Whether you know it or not, silver is a metal that is found in many parts of the world, from Asia, to Europe, to North America, and just about everywhere in between. For thousands of years, eager bodies have been extracting the raw metal from the earth and putting it to use as a store of value, an industrial product, and many other things. Despite it being commonly believed that silver only originates from parts of Central and South America such as Mexico, the reality is that silver has a much more storied and global history.
China, one of the oldest and most well-documented civilizations, has a rich silver history that can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Note that the mint also makes Chinese Gold Pandas.
Since the earliest of days, China has been considered a rich nation. While most people associate the term rich as being the possessors of massive quantities of precious metals, the Chinese were rich in ways other than that. With some of the finest spices, silks, and other trade goods, foreign visitors to China offered up their gold and silver in exchange for some of these goods. At its peak, China was acquiring much of its precious metals from explorers from Central and South America who ventured West across the Pacific ocean.
China was ahead of the game, so to speak, because the silver that was brought in from foreign countries was used to make a solid currency system that most other countries could only dream of replicating. Because China, as a geographical region, does not have much in the way of gold and silver deposits, they quickly and early made the decision to acquire metals from outside sources. China’s massive population demanded an economy that functioned properly and demanded a functional currency system. Thanks to the silver and gold that was imported over hundreds of years, China’s currency system was established earlier than most others.
To be fair, China, for as big of a country as it is, produces a relatively small amount of silver products for consumers. With that being said, one of the only items that originates from China just so happens to be one of the most widely demanded silver products in the world. These coins, commonly referred to as Chinese Silver Pandas, are far and away one of the most beautiful coin series in the world.
First released in the early 1980s, Chinese Silver Pandas offered investors and collectors a rare glimpse into a country that was fairly protected from the outside world. When these coins were first introduced, people from all over the world were curious to see what currency from this country looked like. Immediately, people were pleasantly surprised with what they saw. During the early years of the Chinese Silver Panda’s production, the coin was produced in only one size (1 ounce) and was comprised of only 90% silver. In 1987, the amount of silver in the coin was upped to 92.5%. Only a few years after that, and with the onset of so many other countries producing their own silver coins, China was forced to up their level of fineness to the present day standard of .999, or 99.9%. In addition, the Chinese Silver Panda was released in ¼ ounce, ½ ounce, 5 ounces, 12 ounces, and 1 kilogram sizes.
The minting of Pandas was confusing when it first started because of the vast size of the country and the many mints located throughout. Unlike US coins, which boast a mintmark to tell you exactly where the coin was produced, Chinese coins were absent of such a feature. Instead, you will find that on coins produced during the late 80s and early 90s small changes, such as font size alterations, were made to distinguish a Panda made by one mint from a Panda made by another. On the Silver Panda that was minted in 1996, the font of the date inscribed on the back side of the coin was slightly different on coins produced by different mints.
Like most coins produced by national mints, the Chinese Silver Panda was made with imagery that was and still is near and dear to the hearts of every Chinese citizen. The coin’s obverse boasts a depiction of the Chinese Temple of Heaven which is located in Beijing. The temple was constructed in the 15th century and is a massive part of Chinese history so it makes sense that it is depicted on China’s most famed coin.
The reverse side of the coin depicts the panda, which is one of the most recognizable animals in China. The thing about these coins is that while there is always a panda or group of pandas on the reverse side, the exact depiction has changed from year-to-year. The varying depictions attract investors and collectors each and every year. On top of it all, the sheer detail of the images on this coin are without comparison. People are regularly astonished with the extreme detail present on the faces of these coins.
When it comes to acquiring Chinese silver, this can be done so in a number of different ways. The most classic way of acquiring Chinese silver is by contacting your local coin shop or pawn dealer and checking what they have in stock.
More recently, the best way to acquire Chinese Silver Pandas is to do so via reputable online dealer of precious metals. The internet has made it so extremely easy to purchase goods that you are able to shop, compare prices, and execute an order of Chinese silver without ever having to step foot outside your door. The biggest advantage of all to buying online is the fact that you are never subject to stock-outs like you are with brick and mortar dealers. If one online dealer does not have what you are looking for, you can simply move on to the next one with just a few clicks of the mouse.