Just out for its eighth issue, the Royal Mints Shēngxiào Collection continues with its eclectic take on the ancient Asian calendar that has become such a popular part of the numismatic market. The first six issues in this series wrapped up the last Lunar Cycle, and had an artistic aesthetic that was one of the more divisive out there. They were certainly different, and we really liked some of them, but it was clear that popularity could be regained by a more conservative and natural style.
Conservative doesn’t mean boring, however, and Harry Brockway has done an exceptional job continuing on with the style that debuted last year with a superb Year of the Rat design by P.J. Lynch. He was also responsible for the love-hate Pig design in 2019, but there’s little to dislike about this excellent issue. It combines a little of that ‘fairy tale’ background which first appeared in the pig coin, but has paired it with a far superior depiction of the animal, one perhaps inspired by the 18th & 19th century paintings of racehorses you see in country mansions. We prefer it to the Perth Mints new silver design, if we’re being honest, although that mints gold design puts up a tougher fight.
Unlike their Western Australian competitor, the Royal Mint has a single design covering both gold and silver, both of which are inscribed with just the title and date. The wide range of options, while not particularly friendly to those of us with less than packed wallets, does make the most of the artwork. Gold comes in 1kg (£63,865), 5oz (£10,605), 1oz (£2,320) and ¼oz (£585), and silver has a slightly smaller range with 1oz (£85),
5oz (£420), and 1kg (£2,050) offerings. A £13 BU cupro-nickel version is available for those who want to give a small gift to many people on the occasion. The Jody Clark effigy of QEII is on the obverse of all versions.
All coins are available to order now and all are well presented in subtle, high-quality boxes, with serialised C.O.A.’s. Bullion versions in both metals should arrive shortly in the one-ounce format. All told, a very nice addition to the Shengxiao Lunar range and one of the classier designs we’ve seen so far.