Precious Metal Collectors returns to its innovative copper-cored silver coin format with the Azure Dragon

Continuing our look at Precious Metal Collectors innovative range of huge copper-cored silver coins, we come to the second of the coins in their Four Auspicious Beasts set, the White Tiger of the West. Following a very pretty Azure Dragon of the East, this one continues with the unusual format and artistic style.

For those unaware of the whole copper-cored concept, they use a standard amount of silver, in this case two ounces, and employ it as a skin for a larger copper core ( here, 11.5 ounces). This allows extremely impressives sizes and levels of relief for the precious metal content used. These coins are thick, full of high relief, and an impressive 80mm in diameter, compared to the more typical 40-45mm for a two ounce coin.

Considered a symbol of power and associated with metal, the White Tiger is a common symbol in Asian mythology and the pose chosen for the coin is a powerful one. The unusual depiction exudes power, and the big cat coming down from higher ground is a rare view indeed. Seen as a protector against mortal enemies and evil spirits, it looks capable of doing the job! The obverse continues with the Chinese celestial constellations, although the central area now reflects the change from Niue to Chad with the latters national emblem in place of the effigy of QEII.

The presentation on these is always first class, so we’d imagine anyone receiving one as a gift will be very pleased. The antique-finished and gilded coin has a mintage of 500 pieces and is available now.


The Four Symbols, or Four Guardians, are a quartet of mythological creatures in the East Asian constellations. They are the Azure Dragon of the East, the Vermilion Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Turtle of the North. Each one of them represents a direction and a season, and each has its own individual characteristics and origins. Symbolically and as part of spiritual and religious belief, they have been culturally important across China and East Asia, particularly Korea.

In 1987, a tomb was found at Xishuipo in Puyang, Henan. There were some clam shells and bones forming the images of the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, and the Big Dipper. It is believed that the tomb belongs to the Neolithic Age, dating to about 6,000 years ago. The Rongcheng Shi manuscript recovered in 1994 gives five directions rather than four and places the animals quite differently: Yu the Great gave banners to his people marking the north with a bird, the south with a snake, the east with the sun, the west with the moon, and the center with a bear.

The colours of the animals also match the colours of soil in the corresponding areas of China: the bluish-grey water-logged soils of the east, the reddish iron-rich soils of the south, the whitish saline soils of the western deserts, the black organic-rich soils of the north and the yellow soils from the central loess plateau.

These mythological creatures have also been synthesized into the five principles system. The Azure Dragon of the East represents Wood, the Vermilion Bird of the South represents Fire, the White Tiger of the West represents Metal, and the Black Turtle (or Dark Warrior) of the North represents Water. In this system, the fifth principle Earth is represented by the Yellow Dragon of the Center.

The four beasts each represent a season. The Azure Dragon of the East represents Spring, the Vermilion Bird of the South represents Summer, the White Tiger of the West represents Autumn, and the Black Turtle of the North represents Winter. (Source: Wikipedia)

DENOMINATION 5,000 Francs CFA (Chad)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver over 0.999 Copper
WEIGHT 62.2 grams silver / 357.7 grams copper
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, gilding
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes