Chinese Silver Panda Coins – An Alternative Investment

Investing in precious metals can be a rewarding experience. I started my collection of silver with five each of the following 1 oz. coins: American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and Austrian Philharmonics. When I received the coins in the mail I was amazed at the beauty of both the artwork on the coins and the overall feeling of owning a tangible store of value. Granted, this is not a massive silver investment, but it’s a beginning. Shortly after acquiring my first coins, I started looking at the other varieties of coins available. The mainstream coins that I purchased just did not seem to have the extra value that I was looking for. This is when I stumbled upon the elusive panda.

Pictured to the right is the Chinese Silver Panda. In my opinion, the 2009 mintage is by far the most exemplary of all the panda coins and their high resale value is easily warranted. For example, a 1 oz. American Eagle silver bullion coin sells for roughly $18.00 retail in today’s market. A similar weight panda coin sells for $28.00 There is quite a premium for the panda coins, and I believe that the artwork and craftsmanship truly justify the higher initial cost. The silver panda coins generally sell for twice the spot-price of silver on the retail market due to their highly collectible artwork which changes every year. The 2009 mintage of 600,000 1 oz. coins is already sold out at the mint and they are not producing more of this design. Whatever you find at a dealer is all that exists on the open market.

Based upon my research, here is why I believe the 2009 Silver Panda coins are a fantastic investment:

  • The mintage is sold out and they were just released in January of 2009.
  • As time goes on, panda coins appreciate in value regardless of the price of silver due to the ever changing artwork.
  • The level of detail and craftsmanship is superb on these coins
  • The artwork for the 2009 coin is magnificent.

According to the manufacturer of the panda coins, China Gold Coin Incorporation, which is owned by the People’s Bank of China, a lot of work went into creating the panda artwork:

“In order to portray giant panda’s black and white colors and their playfulness, Chinese coin designers and minting specialist made great efforts in the innovation of panda coin’s design. Depending on their excellent artistic talents and skills, a special patternmaking technique was invented, which perfectly displayed the giant panda’s characteristics. As the essential colors of giant panda,black and white colors were especially difficult to cast in metal.

Gold and silver has only one color respectively. Casting two colors in one metal became very difficult. Through repeated studies, experts found that the plane of gold and silver pieces reflect different light which form different colors. Given a treatment that makes the plane as smooth as a mirror, one angle of the plane reflects strong lights which becomes golden color; another angle reflects drawn lights which becomes a darker color. Skillfully use the reflection effect to form the “white” color and the “black” color, experts invented the reflection minting technique. This technique can depict giant pandas black eyes, legs, and ears distinctly.

The special artistic effect of black and white vividly depicts giant panda’s characteristics, and give panda coins a high artistic value. Later, experts invented a technique that makes a more vivid depiction of giant panda’s black and white colors with a greater stereoscopic effect by sandblasting the shady side of reliefs. With this technique, people found a new artistic effect that later helped to form a new technical standard of panda coin’s production. Novel in design, advanced in minting art, special in theme, exquisite in lines, double functioned both as a investment tool and a commemoration, panda coins have developed a school of their own, and enjoy a worldwide popularity among coin-funs and collectors.”

I currently own a small collection of various Chinese Panda coins in 1 oz., 5 oz., and 1 kilo sizes. The 5 oz. and 1 kilo coins are proofs and thus command a higher market value. The mintages of the proofs are generally much smaller (10,000 and 4,000 respectively). I plan on holding these coins for quite some time and hopefully selling them off for substantial gains in the future (if I even decide to sell them). My time horizon on an investment like this is 3-5 years at the absolute minimum.

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