When China releases its Silver Panda coin each year, millions worldwide swarm the market for these official 10 Yuan legal tender silver beauties from the People’s Republic of China. Struck in 30 grams of 99.9% silver and measuring 40 mm in diameter, each features a distinctive reverse design of China’s celebrated and endangered black and white bear, as well as an obverse displaying the Temple of Heaven and the year of issue. Chinese and international collectors eagerly anticipate each issue’s unique one-year-only design – making Silver Pandas one of the most sought-after Chinese precious metal coins since their initial debut in 1983.

A Specialist’s Paradise, a Collector’s Playground

The China Mint first struck the silver panda series in 1983. Since that time, the series has been struck in various silver alloys ranging from 90% pure to the current .999 pure. Silver Pandas have been issued in a variety of finishes over the years, including a standard bullion business strike, as well as proof and satin finishes. Occasionally, there have been a small number of issues featuring mint marks and, for a time, a “P” privy mark to note that the coin is in proof finish. Some colorized coins exist as a subset. There are also large and small date varieties that are identifiable.

Throughout the nearly 40-year history of the series, the China Mint has been very attuned to the marketplace’s needs and likes and dislikes. They have provided us not only with one of the most beloved series in the history of modern collectible global bullion coinage. They have given us sub-sets and specialties enough to enjoy the collecting challenge for a lifetime. The China Silver Panda has been one of the world’s most popular coins for more than thirty years. Remarkably, an old 1949 law prohibited Chinese citizens from owning their own country’s coins. So when that law was finally changed in 2004, millions of China’s prosperous new middle class flooded the market.

Adding millions upon millions of Chinese coin collectors to the global collecting market has created a HUGE surge in demand for every Silver Panda minted – and left buyers worldwide scrambling to get the latest release. With each passing year, acquiring even a small quantity for sale outside of China has become a bigger and bigger challenge. How many Silver Pandas would be available to the rest of the world if all 1,300,000,000 Chinese citizens want their own Silver Panda? You do the math.

The China Panda Series’ Switch to Metric

In 2016 the Silver Panda coins began to be issued in the metric weight of 30 grams, instead of the standard one troy ounce previously used in the series. This change makes perfect sense since China and the rest of the world use the Metric System for most facets of life. Even in doing this, the China Mint made the 2015 issue unique as it was the final issue struck in the 1 oz. size AND it doesn’t feature the weight inscribed on the coin. In 2016, the series transitioned to the 30-gram weight and have been issued in metrics units ever since.

Silver Panda Obverse and Reverse Designs

The unchanging obverse of the series features the Taoist Holy site (and UNESCO World Heritage site), The Hall of Prayer for Abundant Harvests. The site is located in the Forbidden City, located near Beijing. The building has a three-tiered pagoda design with imposing steps leading to the entrance. The subject of the image never changes but is reworked or slightly revised on an infrequent basis. The reverse of the China Silver Panda changes annually. The series signature one-year-only reverse design adds variety and interest for collectors. The one thing that remains constant on the reverse is that China’s Giant Panda is the star. The Giant Panda has been depicted young and as an adult, and by himself or with others. They are often shown in or around OR EATING bamboo trees. The designs are often heartfelt and funny.

Series In a Series

In 2019 the China Mint started a mini-series or “series within a series” that will trace the development of a Chinese Giant Panda cub growing step by step to adulthood. The series is slated to have ten releases and will conclude in 2028.