The Year of the Dog Arrives in Britain’s Shengxiao Series

For fans of lunar-themed coins, most of the attention each year is focused on Perth Mint’s annual releases. Perth is the originator of the famed Lunar Series collection that debuted in 1996, and it proved so popular among investors and collectors buying silver and gold that it was immediately succeeded by the Lunar Series II collection. However, Perth Mint isn’t the only facility around the globe striking beautiful lunar-themed coins.

Beginning in 2014, the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom launched its own lunar-themed collection of coins. There are significant differences between the two, but the point remains the same regardless of which gold and silver coins you purchase. Both programs follow a 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. With 2018 just around the corner, 2018-issue coins are starting to arrive in the precious metals market.

As you consider which silver and gold coins for sale you’d like to purchase, take a second look at the Shengxiao Series of coins from the Royal Mint. Explore the differences and examine the 2018 Year of the Dog release in this post.

Separating Lunar Series II from Shengxiao Series

The Royal Mint’s series has its own unique lunar-themed designs with each new release in the collection. Named the Shengxiao Series, the Royal Mint’s lunar collection of silver and gold coins uses the Mandarin-language word for Chinese Zodiac in naming its series. While Perth Mint’s lunar collection is on its second iteration, the Shengxiao Series from the Royal Mint launched in 2014 with the Year of the Horse.

Perhaps the two most significant differences between the two series come down to variety and design options. Perth Mint uses a separate design each year for its gold and silver coins, while the Royal Mint uses the same design with each release across the gold and silver options. Additionally, Perth offers Lunar Series II coins in varying weights, while the Royal Mint’s bullion Shengxiao coins are offered in the popular 1 oz gold and silver weights.

The 2018 Year of the Dog Shengxiao Series Coins

For the Year of the Dog, the Royal Mint has chosen one of the most beloved dog breeds in the United Kingdom as the basis for its design. On the reverse of each 2018 British Year of the Dog coin you’ll find the image of a small terrier-like breed bounding across the design field. The terrier is a popular small-game hunting dog, but more recently has become a trusted companion among families and individuals.

The reverse of all 2018 British Year of the Dog coins features the latest effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. Created by Jody Clark in 2015, this fifth-generation portrait of Her Majesty captures the Queen at the age of 89. Clark, 33 at the time of completion, is the youngest Royal Mint engraver to ever design the Queen’s portrait for British coinage.

On the obverse field the Royal Mint has incorporated a new guilloche background design. The rough appearance of the design itself, visually, not texturally, is meant to mimic the noseprint of a dog. Engravings on the obverse include “Year of the Dog,” “2018,” and the weight, metal content, and purity of the coins.

For the two coins available there are different highlights to be aware of. These features include:

Both the gold and silver coins for sale in this series are available in in BU condition. Coins in BU condition exhibit no signs of wear and tear, though minor flaws ranging from breaks in the luster and spotted surfaces to contact marks from the coining process are possible.

About the Designer

The 2018 Year of the Dog coins from the Royal Mint’s Shengxiao Series are created by Wuon-Gean Ho. The fifth release in the Royal Mint’s lunar-themed collection, Ho has been the creative genius behind all five designs released so far in the series. Ho was born in Oxford in 1973 and graduated with a BA in History of Art from Cambridge University. Her career accomplishments include taking up a Japanese government scholarship to study woodblock printmaking and creating several works in print, artist books, and animations in the years since.

She has been teaching print making in London, Italy, and US since 2007. In 2013 she began a Masters at the Royal College of Art and also serves as editor for the magazine Printmaking Today.

The Royal Mint

Founded in the 8th century as the London Mint, the system that is now known as the Royal Mint once stretched to continents far and wide. Former locations in the Royal Mint system include coining facilities on the Indian subcontinent and a three-mint system in Australia, with one of those former Royal Mint locations being none other than the Perth Mint. Today, the Royal Mint’s primary coining facility is located outside of London in Wales. The Royal Mint not only strikes bullion coinage, circulation currency, and paper banknotes for the United Kingdom, but takes up the process of sovereign currency production for more than 60 other nations around the world.

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The 2018 British Gold and Silver Year of the Dog coins are now available for purchase. These bullion coins are immensely popular, and with new designs in the planned 12-coin series there is sure to be something for everyone with each new year’s release. Stay tuned to JM Bullion’s blog for more weekly posts and follow us on Facebook to have your say and interact with us!

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