Precious Metals

Most of new UK bullion issue sold before launch date

The following press release about the launch of sales the week of Oct. 16 of Britain’s Year of the Rooster bullion coins program is from the Royal Mint:

The Royal Mint’s lunar bullion launch has become an eagerly anticipated event on the worldwide bullion calendar, particularly after the sellout success of its gold and silver Lunar Year of the Monkey bullion coins for 2016. The Royal Mint’s Rooster coin is the latest in the 1,100 year-old organization’s popular series to hit the competitive lunar bullion market.

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The Royal Mint’s Director of Bullion, Chris Howard, said “The [Year of the Rooster bullion] coin has already sold to full mintage in silver through the Royal Mint’s wholesale trading activities, and gold is already 50 percent sold, before the official launch date.”

This is only the fourth release in the Royal Mint’s lunar [bullion coin] series, which started with the 2014 Year of the Horse followed by lunar sheep and monkey years in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The Royal Mint’s Lunar Shengxiào Collection, named to honour the Chinese zodiac, is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multicultural society, and lends a unique British angle to this ancient custom. Each lunar year is linked to one of 12 animals, whose traits are attributed to those born during that year. Celebrated annually — Year of the Rooster starts on Jan. 28, 2017 — it is traditionally a time for exchanging tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes, symbolizing good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.

British-Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho, designer of the Royal Mint’s lunar collection, continues the striking series with the rooster.

The rooster is the 10th sign in the Chinese zodiac, so it may be no coincidence that number 10 represents perfection in Chinese culture. People born in the Year of the Rooster are believed to be confident characters who love to stand out from the crowd. Said to spend a great deal of time perfecting their appearance, they like to be thought of as attractive and beautiful, and are often very fashion conscious, relishing any opportunity to show off their style and charm. They are loyal and devoted friends and natural leaders in the workplace.

The Royal Mint’s lunar bullion coins are struck as limited mintage one-ounce .9999 fine gold coins, and one-ounce .999 fine silver coins, and are available to buy in tubes of 10 or 25 coins, dependent on the metal purchased.

The Design

During her research process Wuon-Gean made detailed observations of roosters and hens to capture a real sense of their personality and movement.

"The breed I have depicted on the coin is a Marsh Daisy from the Lancashire/Liverpool area of the UK," she said. "I wanted to root the design firmly in a real place. The Marsh Daisy is a gentle and friendly breed, well-adapted to sandy marshland. They are beautiful birds with a very flat, pillow-like comb called a rose-comb.

"The flowers in the design are also called Marsh Daisies, an affectionate name for the flower also called sea-thrift, common to the areas where the birds live."

About the artist

Wuon-Gean Ho is an artist printmaker living and working in London. Her commissions for the Royal Mint draw upon her British Chinese descent, and her experiences both as an artist and fully qualified veterinary surgeon.

"Working with and observing animals definitely helped me with my understanding of how to draw them, and how to convey their movement," she said. "It was a new concept for me to work within the coin’s circle, and also work around lettering that was curved. It has been wonderful working with the craftsmen at the Royal Mint. I’m incredibly impressed and humbled at the amount of technical mastery and knowledge that they have."


Here are the important details on the new bullion coins. 

 Proof 2017 Lunar Year of the Rooster 1-ounce silver coin:

Denomination: £2
Issuing Authority: United Kingdom
Metal: .999 Ag
Weight: 31.21g
Diameter: 38.61mm
Obverse Designer: Jody Clark
Reverse Designer: Wuon-Gean Ho
Quality: Bullion
Limited Edition Mintage: 138,888

Proof 2017 Lunar Year of the Rooster 1-ounce gold coin:

Denomination: £100
Issuing Authority: United Kingdom
Metal: .9999 Au
Weight: 31.21g
Diameter: 32.69mm
Obverse Designer: Jody Clark
Reverse Designer: Wuon-Gean Ho
Quality: Bullion
Limited Edition Mintage: 8,888

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