Scottsdale move from Egypt’s Pharaohs to China’s Terracotta Army for its latest chunky bullion coin

Over the last few years, Scottsdale Mint has dived fully into the legal-tender bullion coin market with a constant stream of interesting and well-designed products. While there have been a few gold coins in amongst the mix, the focus has primarily been on the burgeoning silver market. As well as standard formats, Scottsdale also brought to market a very cool Egyptian range which were five-ounces in weight and had a unique finish to the edge. The last of them, Nefertiti, came out last October and was a great example of the type.

This year we were expecting another Egyptian coin – after all, there’s no shortage of subjects to choose from in this ancient and long-lived civilisation, but instead, we’re moving eastwards to one of the other powerhouse ancient cultures. China has a history that is also pretty impressive, being old and full of drama. While their burial sites don’t come up to the grandiose splendour of the Egyptians (few do, to be honest), there’s one site in particular that makes a claim to being the world’s most impressive tomb.

A great subject for a coin and one not common in modern numismatics, the Terracotta Army seems a perfect fit for Scottsdale’s chunky format. Depicting a view of the army with a close-up on one warrior in particular, it’s a cool idea that has been very well realised. The same chiselled edge that gave the Egyptian coins such a unique look, remains. The finish also stays the same, with the antiqued look a perfect choice.

There has been a change in issuing country. While the range used to be issued for the African Republic of Chad, the Chinese-themed coins have moved across to the Oceanic island nation of Fiji. The change is a minor one and just comprises the use of a different national emblem – one of a similar style anyway.

The packaging has changed from a cardboard box to a ‘hessian-style’ bag. A bit harder to stack of course, it’s hard to argue that they don’t look great. Another very nice touch. Available to order shortly, these remain true bullion coins and have a pretty tight premium given the work that has gone into them. It’s a coin we’d recommend to the collector as well, as if previous issues are any indicator, these will be fine looking designs in hand. The mintage is capped at just 10,000 pieces and it should be available today from Scottsdale, JM Bullion, and APMEX amongst others.


The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang (literally the “First Emperor of Qin”) was discovered on 29 March 1974 about 1.5 km east of his tomb mound at Mount Li. Fragments of the terracotta figures, along with pieces of the necropolis structures, had been found in the area for years, which led to Chinese archaeologists investigating. They found the largest pottery figurine group yet unearthed and it just snowballed from there.

The construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian (145–90 BCE) in his most noted work Shiji, written a century after the mausoleum’s completion. Work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin (then aged 13) ascended the throne, and the project eventually involved 700,000 workers until its completion in 206 BCE. The scale of the tomb complex is quite staggering. The layout of the mausoleum is modelled on the Qin capital Xianyang, divided into inner and outer cities. The circumference of the inner city is 2.5 km and the outer is 6.3 km. The Chinese have used ground-penetrating radar and core sampling and have determined the complex covers an incredible 98 square kilometers.


An earthen mound holds the Emperor’s tomb itself, but sensibly, the Chinese have decided not to excavate until they can be assured that no damage will occur to the contents. When the Terracotta Army was uncovered, the figures were covered in paint, which you will notice now only by its absence. The lacquer covering the paint can curl in as little as fifteen seconds, and flake off completely in just four minutes!

The Terracotta Army itself is believed to hold more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. Only a fraction of them have been uncovered to date and much work remains to be done. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. It isn’t just military figures joining the Emperor in the afterlife. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.



Scottsdale Mint is pleased to announce a brand new bullion coin issued by Fiji – The 2018 Terracotta Army 5 oz Antique-Polished Silver Coin. This 5 oz coin has a 46mm diameter, ruptured edge, and an antique-polished finish that push the boundaries of any coin on the market. 

Qin Shi Huang, the founder of the Qin Dynasty, ruled as China’s first emperor  from 220–210 BC. To achieve immortality he commissioned the building of his own tomb – and an army to protect it. The Terracotta Army found in the Emperor’s burial complex was meant to guard his spirit in the afterlife. This massive collection consists of more than 8,000 life-size clay soldiers, horses, and chariots. Each clay figure is complete with armor, weapons, and unique facial features. Since being discovered by farmers in 1974, the Terracotta Army is held as one of the most remarkable and mysterious discoveries of the ancient world. 

The 2018 Terracotta Army 5 oz Silver Coin has a limited mintage of 10,000 pieces. The coins, manufactured and distributed by Scottsdale Mint and legal tender in Fiji, are struck in .999+ silver and weigh 5 troy ounces each. 

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 155.5 grams
FINISH Antique
MINTAGE 10,000
BOX / COA Bag / Yes