Panda gold coins, as the name implies, feature a very adorable Panda on the obverse (head) side of the coin.
China first issued its gold coins in 1982 in one tenth, one quarter, one half and one full troy ounce sized coins. In 1983 the mint added a further size, one twentieth of an ounce.
In later years larger sized coins were added, 5 troy ounce and 10 troy ounce coins. These are among the few gold coins issued in such sizes around the world.
Each issue features a panda the design of which has varied over the years, making these coins ideal for collectors. However, the 2002 Panda is identical to the 2001 as the Chinese Government imposed a freeze on the design. This was eventually lifted in 2003 due, in part, to the requests of collectors.
All these coins were proof-like rather than actual proof coins and were simply Brilliant Uncirculated. In 1986 to 1995 proof sets were issued, so these now command a higher price due to the limited issue and increasing rarity.
The mintage of these coins, compared to American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaf, Krugerrands and other well gold coins, is very small so these coins tend to price a lot higher.
For example in 1982 there was less than 16,000 1 troy ounce coins produced, in 1983 only 22447 and in 1984 only 23330. The most 1 troy ounce coins minted by the Chinese Mint in any one year was 150,000 but that is mostly only in recent years.
The price of early Pandas is quite high therefore. A 1982 1 half ounce gold panda with a purity of .999 fine, grade proof-like brilliant uncirculated will fetch over 800 USD on the open market. The gold value is closer to 250-270 USD at today’s gold price.
A full collection of half ounce gold pandas featuring coins from 1982 to 2005 will be worth well over 9000 USD. A very tidy sum for a collector who may have patiently collected the coins each year at their original price.
Panda gold coins are an excellent investment for the future not only for the gold value but for the rarity and beauty, but any collector would be pleased to have just one panda gold coin in his collection.