After a long wait, China’s annual Panda gold and silver bullion coins have arrived in the United States of Ameri
And, their weight is telling.
For the 2016 version, the Panda coins are offered in gram weights instead of being based on the troy ounce standard in other worldwide bullion coins.
So, instead of a 1-ounce silver coin, the Panda 10-yuan coin now weighs 30 grams, for instance. That makes the coin a little lighter than a 1-ounce coin, which weighs 31.1 grams. The move is intended to cater to demand in Asia for gram-weight investment products, as many privately issued bars and rounds are made in gram weights.
The coins officially were launched Nov. 18 in China, but it took until Dec. 2 for them to arrive in the United States. Distributor PandaAmerica began shipping them to its customers and dealers on Dec. 7 and 8 after the coins cleared Customs, according to William Graessle of PandaAmerica.
“The biggest problem is getting more,” he said. “I don’t have any extras, the ones I have coming in are already sold out.”
The change has required Graessle to provide more education about the coins, but that hasn’t hampered demand.
The 2016 program totals 12 coins, in sizes from 1 gram to 1 kilogram in gold and from 30 grams to 1 kilogram in silver.
The kilogram coins are the only sizes unaffected by changes in standards.
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This change to the metric standard for all of the coins follows last year’s decision to remove the weight and fineness specifications from the designs. That unpopular move was reversed with the 2016 release, where the specifications again appear on the Panda coins.
“Without [the specifications] it was hard to say this was a one-ounce coin; people question it, like, ‘I just have to take your word on that,’ ” Graessle said.
Chinese mints allow feedback to guide the bullion program, he noted.