Exclusive! Stunning Zhao Yun coin from the Mint of Poland brings Ancient Chinese warrior to life in style

We’re not quite sure how the Mint of Poland has managed to maintain such a high standard of design for its numerous ancient history/mythology themed coins, but the fact remains it has done so. With such outstanding coins as Ares, Anubis, the White Horse of the Apocalypse and more, they’ve set the bar for new issues very high indeed. Their latest coin has no problems meeting and exceeding it, but there’s bad news.

With the recent popularity of KOMSCO’s Korean bullion round range, the demand for Ancient Asian themed coins has never been higher, so we’d expect this latest issue to be extra desirable. Regular readers will know the drill by now. Our first look at these coins usually entails ArtCAM renders and that’s the case here. Our second look is always being impressed at how good the finished article is, and we’ve no reason to suspect otherwise for Zhao Yun.

A Chinese warrior of the third century, Zhao Yun is pretty well known in China, but less so elsewhere, although coin collectors are used to learning about some of these ancient gods, myths and historical figures from this hugely impressive numismatic genre. The warrior on horseback isn’t a new idea, but it’s rarely been realised so well as it has here. The spear has lent the artwork a sense of perspective often missing from lesser examples. The obverse carries the obligatory mugshot of QEII, but set against a backdrop of Chinese dragons. Again, this looks great and the mint is to be commended for its work customising what is usually a drab face, as it has with previously in similar series. We’ve not seen packaging yet, but it will come in a wooden box and the mintage is capped at 500 pieces.

A gorgeous coin in our view and up there with the best the Mennica Polska has put out recently. We did mention at the beginning that there is bad news, however. That is, the coin is to be sold only in China. Very disappointing and likely to make tracking one down both expensive and difficult (it ships at the end of March). Only you can decide if it’s worth the trouble. We suspect the answer will be yes if you want one as much as I do…


Zhao Yun (died 229), was a military general who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty and early Three Kingdoms period of China. Originally a subordinate of the northern warlord Gongsun Zan, Zhao Yun later came to serve another warlord, Liu Bei, and had since accompanied him on most of his military exploits, from the Battle of Changban (208) to the Hanzhong Campaign (217–219). He continued serving in the state of Shu Han – founded by Liu Bei in 221 – in the Three Kingdoms period and participated in the first of the Northern Expeditions until his death in 229.

While many facts about Zhao Yun’s life remain unclear due to limited information in historical sources, some aspects and activities in his life have been dramatised or exaggerated in folklore and fiction. In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he was lauded as a member of the Five Tiger Generals under Liu Bei. Zhao Yun’s original biography in the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), written by Chen Shou in the third century, is only 346 Chinese characters long. In the fifth century, Pei Songzhi added annotations from the Zhao Yun Biezhuan to Zhao Yun’s biography in the Sanguozhi, providing a relatively clear, though still incomplete picture of Zhao Yun’s life.

Zhao Yun died in 229 and was posthumously honoured as “Marquis Shunping” by Liu Shan in April or May 261. Liu Shan’s imperial edict for awarding Zhao Yun his posthumous title read: “Zhao Yun followed the Late Emperor and he made outstanding contributions. I was young then and experienced many difficulties, but I relied on his loyalty and faithfulness to get out of danger. I bestow this posthumous name on him to recognise him for his meritorious service and also because there were others who advised me to do so.” (Source: Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION $5 New Zealand (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra-high-relief, gilding
BOX / COA Yes / Yes