Now seven years old, the Royal Mints Shēngxiào Collection has always been a slightly eccentric take on the whole Lunar Calendar style of coin. Initially employing British-Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho to design the coin range, they were unusual, but polarising, so last year, the mint changed designer to Harry Brockway. The Year of the Pig design he produced seemed to be even more love:hate than the earlier coins, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see a return to more traditional art styles for 2020.
The honours this year fall to P.J.Lynch, who we feel has produced a very nice piece of work indeed. Depicting a rat in some dense floral undergrowth, it’s a nice dynamic piece, exhibiting more than just a simple portrait-style look. The gold and silver design remains the same, with the obverse the usual unadorned effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark.
Plenty of purchase options. Gold comes in 1kg (tbc), 5oz (£9,995), 1oz (£2,100) and ¼oz (£530) variants, with silver having a slightly smaller range with 1oz (£85), 5oz (£420), and 1kg (£2,050) variants on offer. A brilliant uncirculated bas-metal version is also available for £13.00 for those that want the design at a cheap price. A sensible move given the gift nature of coins with this theme.
All the coins are available to order now, and the Royal Mint has a some backstory on their site you won’t find very interesting at all. A note to the mint, when you’re choosing ‘important’ people born under the Year of the Rat, try not to skip over Mozart, George Washington, Plato and Tchaikovsky, in favour of Mark Zuckerberg, Bono, Jeremy Clarkson and Jonathon Ross. We live in a dumb enough culture without you adding to it. Other than that, great coin and hopefully a new direction for the series.