Chinese temple protectors, the Guardian Lions, emblazoned on new CIT silver coin duo

Earlier this year, Coin Invest Trust (CIT) launched a fine-looking coin called the Laughing Buddha. Struck in two ounces of silver, smartminted and selectively gilded, it rapidly sold out at the mint. Fast forward to the just passed Beiijing Coin Expo and CIT have debuted a cnew set in a similar vein. This time out, it’s a pair, although the two-ounce silver format remains.

Sticking with the Buddhist theme, Guardian Lions takes an iconic element of Chinese culture and uses it to craft a striking pair of coins. High relief is very much in evidence again, as is the black-proof finish. Each coin depicts one of the lion pair and they form an almost mirror image of each other, with a background image of Chinese architecture flowing from one to the other. Issued for Palau, that island nations shield emblem is placed in a small round space on the obverse, keeping most of this face free for a back view, also in high-relief, of the lion.

Packaging looks beautifully done. A black box holds the pair side by side, along with a certificate of authenticity. With eight being a lucky number in East Asian culture, it’s no surprise that the mintage is set at 888 pieces rather than the more usual 999. Attractive coins, the only downside is that a pair of smartminted 2 oz coins is never going to be bargain basement stuff, so the cost of entrance is over €300.00. For many of the huge number of fans of Chinese culture on numismatics, this will be a tempting purchase. Available to order now, it won’t ship until the end of February 2018.



Also called Foo Dogs, Chinese Guardian Lions originated and became popular in Chinese Buddhism, subsequently spread to other parts of Asia, from Japan to Laos. Generally thought to have started during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220), statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy.

Believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits, the lions are usually depicted in pairs. When used as statuary the pair would consist of a male leaning his paw upon an embroidered ball (in imperial contexts, representing supremacy over the world ) and a female restraining a playful cub that is on its back (representing nurture ). Symbolically, the female fu lion protects those dwelling inside (the living soul within ), while the male guards the structure ( the external material elements ) .

The lions are traditionally carved from decorative stone, such as marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron. Because of the high cost of these materials and the labor required to produce them, private use of guardian lions was traditionally reserved for wealthy or elite families. Indeed, a traditional symbol of a family’s wealth or social status was the placement of guardian lions in front of the family home. However, in modern times less expensive lions, mass-produced in concrete and resin, have become available and their use is therefore no longer restricted to the elite.

Chinese lions are intended to reflect the emotion of the animal as opposed to the reality of the lion. This is in distinct opposition to the traditional English lion which is a lifelike depiction of the animal. The claws, teeth and eyes of the Chinese lion represent power. Few if any muscles are visible in the Chinese lion whereas the English lion shows its power through its life like characteristics rather than through stylized representation.


COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIAMETER 38.61 mm
MODIFICATIONS Greyscale colour
BOX / COA Yes / Yes