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First released in 1982, China's legal-tender Gold and Silver Panda series have grown into two of the most collected and hotly anticipated annual issues in the world.
Now, for 2019, you can take home a Gold or Silver Panda with its mint of origin certified by NGC!
Dating back to ancient times, mint marks have helped us identify where a coin was struck, where it may have been since then, and exactly how rare it is. Unfortunately for Panda collectors, 1987 was the only year that Panda coins featured mint marks. Both before and since, collectors have questioned why the China Mint hasn't followed the example set by the U.S. Mint's Gold and Silver Eagle series, which allows buyers to know if their coin was struck at the San Francisco, West Point or Philadelphia Mint. Why not allow the three mints striking China Pandas to add their own mint marks?
They're a secretive bunch, but we've found a solution. And to our knowledge, we're the only ones that have figured it out!
For 2019, evidence has been supplied to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) that has allowed them to certify coins as coming from a distinct mint—Shenzhen, Shanghai or Shenyang. Shenzhen is essentially the equivalent of our Philadelphia Mint—China's "Mother Mint," striking the bulk of their coins. But the other two of those mints are far smaller, and strike coins to satisfy domestic rather than international demand. Though Shanghai and Shenyang Mints are secretive about their mintages, it's believed that only 20% of the 2019 mintages will be struck at both mints combined!.
Simply put: this is huge.
Why is this discovery so important? Knowing a coin's mint of origin allows you to understand just how scarce it really is. For example, the 1885 Morgan Silver Dollar was struck at several branches of the U.S. Mint. From the Philadelphia Mint, a coin in Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition can cost you around $70. But add in the coveted "CC" mint mark of the Carson City Mint, and an 1885 Morgan in the same exact condition is suddenly worth nearly $900!
This is not an isolated example. You can also look at the 1995-W Silver Eagle Proof, the first Silver Eagle to bear the "W" mint mark of the West Point Mint. While a 1995 Silver Eagle Proof struck at the Philadelphia Mint is listed by NGC as being worth $375 in flawless condition, a perfect 1995-W, a coin that is far more scarce, is worth over $18,000!
One of the most enticing elements of the Gold and Silver Pandas is their one-year-only designs. For 2019, artist Tong Fang has created a touching scene of a mother panda gently holding her cub.
Another important element is that each coin comes struck in 99.9% fineness in either gold or silver and bears a legal-tender value. That value, along with the coin's weight and fineness, come backed by the authority of the Chinese government
When collectors seek out the latest issues of a popular series, they often look for the freshest, most crisp details possible. One of the ways they do that is by seeking out coins certified by NGC as either First Day of Issue (FDI), meaning they were secured from the mint on the very first day of release, One of First Struck, meaning they have been certified by the mint as being among the first of the mintage, or First Releases, meaning they were secured by NGC for grading within 30 days of the mintage's release.
When NGC certifies a coin's grade and designation, that coin is then sealed in a protective display holder to preserve its condition. Each exclusive label designating the coin's location, whether the coin was struck at Shenzhen, Shanghai or Shenyang, and will also bear the hand-written signature of Tong Fang, creator of this year's one-year-only design.
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