Any collector would have a hard time overlooking the majestic Chinese Silver Panda. Each piece depicts the adorable national animal, making it easy to see the aesthetic appeal for investors. But many collectors still wonder if Chinese Silver Panda coins are a good investment.
Chinese Silver Pandas are a good investment. The high purity level of the bullion coins, alongside the spot price of silver, makes these coins appealing to investors. Considering the coin’s history, impressive artwork and high collectible value, it is clear why there is such demand.
Yet it is worth considering all other aspects of the coin before making that final decision to invest. Read on to learn more about the history of the Chinese Silver Panda, the mintage specifications, and what other coins to which you can compare Chinese Silver Pandas.
The History Of The Chinese Silver Panda
The first Chinese Silver Panda coin was issued in 1983, at a proof mintage of 10,000. Since then, the coins have been produced at an (almost) annual rate, with varying quantities of mintage, and a huge range of different designs. In recent years, over 10,000,000 coins have been minted annually.
Chinese Silver Pandas are minted in different sizes and denominations. The most common Chinese Silver Panda coins have a mass of 30g, and are struck from an impressive 999 fine silver. They are 40mm in diameter and have a thickness of just below 3mm.
A Question Of Mass
An interesting and important historic event in the timeline of the Chinese Silver Pandas occurred in 2016, when the Pandas switched to using metric sizes, from ounces to grams. The most common coin, weighing 1 troy ounce, was reduced to 30 grams.
This change is notable on the coins themselves, as the weight specifications have not been inscribed on each coin since 2015.
This fact is worth noting when considering the Chinese Silver Pandas, particularly for investors who record their portfolio in ounces. This reason may provide a drawback for some, so do take this into account.
Where Are Chinese Silver Pandas Minted?
There are actually various mints across the People’s Republic of China which have minted the Chinese Silver Pandas. However, it is not often possible to determine the origin of each individual coin as the mints do not usually use mintmarks, yet some slight design variations have been noted on recent issues.
The mints which produce the Chinese Silver Pandas include Shanghai, Shenyang, and Shenzhen. Each uses their own styles and techniques to produce the coins, which is what sometimes leads to variations.
Are Chinese Silver Panda Coins Legal Tender?
Chinese Silver Panda coins are considered legal tender. However, you will rarely find anyone actually using them to purchase goods at face value. In reality, it is difficult to prove the authenticity of these coins without official certification or by weighing them. Yet, technically, if the owner had a legitimate Silver Panda and wanted to spend it, they could, and it would be perfectly legal.
Your next question may be ‘what is the face value of a Chinese Silver Panda?’, and this is where it gets interesting. The value of Silver Pandas actually varies, and it is all dependent on their weight. We have already discussed how different sizes of the coins are printed annually, so what is the face value of each one?
As expected, the face value for each coin increases to match their size. The largest, a 1-kilogram Panda, has a face value of 300 yuan (around $45 USD). From there, the 12 troy ounce coin is valued at 100 yuan, and the 5 troy ounce/150g coins are 50 yuan each.
The most common specification is the 1 troy ounce/30g coin, which is valued at 10 yuan (around $1.50 USD). Below this, the ½ troy ounce has a face value of 5 yuan, and the smallest coin – ¼ troy ounce – has a value of 3 yuan.
Although this means Chinese Silver Pandas will always hold some nominal worth, the relatively meagre face value of the coins alone would not be a worthwhile reason for investment. However, as with most collectible coins, there is more than just financial value to be found in Chinese Silver Pandas.
Chinese Silver Panda Design
The Obverse Side Of The Coin
The obverse of the Chinese Silver Panda coins shows a detailed depiction of The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.
This iconic and beautiful structure is situated in the Temple of Heaven imperial complex,located in southern Beijing. The largest out of all the religious buildings on this complex, The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a stunning, circular, triple-gabled structure, which looks amazing etched in silver on the bullion coin.
Curved along the top of the coin is the inscription ‘中华人民共和国’, which translates from Chinese characters as ‘The People’s Republic of China’. The coin’s date of issue is inscribed along the bottom, below the image.
The Reverse Side Of The Coin
The reverse side of the Chinese Silver Panda coins depict – you guessed it – a giant panda. The unique aspect of this image, however, is that it changes every year for each coin release,meaning a collection of the coins would provide a whole gallery of panda portraits.
The annual variation in coin design dramatically increases the collectible value of these coins, as it is not only the year of issue inscription which sets them apart from every other release. The only exceptions to this are coins from the years 2001 and 2002, which have the same design of a panda peering around a cluster of bamboo.
Other designs feature pandas in groups, munching on bamboo stalks, sprawling on rocks, mother and baby duos, and portraits of the bears getting up to other mischievous activities.
The face value of the coin is also listed on the reverse side of the coin,usually overlapping the main picture. Prior to 2015, the coins also featured a notation of the coin’s weight and purity values. However, since 2015 these measurements have ceased to be included.
Each year, a ceremony is held in dedication to the unveiling of the next year’s Panda design. Usually, this is held in Beijing or Shenzhen, and is attended by officials, media representatives and news reporters. The edging of the Chinese Silver Pandas is reeded, being slanted to the left.
Telling A Story Through Panda Coins
A beautiful fact about the designs of these coins in recent years is that they have reportedly been created specifically to tell a story. Starting with the 2019 Silver Panda, which depicted a baby panda in the arms of its mother, the following ten years will be a series showing the growth of the panda and the power of the maternal bond.
At the time of writing, we are on the third coin of this series, and look forward to seeing how the images progress.
