Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Huang Ruiyong's Article on BU Panda Investment

Translated by Panda Halves


29 years ago the gold panda was born, taking the whole world by surprise. The freshly minted pandas were unrefined and came in 4 denominations from 1oz to 1/10oz, furthermore there was no face value attributed, moreover there was no face value attributed on the front. For the first few years the designer of the coins was Mr. Chen Jian and pioneer Mr. Zhu Chun De on several different occasions argued about if this first coin was a medal or a coin.

By 1983 people had become enthralled with panda coins. That year's gold panda coin was improved upon compared to 1982, for starters the coin had a face value, moreover the 1/20 size was added and from there on Chinese gold investment coins have been available in five different sizes from 1/20 to 1oz. That year's 1oz gold panda was  Mr. You Chen Jian and Mr. Sun Qi Ling who had already moved to Italy (designed the carving of the classic Temple of Heaven design on the obverse) joined forces to create a method of combining sand blasting and mirrored surfaces on a single gold surface in order to express the two-toned white and black velvety fur of the panda the product of which won that year's Krause world coin competition's "best gold coin" grand prize. It goes without saying, Mr. You Yumin and Sun Qi Ling's carved silver panda also went to win the "best silver coin" grand prize for the year.

From then on the normaly manufactured gold panda continuously increased in popularity. In a national arts and crafts convention the 86 gold panda set was chosen as the the "golden cup winner." Later in 01 the 1 ounce gold panda again won the Krause world coin competition's "best gold coin" grand prize. At the same time in an exhibition in Singapore it won the people's choice award for gold coins; following this German Numismatic Magazine in 02, 04, and 09 selected the 1oz gold panda from those years in their "Top ten world coins of the year" list. Among those years the 09 was ranked #1 on the top ten list.

Because the design has consistently changed year to year the Chinese gold panda has come to the forefront of the five largest world gold coin investment markets despite by no means having the largest number of coi minted. This has had an impact on investment interest in them as gold coins. Of all of China's modern gold and silver coins the panda alone has had a true influence on the global market. One may make use of this analogy: If you were to ask what gold or silver commemorative coin the average Chinese person in mailand China collects then then perhaps 1 in 10 would say "zodiac coins", but if you ask this question to coin collectors around the world 1 in 100 will say panda coins. That is to say that the entire world is enthralled with the Chinese gold panda coin more than any other chinese gold coin.

It is said that the common date gold panda coins are just bullion far from the several intricate layers of investment coins. Is this really true? Of course it is. We know there are two kinds of good coins: overtly good coins and hidden gem coins. The overtly good coins are announced by the mint as having low numbers and are only chased by wealthy aristocrates who wish to bag these coins and look good in the public eye. The hidden gems are not as simple, to understand and collect them requires you to penetrate deep into the market to uncover the vaious reasons that have created scarcity such as cancelling the issuance of certain coins, or a true reduction in the actual number minted, or the pattern on certain coins is vastly different and varied. This type of hidden gem you most certainly can't stand in front of a service counter, clap your hands and buy, you need the dual attributes of coin knowledge and coin recognition combined. From a collector's standpoint the hidden gems are even better than the overtly rare coins. From the proletariat's perspective these gold pandas will forever be like a solid family treasure hidden away in a corner safely, waiting on research and effort to uncover the true value of them.

Typically speaking, to the vast majority of the majority of the prolitariat common gold pandas are a spectre to behold, it could be that one day the cihled will say, "Ma, why can't our family collect?"

Don't be nervous we will steadily begin seeking to accumulate and asking everyone why not start collecting gold pandas. For the population of collectors there are these main types:
1. Those trying to assemble an entire set
2. Those that only collect 1/10 and 1/20 size coins because they are suitable for concealment in the house
3. Those that collect 1oz coins (The more typical gold investment types)
4. Those that collect according to mintage variations
5. Those that collect accessories

It is difficult to say which of the above methods is the best, because the raddish and the cabbage each have their own connoisseurs, every individual has their own personality and collecting strategy. However, the extent of difficulty in the different strategies is immense.

You can collect the entire set without fail will need massive amounts of cash. If you are intent on collecting every size panda from 82 to 11 you will have 56.9oz in gold weight reaching sums of over 9,000,000RMB quite easily. This method is not suitable for beginners or those lacking massive and sophisticated storage fascilities.

For the majority of numismatists, the prospect of owning a complete set is too expensive. For them the prospect of owning a 1/10 and 1/20 set is not a bad choice. From 82 to the present there are 30 1/10 and 29 1/20 gold pandas to collect. Just think of the great feeling of comfort you would have within, if you were able to collect all of these coins together, catalog them, and spread them out under the late night silence of a table lamp.

A few investetors will argue that colleting 1oz gold pandas is a good method. In reality foreign investment organizations and individuals, and fund managers to include the renowned Jim Rogers are enthralled with only the 1oz gold pandas.

