The Silver Panda is a silver bullion coin, produced and distributed by the People’s Republic of China. The design of the panda has been different every year, same too with the size and weight of the coin. The weight has ranged anywhere from .5 troy oz. to 1 kilogram, although the most common version of the coin is the 1 oz .999 Silver Panda. Below is a picture of obverse and reverse of the 2009 Chinese Silver Panda:
Design and Appearance
On the obverse side of the coin there is a description of the Temple of Heaven and a quote that says, “People’s Republic of China” along with the issue date. On the reverse side there is a picture of a panda. The portrait of the panda changes in design every year with the exception of 2001 and 2002 which shared the same design. There are 6 different varieties of coin issued. Uncirculated, proof, gold plated/gilded (either on one side or both), colored (only has appeared on obverse side), privy marked in 2001 for domestic distribution, and privy marked for commemorative issue (can also be gold plated).
Weight and Purity
Silver Pandas between the years 1983-1986 did not have a uniform weight and purity, but they were all in the same ballpark. Between the aforementioned years the coin weighed about 27 grams and it’s purity ranged anywhere from .900% to .925%. But from 1989 up until today the coin is weighed in at 31.1 grams and it’s purity is consistent at .999%. The diameter in the early years of the coin was about 38.6mm, but from 1989-2008 the coin has been 40mm. To put that into perspective, the Silver Panda is about the same diameter as most modern men’s wrist watches.
Besides the most common 1 oz Silver Panda, there are other weights that are produced every year in smaller quantities: 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 5 oz, 12 oz, and 1 kg (35.274 ounces).
Manufacture and Distribution
The Chinese Silver Panda has been minted at several mints throughout its history, including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Shenyang. All three mints usually produce the same exact version of the coin, sans mint marks, so there is no way to determine which individual mint struck your coin. The exception to this would be certain years where each mint produces a slightly different version of the coin, such as in 1996 when there were slight variations on the font size of the date on the obverse.
Distribution of the Chinese Silver Panda is handled by the China Gold Coin Corporation in China, and Panda America in the USA. Over the past decade the production of Silver Pandas has been right around 500,000 per year, except for 2010 and 2011 when 1.5 million and 6 million (double the scheduled volume of 3 million) were produced. 2011′s increased production came from a massive increase in demand, as Silver Panda purchasers bought a much higher than usual amount of coins to hedge against fiat currency inflation.
2006 Counterfeiting Scandal
In 2006 there was a major influx of counterfeit Silver Pandas. These coins were most often discovered on eBay from sellers located in China. The coins were distinguishable as most did not have a denomination on them. All authentic Silver Pandas do have a denomination on them, ranging from 3 to 300 Yuan depending on the weight of the coin. And even though these fakes did not have much actual silver in them at all, they were still marked as if they did. This allowed buyers to simply weigh the coins to see if they were comprised of .999% silver, like the authentic coin, or other materials. The source of these counterfeit coins remains unknown.
Buy Chinese Silver Panda
Buying a Chinese Silver Panda is a very straightforward process, with many online outlets providing a safe and easy way to complete your purchase. To buy this coin, simply follow one of the links on this site to a highly reputable bullion dealer who will be able to ensure that your purchase is both quick and safe. The Silver Panda is one of the best buys out there among nationally produced coins and is a solid way to diversify any silver investment. Buy a few coins online today and have them delivered to your door right away.
Chinese Silver Pandas usually sell in the secondary market at $50+ over the spot price of the silver contained within the coin. This is obviously far above the 10 Yuan face value of a 1 oz Silver Panda, which is really just a number put on the coin for traditional purposes as no sensible person would spend a Chinese Silver Panda as 10 Yuan worth of currency.