As we rapidly approach the new lunar calendar year, we can look back at a huge range of coin issues celebrating it. The numismatic world is unusual in that it’s often a year before it changes when we start seeing new issues. Dragon coins were coming out as the Year of the Rabbit had only just started, and that premature schedule has always been the case, at least in the decade we’ve been around.
However, it’s important to remember that the Lunar Calendar is about more than just the twelve animals, and the date is also one of the biggest holiday events in the world, replete with its own traditions. Chief amongst these is the giving of gifts, predominately red envelopes called hongbao, which contain money, and are often given under the auspices of Caishen, the Chinese God of Wealth, although many regional variations occur.
This new release from MK Coins combines the deity with the lunar animal, a pair of them, in fact. The god holds a traditional gift box in one hand, with a ruyi sceptre in the other, and stands against a backdrop of money and treasure. Flanking him to the left and right are a pair of Chinese-style dragons, snaking upwards. The obverse carries on the design, with a look at the scene from behind. It isn’t subtle, but it is exquisitely detailed, with a beautiful use of dual-sided high-relief.
This is a two-ounce silver coin, and in what is quickly becoming an MK Coin’s signature detail, available in a choice of three finishes. The most populous of them is the fully gilded version, with a mintage of 699, which is hardly surprising given the cultural significance of gold in Asia. The next most common has a mintage capped at 199 pieces, and sports an antique finish, and in a surprising twist, the clean silver version is the rarest, with just 99 being struck. All come in a very fancy wooden box, clearly designed in the spirit of the celebrations. One would be a super cool gift on the day. All should be available to order now,