In 2000, the People's Bank of China issued the first fan shaped gold and silver lunar coins – the fan shaped gold and silver Dragon. It was the first time for lunar coins to appear in the fan shape, and it was the second time for them to take on an irregular shape. Before that was the plum flower shaped lunars. Now the plum flower lunars are in the second round already. The second round of fan shaped lunars will start this year (2012 - translator), too.
Starting from 2000, a fan shaped set of 1/2 oz gold and 1 oz silver coins were issued annually. The mintages were 6,600 and 66,000 respectively. However, the surface area of the fan shape is relatively small, and so they were less popular than the round and plum flower shaped coins. They are among the relatively ignored types in the lunar series. The most expensive fan shaped silver coin, the Horse, is around 7,000 Yuan, which is lagging considerably behind forerunners in other lunar series. The major cause of this situation is its relatively low consumption as gifts. People are used to round silver coins. Although the fan shaped coins also weight 1 oz, its surface area is smaller than that of plum flower shaped or round coins. As gifts, the fan shaped coins do not appear striking or impressive. So fewer people buy fan shaped coins as gifts. Although there are collector and investor purchases, their lack of quick investment returns has left them hanging between the top and the bottom, always trying to catch up. The fan shaped Dragon was the first release among fan shaped lunars, but it somehow inherited the fate of most other first releases in the lunar series, that is, the first release of the series seldom turned out to be the price leader. Its price is not only a far cry from that of the leading Horse, but also much lower than that of Snake, which was issued one year later. This year marks the twelfth year of the release of fan shaped silver coins. The closing fan shaped Rabbit was expected to outperform, but it has been disappointing anyhow. Details were given in one of my previous posts: Fan Shaped Silver Rabbit, a Disastrous Closing Piece.
There was some good news for fan shaped gold and silver coins lately. Starting from the second round of fan shaped gold and silver coins, the first ones to be released at the end of this year, all the gold coins will be reduced from 1/2 oz to 1/3 oz, and the mintage will be expanded enormously. The mintage of the first round would appear much smaller in comparison. It is a pretty positive development for the first round, but it will not bring about significant changes in the short term. For the fan shaped gold and silver lunar coins to take off, passage of time and consumers' acceptance will be needed, as well as more marketing efforts, so that more people will know and appreciate them.
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