Monday, March 17, 2014

Dandan's Comments on Chinese Coins (4) - Colored Silver Ox

I will talk about none other than the successful ending piece: the colored silver Ox. It is also known jokingly on the market as "mad Ox".

2008 and 2009 marked the turning point of the market in the late few years. In 2008, many coins fell to their bottom in years. Right then, some people with insight as well as resources started to make their move. The target was the colored silver Ox.

1 oz colored silver lunar coins were first released in 1998, in the year of Tiger. 2009 was the last year of this round of 12 years, by which time all the 12 1 oz colored silver lunar coins were completed. The colored Ox was released at the end of 2008, because lunar coins are generally released at the end of the previous year, in time for year-end gift giving consumption. When the colored silver Ox was publicly announced, most people's reaction was that it was absolutely ugly. The previous 11 designs were all paintings, but this one took on the art of paper-cutting, which was unprecedented, first time in history. At first sight, few (myself included) would appreciate it, except for those in interested in folk culture. My first reaction was "This thing is much too ugly!" It was released in a down market, with a low price of 500-600 Yuan each. Within a month, however, things started to change. Hoarding was taking place, with less and less availability on the market. Not only that, but the priced was going up steadily. By the summer of 2009, the price shot up several times already, to almost 2,000 Yuan a piece.

Many explanations were offered. Some said that market movers were hoarding; others said that Ox (bull) was auspicious for stocks and many stock holders bought it for that reason; still others said it was a good sign for the economy to turn around. It was true that the entire stamp, coin and card collection market rebounded after bottoming out in mid-2009. The big upswing in the last couple of years started to emerge at that time. Among the many explanations given after the rise of the colored silver Ox, I found the following to be credible: the design of this coin indicated a transition, because the second round of colored lunars might well all be based on papercut artwork. It was also the ending piece. Due to all this, many well resourced buyers were buying right after its release. Once the price started to move up, everyone jumped in trying to have a share of the profit, which in turn pushed the price further up. Also, collectors of the lunar series had to buy it. (They could not do without the last one as they had already bought the previous 11.) Many factors combined and contributed to this mad drive. Those in the market gave the coin a nickname "mad Ox", only next to the mad Dog released a few years back. Now the price of the colored silver Ox is as high as several thousand Yuan a piece. It is unprecedented to have such a spectacular ending piece. It was also unheard of to have a one ounce silver coin speculated to this high price in two years.

Collection index: 5 (I was not born in the year of Ox, and I don't like the design either); 10 (those born in the year of Ox would be sorry to give it up, especially if your child was born in that year)

Investment index: 8

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