Gold Panda coins are issued by the China Gold Coin. Unlike most other mints, the Chinese mint chooses to mint these Panda coins in weights of 1 gram, 3 grams, 8 grams, 15 grams and 30 grams. Common practice is to mint them in weights of troy ounces (31.103 grams) and smaller denominations thereof, such as 1/2 troy ounce and 1/4 troy ounce. Gold Panda coins in these new weight units have been issued since 2016. The design is also changed every year, making these coins very popular among collectors as well.
The gold Panda coins were introduced in 1982. Since then, a new variant of the Panda coins has been issued every year where, until 2016, these coins were minted in 1 troy ounce of gold. Since 2016, they have been using the metric system and weights of up to 30 grams. A constant in the design of the panda coins has been the reverse side of the coin, which always depicts the Temple of Heaven. In this Beijing temple, Chinese people pray for a good harvest.
Gold panda coins are an official issue of the People's Republic of China. As such, the coins have legal tender status. The official distributor of these Panda coins is the China Gold Corp Corporation (part of the People's Bank of China).
The Panda coins are minted in various mints in China, including the mints in Shenzhen and Shanghai. The coins of previous vintages do not have hallmarks on the coin to identify the respective mint house.
The gold Panda coins have legal tender status in China and the face value is shown on the front of the coin. Also shown here is the weight and the designation Au .999 indicating that the coin was struck in 99.9% pure gold.
The obverse of Chinese Panda coins features an image of one or more giant pandas. This design is changed every year and there have already been several variants with the panda sitting in a tree or mostly depicted with bamboo sticks. The giant panda is known in the Netherlands, among others, through the WWF logo. The panda is native to China and other areas of Asia. It is estimated that there are only 1,000 to 2,000 pandas living in the wild today.
As mentioned earlier, the design of the Panda coins is changed every year. An exception was 2001-2002, when the same designs were used with the gold panda coins. The history of the Panda coins also clearly shows that the design becomes a bit more "modern" every year. Whereas the first panda coins involved a rather simple display of the giant panda, the design was tightened up considerably after that. To represent the colours of the giant panda as white and black, a plain background or a matte finish was used in the first years of the Panda series. With the new panda coins, the fur of the giant panda is more beautifully rendered and the design is also much sharper than before.
The design of the gold panda coins is similar to the silver variant and the same design is also used on the smaller denominations in which these coins are issued.