Feng Shui is an old Chinese philosophical system that aims to harmonise everyone with their surrounding environment. Translating in English to “wind-water”, it is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The practice of feng shui known to many in the West interprets architecture in metaphoric terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi. As you’d expect, this bring lots of cranks out of the woodwork selling their ‘skills’ to the gullible, but it’s recognised that some of the more general principles may have useful properties.
Issued for Niue, the New Zealand Mint’s Feng Shui series first debuted back in 2012 with a beautiful coin depicting a pair of Koi carp done in the traditional Far Eastern style. Initially produced in only a 1oz fine silver format with partial colouring, two years later saw the launch of the same designs in ¼oz fine gold. With a slightly increased frequency of release, it was in January 2016 that the gold and silver coins finally drew level with six of each. At the time of writing, a seventh silver coin has just launched depicting the Money Toad, but there’s no sign of the gold as yet. Because of this, the same coin will have been issued under two dates, so the first date for each release below is for the silver, the second for the gold (where a difference exists).
This is a fine series of coins, although as you’d expect from any series, some are better than others. The Koi and Cranes coins in silver are particular highlights and one of the main reasons the series is so highly thought of. The Dragon looks good but suffers from having a red crystal embedded in it, the only coin so adorned and a disappointing change, but thankfully absent on the new Money Toad coin. In gold it’s a different story, with all the coins being of a high standard and superbly struck. We’re fortunate that they remain devoid of colour and adornment. The packaging of the gold takes a back seat however. The wooden box used by the New Zealand Mint for most of their gold output is in use here again, and it’s a quality item, but the silver presentation is superior. A lacquered box, a different colour for every release, is one of the best themed boxes out there and a great presentation for the coin.
With seven coins now out there and likely an eighth to come, this popular set makes a nice collection, especially in gold. All of them are generally available, although the silver Koi is sold out at the mint. Prices are stable, although we’ve noticed the mint price for the gold has risen from $550 USD to $630, strange given the low price of the yellow metal over the last couple of years. Mintage of the gold is set at 888, with the number 8 very lucky in Chinese culture. The silver started out at 8,000 coins, but from the Horses release it dropped to 5,000 where it has remained.