Commemorative panda coins are issues with extra words inscribed to commemorate a certain event. Here we will look at two types of commemorative panda coins. The first type are pandas designed and made for the commemoration of anniversaries of the panda series. Examples include the 1991 gold and silver panda piedforts (for the 10th anniversary of panda coins), the 2002 kilo silver panda with gold inlay (for the 20th anniversary of panda coins) and the 2007 25th anniversary gold and silver panda sets.
The second type are panda coins released to commemorate different events such as the Chinese Coin Expo Commemoration Series, Chinese Commercial Banks Anniversary Series, Chinese Year of Tourism Commemoration, Chongqing Direct-Controlled Municipality Anniversary, Zhuhai Aerospace Expo Commemoration, Shenyang Gardening Expo Commemoration. The list goes on. These special releases are at best cousins of panda coins, as they are made simply by scribing extra words on existing panda coin depictions issued in the same year. That said, some of these series such as the Coin Expo Series do catch considerable attention from investors and collectors and they do generally have a mintage which is a fraction of their cousins.
Over the years, some coins are proven to be sound investment choices such as the 1991 gold (1 oz) and silver (2 oz) piedforts. Piedforts are extra thick coins. In addition – the 2002 platinum pandas – albeit to a lesser extent and the Coin Expo Series and the Commercial Bank Anniversary Series.
The coin expo pandas and the Bank Anniversary pandas on the other hand have enough coins to make their own distinct collectable series, keeping them on high demand by themed collectors and people who work in the finance industry. In terms of collectable value, the unique nature of these commemorative coins makes them a nice and affordable entry point for panda coin beginners. Collectors can easily choose to collect all the panda anniversary coins, which are at the moment quite affordable, to form a nice introductory set for their panda coin collections. Or, they can choose to collect the Coin Expo Pandas or the Bank Anniversary pandas, along with the other commemoration coins from the same event to form a complete and eye-catching themed collection.
Official commemorative panda coins and medals are usually designed and made in commemoration of various coin expositions or trade shows. Usually they have either the Great Wall or Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) on the obverse side, together with a famous landmark or architecture of the coin expo’s host city. On the reverse side are the different panda designs. Even though these coins do not belong to any of the annual panda coin series, they are cherished as a part of the panda coin family. Expo pandas can be categorized again into three sub-types: those from American Shows (e.g American Numismatic association (ANA) medals and ANA expo medals), European Expo medals (e.g Munich medals, Brussels medals and Zurich medals), and Hong Kong medals.
To the credit of the brilliant designers, no two Panda designs are the same despite the large variety of expo coins and medals. Panda medals lack the face value or denomination that would be present on a coin. One ounce silver panda coins have a face value of 10 Yuan; in the absence of this, it would be a medal.
The pandas on each coin are all different – sometimes playful, naughty; otherwise climbing trees or eating bamboo; some pandas can be seen on the coins playing in a field or with female panda bears cuddling their cubs. Each coin-type captures a striking aspect in the lives of these intriguing and beautiful creatures. It is this large variety and the intricate details in the panda designs that makes the expo pandas along with panda coins in general loved the world over.
All four precious metals, gold, silver, platinum and palladium have been used to produce these commemoratives. Bimetallic medals have been produced in 1990 and 1991 as well. To many, this group of pandas are currently under-valued, with experienced coin collectors realizing their true potential.
Also of note, there are also a few non-expo commemorative pandas, such as the silver, purple copper and gold plated panda for the 10th gold panda anniversary.