The Ancient Chinese legend of the Eight Immortals is the inspiration for the Carpathian Mint’s latest release

After several years of high activity, it’s been a little quieter in the coin world on the Chinese mythology front of late. There are still a couple of series in progress, and Precious Metal Collectors have an extremely eclectic range, but nothing new for a while. Step up the new Carpathian Mint with a series based around one of the greatest Chinese legends – that of the Eight Immortals, of which there is more below.

The first of the eight to appear in this series is one of the three who were actual historical figures, Zhang Guolao. Zhang was a wanderer, known for travelling around on the back of a white mule, backwards. Weirdly, this is mythology after all, at the end of each day, he would fold his mule up and put it in a small box, pouring water from his mouth onto it when he needed to use it again. I’m not sure what the author of the tale was smoking, but I want some…

This is a traditional two-ounce silver coin, employing the genre’s signature style of high-relief, no rim, and an antique finish. They often have a highlight on the reverse face, like an inset stone or crystal, gilding, or colour, the last of which is used here. This Zhang Guolao coin seems to be particularly packed with details, an impressive achievement, and seems to draw from older Asian styles. Zhang is pictured as in the tales, riding his mule backwards, and is coloured brightly. It certainly encapsulates the essence of the legend well.

We’re pleased to see a terrific obverse as well, depicting the residence of the gods, also seen in the background of the reverse face. The herons that follow the Eight Immortals around are shown in flight throughout, and the whole idyllic scene fills the face. The effigy of Queen Elizabeth II is placed to one side, and the inscriptions are sympathetically placed. The coin comes boxed with a C.O.A. and the mintage is 500 pieces. Available to order now.


The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary xian (“immortals”) in Chinese mythology. Each immortal’s power can be transferred to a vessel that can bestow life or destroy evil. Together, these eight vessels are called the “Covert Eight Immortals”. Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang or Song Dynasty. They are revered by the Taoists and are also a popular element in secular Chinese culture. They are said to live on a group of five islands in the Bohai Sea, which includes Mount Penglai. Among the Eight Immortals, Zhang Guolao, Zhongli Quan and Lü Yan were real historical figures.

01: He Xiangu (何仙姑), in modern context generally seen as the only female of the group, often depicted holding a lotus flower.
02: Cao Guojiu (曹國舅), related to a Song dynasty emperor before he became an immortal.
03: Li Tieguai (李鐵拐), considered to be mentally disturbed and associated with medicine and easing the suffering of the sick and needy, identified by his iron crutch and Calabash bottle.
04: Lan Caihe (藍采和), originally pictured as female later developed an ambiguous or more accurately, a “transformative” gender and is considered the patron of florists and gardeners.
05: Lü Dongbin (呂洞賓), a scholar and poet considered to be the leader of the Eight Immortals.
06: Han Xiangzi (韓湘子), a flute artist.
07: Zhang Guolao (張果老), a fangshi symbol of longevity.
08: Zhongli Quan (鍾離權), associated with death and the power to create silver and gold, often depicted holding a fan.


COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra high-relief, Colour
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes