Chinese lunar coins

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In 1979, China began minting commemorative modern coins. In 1981, China began minting coins to commemorate the Chinese New Year. Typically the obverse features a historical building while the reverse features the lunar animal reproduced from historical Chinese drawings or paintings.

Here is a chart showing date, mintage, and sizes of all Chinese lunar coins minted since 1982.

1981–1992 (1st Lunar Series)[edit]

The size, mintage, metal content, and even face value changed throughout the first series. This is a reflection of China's gradual adoption of the ounce over the metric gram in line with international bullion standards and China's improving economic conditions and technological advances.

From 1981 to 1987 the obverse and reverse of the 8 g gold coin were the same as that of the 15 g silver coin. The exception being in 1985 when the reverse differed. 1987 seems to be special: (1) both the 5 oz. silver lunar coin and the 5 oz. silver panda coin were debuted, (2) the 5 oz. silver lunar coin was the first of the series to be over 99% pure silver, and (3) the 5 oz. silver coin had a face value of 50 yuan even though it contained over 10 times as much silver as the 15 g silver coin which had a face value of 10 yuan.

In 1988 the first platinum lunar coin was introduced and the number of different lunar coins exploded when the Shanghai Mint began minting a different set of lunar coins. In total there were 4 different designs: the 5oz coins featured triple dragons and the 15 g and 8 g coins each featured a different dragon; the Shanghai Mint coins featured double dragon reverses.

All coins minted by the Shenyang mint unless noted with an "SH" which indicates that it was minted by the Shanghai mint. The size, mintage, and face values are listed to illustrate the numerous changing standards in the first lunar series.

1st Lunar Series 1981–1992
Year Animal Silver Coins (mintage) Gold Coins (mintage) Platinum Coins (mintage)
1981 Rooster 15 g 33 mm 30CNY (10000) 8 g 23 mm 250CNY (5000)
1982 Dog 15 g 33 mm 20 CNY (15000) 8 g 23 mm 200 CNY (5000)
1983 Pig 15 g 33 mm 10 CNY (10000) 8 g 23 mm 150 CNY (5000)
1984 Rat 15 g 33 mm 10 CNY (10000) 8 g 23 mm 150 CNY (5000)
1985 Ox 15 g 33 mm 10 CNY (10000) 8 g 23 mm 150 CNY (5000)
1986 Tiger 15 g 33 mm 10 CNY (15000) 8 g 23 mm 150 CNY (5000)
1987 Rabbit 15 g 33 mm 10CNY (15000)
5 oz. 70 mm 50CNY (4000)
8 g 23 mm 150CNY (5000)
1988 Dragon 15g 33mm 10CNY (15000)
1oz 32mm 10CNY SH (20000)
5oz 70mm 50CNY (5000)
12oz 80mm 100CNY SH (3000)
8g 23mm 150CNY (7500)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (3000)
5oz 60mm 500CNY (3000)
12oz 1000CNY SH (500)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (2000)
1989 Snake 15g 33mm 10CNY (15000)
1oz 32mm 10CNY SH (6000)
5oz 70mm 50CNY (1000)
12oz 80mm 100CNY SH (400)
8g 23mm 150CNY (7500)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (3000)
5oz 60mm 500CNY (500)
12oz 70mm 1000CNY SH (200)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (1000)
1990 Horse 15g 33mm 10CNY (15000)
1oz 32mm 10CNY SH (12000)
5oz 70mm 50CNY (2000)
12oz 80mm 100CNY SH (1000)
8g 23mm 150CNY (7500)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (6000)
5oz 60mm 500CNY (500)
12oz 70mm 1000CNY SH (200?)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (2000)
1991 Goat 15g 33mm 10CNY (15000)
1oz 32mm 10CNY SH (8100)
5oz 70mm 50CNY (2000)
12oz 80mm 100CNY SH (1000)
8g 23mm 150CNY (7500)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (1900)
5oz 60mm 500CNY (400)
12oz 70mm 1000CNY SH (200)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (500)
1992 Monkey 15g 33mm 10CNY (10000)
1oz 32mm 10CNY SH (8100)
5oz 70mm 50CNY (1000)
12oz 80mm 100CNY SH (500)
8g 23mm 150CNY (5000)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (1900)
5oz 60mm 500CNY (99)
12oz 70mm 1000CNY SH (99)
1oz 32mm 100CNY SH (300)
Main article: 1st Lunar Series

The 2nd Series 1988–1999 1 oz Silver Piedfort[edit]

These were minted as 1oz silver but were 32mm in diameter instead of standard 40mm. This increased the thickness in the style of a piedfort coin.

Main article: 2nd Lunar Series

The 3rd Series 1997–2008 1 oz Silver[edit]

Main article: 3rd Lunar Series

The 4th Series 2009–2020 1 oz Silver[edit]

to be continued

Main article: 4th Lunar Series

The 1st Scallop Series 1993–2004⅔ oz Silver[edit]

Mintage: 6800 each

The 1st Scallop Series 1993–2004 ½ oz Gold[edit]

Mintage: 2300 each

The 2nd Scallop Series 2005–2016 1 oz Silver[edit]

Mintage: 60000 each

The 2nd Scallop Series 2005–2016 ½ oz Gold[edit]

Mintage: 8000 each

The 1st Fan Series 2000–2011 1 oz Silver[edit]

Mintage: 66000 each

Main article: Lunar Fan Series

The 1st Fan Series 2000–2011 ½ oz Gold[edit]

Mintage: 6600 each

Main article: Lunar Fan Series

The 2nd Fan Series 2012–2024 ⅓ oz Gold[edit]

to be continued

The 2nd Fan Series 2012–2024 1 oz Silver[edit]

to be continued