Another example of this responsiveness occurred after 2002 when the Panda coins used the previous year’s design and the move was not well received.
“Fewer people bought them, so China began changing the designs again,” according to Graessle, and the program tipped back toward annually changing designs.
Typically, the designs of Pandas are changed annually.
With the lower sales, however, the 2002 issue became a sleeper.
Some buyers are hoping the same might happen with this year’s release, according to Graessle.
“They’ve been received a lot more positive than I ever expected,” he said. “We’re selling a lot of them — the dealers have not put up much resistance to the change in weight. However, there could be a lot of feedback over the year that leads to the weight being adjusted back to 1-ounce — they’ve shown the ability to change when given feedback.
The common obverse of the Panda coins features the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
The 2016 reverse shows a single panda, clutching a thick branch, with stalks of bamboo in the background.
Another change that many collectors won’t witness is how the coins are delivered, with sheets of 15 coins the norm instead of 30-coin sheets as in the past. In addition, a “monster box” now contains 450 coins instead of 600 coins.
The initial release price for the 10-yuan silver coin was $24, and the 1-gram gold 10-yuan coin was released at $47. Other popular price/size points are the 15-gram gold 200-yuan coin ($560) and the 30-gram gold 500-yuan coin ($1,099).
Prices, however, will move in the secondary market.