorative theme and the year, the obverse side of the Chinese Silver Panda coins does not change.
The reverse (back) side of Chinese Silver Panda coins is where things really begin to get fun. Each version always depicts a Panda. People all over the world love Pandas because of their innocence, temperament, coloring, and natural demeanor. Quite simply, they look like large, living teddy bears (though we do not recommend trying to cuddle with one). In some years on Chinese Silver Panda coins, the Panda was portrayed caring for its young. Other years show the Panda playing, chewing on bamboo, or simply sitting and looking cute.
Other design elements on the reverse side change frequently as well. For example, the coin’s face value is shown on different locations on the reverse side throughout the series. It is typically worked into the Panda design, so as the animal’s placement changes, so does the placement of the coin’s face value.
In addition to the design, Chinese Silver Panda coins also vary in size and denomination from year to year. The diameter on the coin was 38.6 millimeters for the first 3 years, and 40 millimeters each year since. The coin’s weight has progressed from 27 grams to 31.1 grams, and finally to 31.235 grams in more recent years. The denominations have ranged from 0.5 troy ounces to 1 kilogram, though most versions contain 1 ounce of fine silver.
Given the wide variety of design aspects and other annual changes to the coin, it’s no wonder that so many people seek this coin out each year, and try to complete the collection with older versions.
Chinese Silver Panda Purity and Value
Chinese Silver Panda coins are also known for their pure and fine silver. Beginning with the first few coins in the early 1980s, the fineness level was .900, or 90.0% pure silver. In 1987, that improved to .925, or 92.5% pure silver. Beginning in 1989 and lasting through the most recent releases, the coin’s fineness level has been .999, or 99.9% fine silver. This is a very high score, with only a small percentage of other silver coins minted around the world able to boast a higher silver purity and content. So aside from its appealing design, the coin has a strong silver content, another factor in the appeal for the series.
Many factors play into the value of your Chines Silver Panda coins. If you have a one ounce coin, as most are, then a good place to start is by checking on the latest price per ounce of silver. For example, if silver is currently priced at $20 per ounce, then your one ounce Chinese Silver Panda can be valued at approximately $20. However, a number of other aspects can increase or decrease the value of your coin. Silver’s trending, as well as projections and market demand, all impact the value of your Chinese Silver Panda (and other silver products). Also, your coin’s condition can impact its monetary value (ITM Trading sends your orders in mint and uncirculated condition).
Lastly, the year your coin was minted plays a part in its value. Older versions of Chinese Silver Pandas are rarer, and thus, are likely more valuable. Also, if you have a coin from a particular year, it may be more valuable to a buyer looking to complete a collection. That buyer may be willing to pay much more than the actual value of the coin in order to complete his or her collection.
Over the years, the number of Chinese Silver Pandas produced has generally increased. In 1983, 1984, and 1985, only 10,000 proofs were created each year. That number jumped to 31,000 in 1987; though remember that none were produced in 1986 or 1988. In 1989, the coin distribution took a large leap forward, with 250,000 bulk uncirculated Chinese Silver Pandas produced. However, that number began to fall over the years: 200,000 in 1990; 100,000 in 1991 and again in 1992; 120,000 in 1993; and 120,000 again in 1994. The bulk uncirculated coin volume hit a low in 1997, with 50,000 produced, then jumped back to 100,000 in 1998, but climbed to 500,000 in 2001 and 2002.
Production increased again in 2003, when the bulk uncirculated number climbed to 600,000 and remained at that level until 2010, when the number jumped again to 1,500,000. The coin really caught on in 2011, when 3,000,000 were scheduled for production but 6,000,000 were actually produced, and jumped again in 2012, 2013, and 2014, with each of those years contributing 8,000,000 bulk uncirculated Chinese Silver Pandas. Clearly, the demand has caught on in recent years.
In addition to our Chinese Silver Panda coins, we also offer a variety of Chinese Gold Panda coins that share similar traits and features. We encourage you to browse our Chinese Panda coins and see why these loveable products are so popular!