Proof versions of the Royal Mint’s Shengxiao Lunar range for the Year of the Ox are revealed in gold & silver

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.


The Royal Mint continues its Shēngxiào collection with a commemorative coin celebrating Lunar Year of the Ox – one of the most beloved and respected creatures in Chinese culture.

This Lunar Year of the Ox commemorative coin blends elements of traditional British design with ancient Chinese culture and is designed by Harry Brockway – the man behind the design of the 2019 Year of the Pig commemorative coin. The design depicts a powerful ox grazing in a meadow with bluebells in the foreground and blossom tress beyond, complete with a picturesque countryside setting and prominently features the traditional Chinese symbol for the ox, centrally placed above the sacred herbivore.

The series is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multi-cultural society, lending a unique British angle to this ancient custom. During Chinese New Year it is common to exchange tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.

Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “We have been marking each Zodiac symbol on a commemorative coin as part of The Shēngxiào Collection since 2014. Combining centuries of The Royal Mint’s craftsmanship and artistic skills with a centuries-old Chinese tradition. The series has grown in popularity over the years and has become an eagerly anticipated annual release amongst coin collectors across the globe. We are thrilled to continue celebrate Chinese New Year with the Lunar Year of the Ox commemorative coin the second animal of the Chinese zodiac cycle – a beautiful fusion of British and Chinese tradition.”

The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle with each year characterised by a different animal. Ancient legend tells of a Great Race between the animals. Several variants of the story exist, but in one popular interpretation the Jade Emperor, ruler of the heavens, declared that the first 12 animals to sign up would be eligible to take part, and the order they finished in would determine the order of the lunar calendar.

The Ox is considered one of the most beloved and respected creatures in Chinese culture. Hailed for its hard work and diligence in the field, the ox is highly respected in China and these industrious traits are also subsequently associated with those born under the ox sign.

DENOMINATION £25 UKP £100 UKP £500 UKP £1000 UKP
COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold 0.999 gold
WEIGHT 7.8 grams 31.21 grams 156.295 grams 1005.00 grams
DIMENSIONS 22.0 mm 32.69 mm 50.0 mm 100.0 mm
FINISH Proof Proof Proof Proof
BOXED MINTAGE 388 888 28 8
TOTAL MINTAGE 398 898 30 10
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.21 grams 156.295 grams 1005.00 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.61 mm 65.00 mm 100.00 mm
FINISH Proof Proof Proof
BOXED MINTAGE 2618 188 28
TOTAL MINTAGE 3998 198 38
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes