Finally, the eagerly awaited Chinese Panda bullion and proof coins have appeared, and after much speculation over the last couple of years, the rumours that the weight system would change have been confirmed as true. At present, bullion coins especially are struck in weights conforming to the old Troy ounce system, with a ounce weighing 31.1g and anything smaller being known as a fractional, with weights such as ¼ and ½ ounce being common. In the modern world, this kind of measuring system is backward, awkward and should have passed into obscurity years ago. As with many things however, time and tradition are hard things to overcome, so we find ourselves stuck with it. Lets be clear, metric is simple to understand, easy to use and fits in with how pretty much everything else in the world is measured.
China is less encumbered with this system than others, so has taken the first step in the metricisation of coin weights. The old ¼ oz weighed 7.78g ( a good example of how stupid the system was). The new weight from the Peoples Bank of China is 8g. The old ounce of 31.1g is replaced with a simple 30g. Prices should adjust to the weight where necessary. The system is clear, logical and in our view, should be the way forward. Whether that ever happens is another matter given how ingrained the old system is, but metric weights are standard all over the world with the notable exception of the United States, and even there its use is widespread in the scientific community. It’ll be interesting watching if there is resistance or acceptance. To assuage stackers and collectors, the more controversial decision to remove the coins composition and purity has been reversed, and now the weight and fineness sit back where they belong on the reverse face.
The design is a great one for me. Not copying a recent design again is a huge plus and we reckon it’s one of the nicest single-panda designs for many years. Better, but still not great official images from the mint also help. As before the coins will be available hopefully sometime before the end of the year. They’re struck by Shenzhen Guobao Mint, Shenyang Mint, and the Shanghai Mint. There are now 9 gold weights available instead of just 7, the extras being a 50g and a 100g, very roughly analogous to 2oz and 3oz weight classes. That’s a very welcome touch as it substantially lowers the entry fee to getting a gold proof Panda coin.
All the coins are laid out below rather than just our usual selection so that you can see all the new weights. The images are the best we can get at present, but we’ll try to get some actual images asap. Anyone out there who can provide an early sample?