China Panda Gold Coin is a series of gold bullion coins issued by the People's Republic of China. It was one of the most successful bullion coins of the 1980's. It changes its design every year and comes in different sizes, from 0.1 troy oz to 1 troy oz with different denomination reflecting the weight.
The yearly change of design creates a steady demand for these bullion pieces regardless of gold price fluctuations. Gold Pandas encourage use of coins in jewelry because the one ounce coins are set in necklace mountings, and the smaller sizes are sold in pendants, bracelets, and earrings. Panda coin jewelry has become quite an item in the U.S., and the rest of the world.
Most buyers of gold Pandas concentrate on the bullion-priced 1-ounce and smaller sizes.
Demand from China itself is starting to expand, which may become a significant factor in the future, both for current and past issues. In the meantime, the gold Panda series continues to roll along.
Today, when the Panda issues from the 1980's come on the market, they bring a fraction of their 1987 high prices. However, the dated coins from the mid-1990's are hard to find, as the mintage figures were then much lower than during their heyday.
The Gold Pandas are legal tender in the People's Republic of China, and are currently issued in face value denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20 yuan; from 1982 through 2000 they were issued in denominations of 100, 50, 25, and 10 yuan with the 5 yuan added in 1983. These correspond with 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/10 and 1/20 troy ounces of gold, respectively. An exception is 1991, when 1 gram Gold Pandas were minted, issued in the denomination of 3 yuan.
2016 begins a new era for Panda coins. The old weight system of troy ounces will be replaced by the metric system of grams, the standard system of weights used in the People’s Republic of China. For the first time the full range of Mint State gold and silver Panda coins will be issued in metric weights. This change may affect bullion buyers, who calculate their holdings in ounces, more than coin collectors who collect by denomination.