Special And Commemorative Editions
Similar to many other annual coin series’, the Chinese Silver Pandas have seen many commemorative editions issued through the years. However, unlike other coin releases which may celebrate holidays, charities or other special events, most of the events celebrated by the Silver Pandas are in relation to banking or other national numismatic anniversaries.
For instance, annual releases of 30,000 coins in commemoration of the Beijing Stamp and Coin Expo were issued throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Special anniversaries of national banks are also celebrated, such as the 100th anniversary of the Bank of China in 2012, or the 50th anniversary of the China Construction Bank in 2004.
Commemorative issues are often marked with a privy mark on their reverse, or extra wording to specifically recognize the event they are honoring. Often, these editions are considered more valuable than the ‘regular’ annual Silver Panda releases, due to their limited supply and link with a notable event.
The Value Of A Chinese Silver Panda
We have already discussed the face value of the Chinese Silver Panda coins, but what about their intrinsic value? Although their silver value makes up the majority of their worth, it is important to also consider how the Pandas place in terms of collectible value as well.
It is undeniable that the annual design changes of the Chinese Silver Panda make them highly sought-after by collectors. In fact, the Chinese mint was the first to start changing their coin design each year. Having the designs only minted once leads to an increased demand.
After all, who can resist the adorable panda? It is partly this supply and demand chain which gives these bullion coins their intrinsic value, putting them not only on a collector’s radar, but also an investor’s.
According to PCGS, the highest-priced Panda is a 1983 proof, worth $16,430. The highest-priced non-proof is valued over $3,000.
Of course, it is the spot price of silver which gives these bullion coins their value, and this is ever-changing. Because of this, it is hard to put a generalized price on a Chinese Silver Panda. However, silver is consistently considered a worthwhile precious metal to invest in, with a proven history of increasing in price over time.
A portfolio of investments in precious metals would provide investors with good insurance against inflation or fluctuation on their investments.Furthermore, silver is usually a more affordable precious metal than the alternatives of gold, platinum, etc.
Silver Pandas vs Gold Pandas
Although this article is primarily examining the investment value of the Chinese Silver Pandas, we would be unjust in failing to mention their golden counterparts, which also present an exciting investment opportunity.
Following the same design and similar mintage patterns as the Chinese Silver Pandas are the Chinese Gold Pandas. Equally as stunning and minted from 99.9% fine gold, the Gold Pandas are also highly collectible and as valued amongst investors as their silver counterparts.
The main differences between the Gold and Silver Pandas would primarily be their face value, which is considerably higher for the gold coins. A 1 troy ounce Gold Panda currently has a face value of 500 yuan (formerly 100 yuan, prior to 2001), fifty times higher than the Silver Panda. It’s also interesting to note that the Gold Pandas have been produced for slightly longer, first issued in 1982.
It’s the affordability and availability that make Silver Pandas a more worthwhile investment that Gold Pandas. However, this does all come down to preference and, if gold bullion coins are more interesting to you, we would definitely recommend Chinese Pandas Gold as a unique, valuable and appealing choice.
Where To Purchase Chinese Silver Panda Coins
In China, the China Gold Coin Incorporation (CGCI) is the official distributor of Silver Pandas. Singularly, the coins come sealed for protection in individual coin capsules, with sheets or boxes available for orders of larger quantities. As expected, each coin is sold in brilliant, shining, uncirculated condition.
However, there are options when it comes to finding the best source from which to purchase your coins. Chinese Silver Panda coins are in demand across the globe, so even if you are not making your purchase within China, there are plenty of dealers worldwide.
As with all numismatic investments, you should shop around to make sure you are paying the right price. Plus, examining the prices at which different vendors are listing the coins will provide a good ballpark figure of how much you can expect your coins to be worth in the future.
Online marketplace sites like eBay provide a good starting point for comparing and researching prices, and many official coin sellers will have stores on these websites, too. You may also use online, coin-specific comparison websites to check prices, before deciding from which official vendor to make your purchase.
Other National Silver Bullions Comparable To The Chinese Panda
Many nations’ mints issue annual silver bullion coin releases, each as collectible and impressive as the Chinese Silver Panda. Below are just a few of some noteworthy and comparable series which you might be interested in.
Australian Silver Koalas
Carrying on with the ‘bear’ theme (although actually a marsupial), let’s take a look at the Australian Silver Koala coins. Just as adorable as the Chinese Silver Pandas, the reverse side of each coin depicts an adorable Koala, with the obverse featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
Just like the Chinese Pandas, the Australian Koala coins change their design yearly. So, some years will depict a group of koalas, or a koala clinging to a tree. Arguably the cutest of all, the koala has also been depicted on the coin chewing a bamboo stalk, just like the pandas.
The Australian Silver Koalas were first minted in 2007, making them a much more recent series of coins.
Canadian Silver Maple Leafs
Featuring the iconic design of a maple leaf, these Canadian bullion coin releases are regarded as one of the most sought-after coins for investors. With a huge 999.9 silver purity, they are one of the purest silver coins in the world. But they do not have the appeal of an annually changing face design, for which the Chinese Silver Pandas are famed.
What Canadian Maple Leafs do have, however, is an impressive index of special editions, including a series in commemoration of the Chinese Zodiac. This Zodiac series ran for a whole decade from 1998-2009 and restarted again in 2012. Each year of the zodiac is symbolized on the special edition coins by a privy mark.
In conclusion, it is definitely worth investing in Chinese Silver Pandas, and not just for their adorable designs! Although their change in measurement units may be a slight drawback for some, the variation in the coins’ designs has an undeniable appeal. Combining this with their high silver purity level, Chinese Silver Panda coins are definitely a good investment.