As for the other type? China has three factories that mint coins: Shanghai, Shenyang, and Shenzhenguobao. In reality although the pattern on the gold pandas minted at these three mints looks lidentical, the design of the number typface and the method of sandblasting differs widely, (most notably on 1989 to 2000 gold pandas), therefore the gold pandas produced at these different factories, in the same year with the same design, and to the same specification are not the same coin. This is even true within the same min, take for example the Shanghai mint, due to the fact that the gold pandas were produced in different batches a markable difference can occur (like seen in those gold pandas produced in 1984), therefore even gold pandas produced in the same mint and in the same year can have a different pattern. Because variations exist

it causes panda enthusiasts and collectors of gold pandas to be overwhelmed. Only knowing with varieties, can we appreciate collecting gold pandas, not only does this particularly relate when inquiring about a price in the intial stage but it also will make the faces of the top stores offering gold pandas light up at the completion of a sale. With regard to the several top tier gold pandas such as 98 shenyang, or 00 mirror etc...I myself as the author ascertain that through inquiries of the distribution centers, numismatists, and collectors there may be not even 100 of them.

100 Sets! Good Lord!!! I would never think the panda coins to be so rare!!!!
A great many collectors like to collect gold panda types. Type collectors include both date sets, and overall variety sets. These so cald type collectors include 1/2oz and 1/10oz in the collections. Why are these types of collectors especially good? Because the 1/2 ounce production numbers were low and demand is high for the 1/10oz.

Under normal circumstances 1oz coins are the first choice of investors, the natural demand for them is high; moreover 1/10oz and 1/20oz have the bonus of being a requirement for a 1oz coin to complete a set. Moreover, an extensive amount of them have been destryoned in necklaces, rings, and pendants etc.., Yours truly is a member of the 1/10 and 1/20 gold panda loving and collecting community. Moreover 1/2 and 1/4 pandas have an awkward appearance, they have a low investor demand, they are rarely made into ornamental jewlery, their utility comes with set completion only. Panda enthusiasts have a saying "Acquire a 1/2oz gold panda and you have a set," in other words once you acquire a 1/2 gold panda the rest of the set is no problem to get. For the set collector this is a real grab at the throat, as it is the quintisential gold panda piece in completing sets such as the 98 Shenyang Large Date, 00 Shanghai Mirror, 99 Shanghai Small Date, or 99 Guobao Serif etc....

English speakers have a single word to signify gold coins in a set other than the one ounce which applies to the gold pandas including 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz, they call them "Fractional".

There are very few 98 Shenyang Large Date panda sets to be had overseas, all the ones the author himself knows of are 20. There are not more than 15 in america and 5 in germany, they are scarcely seen anywhere else in the world. Moreover 00 Mirror pandas are extremely rare in the states, for a while in America for quite some time it was believed that there were no 1/2oz, 1/4oz, or 1/10oz mirror pandas produced because for the longest time their grading companies never had the opportunity to grade them. After speaking with several top panda collectors in America it is certain that the population of them in the states does not exceed 10 sets, also according to current estimates there are not more than 40 sets in China, moreover in Germany there are no known sets.

98 is rumored to have a Shenzhen Guobao Large Date gold panda but I have never sen such thing. Many  people's information comes from a book published by Xian Publishing Press ((1979-2004 precious metals commemorative catalog) delux hardcover edition 329 pages, there is the "1998" Large Date written on the obverse but there is a serif mark below the one that is indicated as a Guobao mint variety. However collectors and researchers must eventually rely on research and material evidence when speaking.

Of course the gold panda collector's annex merits a look as it contains hidden value just like a coin in an insert showing the first day issue of a stamp, the inlay of a coin into a watch, ring, necklace, or chestpiece etc... Because the annex is based upon historical sales it is already an inseperable part of the panda collecting culture.

This gold panda year priority list has been arranged by the author according research and it is as follows:

1998 Shenyang Large Date, 2000 Shanghai Mirror, 1999 Shanghai Small Date, 1999 Shenzhen Guobao Serif, 1998 Shanghai Small Date, 1995 Shenyang Small Date, 1995 Shanghai Large Date, 1989 Shenyang Large Date, 1994 Shenyang Small Date, 1994 Shanghai Large Date, 1993 Shanghai Large Date, 1999 Shenyang LargeDate, 2002 Shenzhen Guobao, 2000 Shenzhen Guobao, 1991 Shenyang, 1991 Shanghai, 1996 Shenyang Large date, 1996 Shanghai Small Date, 1997 Shenyang Large Date, 1997 Shanghai Small Date, 1982, 2001D, 1987Y, 2006

The above estimate is a very simple rough estimate of gold panda set rankings. In all reality as the population of panda enthusiasts grows, and as the amount of research into the gold pandas probes deeper, the above estimates will certainly need to be readjusted. Becoming an expert at hidden gems is congratulatory but I have not become that familiar just better at it. Only by studying mountains of gold panda coins and research an one hope to acquire true expertiese.

Happy 30th anniversary of the mintage of the gold panda!

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