96 Zodiac brings fresh blood to the lunar market with ’96 Rat’ and its denominated silver certificate

Now, we’ve given extensive coverage to the Lunar coin market over our relatively short existence, producing several annual guides to the plethora of releases and with more to come. Doing so, you pick up on trends, which like the movie industry, tend to bring those ‘inspired’ by new ideas to join in with copycats. It’s not often we see something that while not pushing envelopes in design, offers a really compelling package.

Singapore-based Precious Metal Collectors has jumped into the genre with their new ’96 Zodiac’ series, kicking off with the 2020 Year of the Rat, of course. Taking the 2oz antique-finished and rimless format that is the darling of the ancient world coin genre, is quite different within itself, and the design is a neat change from the often overly busy efforts produced elsewhere.

We often forget that the Lunar Calendar isn’t just a subject for coins, but also a societal bedrock for a large percentage of the world’s population. The package that PMC have put together is clearly from someone that is part of this, rather than as an outsider looking in. The 96 motif calls upon Asian beliefs in numerology, as those who see lunar mintages of 888, 8888 etc. will already know.

The presentation is first class. A custom leather box holds the coin and its accompanying certificate. That Certificate of Authenticity, called ‘By Order of the Spectres’, is worthy of mention on its own. Like some of the Marvel Comics coins, this C.O.A. is made entirely of silver. At 3.1 grams, it has reasonable heft to it, and is richly decorated on both sides. Why both sides, you might ask. One side carries the certification, the other the certificates own denomination. That’s right, the C.O.A. is a coin in its own right!

The best thing of all – a mintage of just 96 pieces. The lunar market remains rich with new releases, but this one strikes a chord here for the obvious care put into it and to its exclusivity. An really neat issue, devoid of design gimmickry, different, and presented as a gift should be. Available shortly, be sure to check out PMC for updates.


In Chinese numerology, the numbers 9 and 6 represent masculinity and femininity respectively. The union of both numbers represents the holy matrimony of a couple and a sign of good tidings. Leading a virtuous existence helps to cultivate one’s wisdom, thereby enabling one to identify opportunities in life. The path to a virtuous existence starts with being mindful of one’s actions and conduct.

REVERSE: The 2 oz fine-silver coin is struck in ultra high relief and complemented with antique finishing. The collectible features the rat as the focal point on the reverse, while the Year of the Rat is paired with the round symbol of the series title, “96”. The reverse is finished with a textured background.

OBVERSE: Features the official effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and legal tender of Niue with a value of 5 Dollars.

CERTIFICATE: The collectible is certified with a Certificate of Authenticity, made from 999 Ag in 0.1 oz. Every certificate is serialised and of legal tender with a value of 25 Cents in the country of Niue and is tied to each individual coin attesting to the authenticity of the collectible coin.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Bullion
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes