World Coins

A Chinese Panda coin that shouldn’t exist

A Proof 1985 brass Panda 1-yuan coin from China should not exist. However, a small number were made for dignitaries, and one is now offered in a March 29 auction.

Images courtesy of Champion Hong Kong Auction.

What explanation is there when a coin exists but shouldn’t?

By most records, the Proof 1985 Chinese Panda brass 1-yuan coin was not going to be made, because of lackluster sales of brass Panda coins in 1983 and 1984. 

However, an estimated 50 to 100 examples were made, and one of these highlights Champion Hong Kong Auctions' March 29 sale in Macau. 

Some time in 1985, the Shanghai Mint was negotiating with a Canadian company, according to Champion, negotiations which concluded with a signed contract in May 1985. To mark the event, the Shanghai Mint re-used a reverse die for the 1984 brass Panda and made a new obverse die to create a 1985 brass Panda. 

A small number of these were made for presentation to dignitaries. These were sealed in a green cardboard package, which has led many of them to become oxidized and “grow” black spots. Consequently, few are in the condition of the example offered in the March 29 auction.

The “coin offered here is in better preservation than” an example sold in a 2012 China Spring auction for $46,000 U.S., according to Champion.

This example is estimated to realize $10,000 to $20,000.

There are 796 lots in the auction on March 29. To learn more about the sale, visit the firm’s website

Community Comments