Coin of the Month: The Updated 2016 Chinese Panda

If you’re familiar with the Chinese Silver Panda, you know that the panda design on the back of this coin changes every year, increasing its value to coin collectors. This year, in addition to the typical update, the coin has also undergone some other changes.

Read on to learn more about these changes and why they’re important for collectors.

Metric Weight: For a long while, the weight of the Chinese Silver Panda, as well as the Chinese Gold Panda, has been measured in ounces. Ounces come from the customary English system of measurements. In this system, which is still used in the United States and occasionally in the United Kingdom, coins are weighed in ounces.

China broke with this standard of measurement for 2016, choosing instead to use the international metric system, which is also the standard system of weight in China. The silver coin, once listed as 1 ounce, is now 30 grams. Likewise, the many different Gold Pandas, which range from 1/20th to 1 troy ounce of gold, are now measuring between 1 and 30 grams of gold. With this change, China is working to establish its currency as an individual financial power that stands independent from its western neighbors.

New Markings: 2016 also brought the reintroduction of the weight and fineness markings on the Chinese Silver Panda. In 2015, the Panda was only marked with its face value of 10 Yuan, the currency of the People’s Republic of China. This year the coin will once again bear the inscription of the weight (30 grams) and the fineness (.999 silver) of its material. Those in the coin collecting world believe these inscriptions help protect the coin from potential counterfeiters.

New Design: As usual, the Chinese Panda boasts a new panda design for 2016. This year, the coin shows a panda climbing up a bamboo stalk with a grove of bamboo in the background. The panoramic of the panda is capped by etchings of bamboo leafs both above and below. On the back is a picture of the Chinese Temple of Heaven, a Chinese holy site built in 1420. Ming emperors used the temple to pray for a good harvest for the upcoming year.

Because of China’s power as the second largest economy in the world, the Chinese Silver and Gold Pandas are popular with coin collectors and investors and are thought to diversify one’s portfolio. Silver Pandas have an added advantage for young investors—they are reasonably priced.

Learn more about other coins from around the world that are both good investments for their bullion and their numismatic (collector’s) value. Start by checking out the Perth Lunar Series.