NGC Registry

Panda Halves

Category: China - Panda
Set Type: Gold 1/2 Ounce Panda, Mint State and Proof
Owner: Panda Halves
Last Modified: 11/26/2011
Views: 234

Award Time Rank: 3
Award Time Score: 46735

Set Description

Panda Half Collecting

Half ounce gold panda coins are rare, beautiful, and important in the Chinese numismatic world. They are large, artfully designed, and fun to collect. Most panda half dates have exponentially increased in value without connection to their actual bullion content. High grade panda halves provide the optimum mix of investment and collection strategies.

Chinese coin mintage numbers are often lower than many popular Western collector coins by several fold. The lower mintage numbers paired with a higher population base with an exponentially increasing number of high-net-worth individuals made Chinese coins an obvious choice as an investment medium. Of the different Chinese coins available, the panda stood out to me as the most widely recognized and available coin. Pandas also seemed to be the coins with the greatest variety and challenge to collect. After choosing to collect Chinese gold panda coins the next step was to choose the size to focus on.

The half ounce gold pandas are often seen by most Chinese Modern Coin experts as the rarest coins in the entire series. The 1998 G50Y panda still stands out as the BU coin with the lowest actual mintage gold panda of any coin from any year (excluding date varieties). Prices on the 1998 G50Y are often two or three times higher than the 1oz coins. More and more half ounce panda coins are increasing in value beyond their 1oz counterparts with twice the gold content. The reason for the huge premiums on half ounce gold pandas is that they are scarcer. The 1oz coins often have four times the mintage numbers of the halves. Additionally because 1oz coins were the most popular worldwide collectible size, more of them survived the melting pot than the less desirable and oddly denominated panda halves.

When compared with other sizes, panda halves are true “economy of force” coins for the collector. ( I began my collection the coins were still tied very closely to their bullion content and the premiums on the halves weren’t any higher than their one ounce counterparts. I actually started collecting halves because the one ounce coins were not as affordable and I felt that owning two “rarer” half ounce coins from different years was a better long term play than owning a single more common large coin for approximately double the price.

While panda halves are fractional coins they still have a 27mm diameter and boast large enjoyable fields with detailed and complex reliefs that can be appreciated with the naked eye. Quarter ounce pandas are also a good choice for collectors and I almost started a collection of these, but the panda halves were both rarer, and offered more in terms of eye-appeal.

In a full MS and PF set of panda halves the 1993 and 1994 proof coins are also standout years because the fields on these coins are the largest for the year. While these dates sport highly desirable bi-metallic pieces with a 30mm diameter vice the 27mm panda half, the fields of the coins themselves are the same as the 22mm 1/4 ounce pandas.

A full MS and PF panda registry set of any size offers the additional advantage of diversification. Many of the newest issues and a few of the issues from the 1980’s are still considered bullion coins. A full set will contain many rarities but also a fair amount of coins which are still connected to their bullion content. This strategy enables the collector to have adequate protection against rising gold prices by owning bullion coins and the security of owning rarer pieces that are detached from their gold value entirely. Thus if gold falls, the rare pieces remain strong in price. If gold climbs excessively then the set value also climbs in tandem with rising precious metal prices.

All of the above factors are what initially attracted me to high-end 1/2 gold panda coins and continue to attract me as a collector. I almost exclusively use NGC as my grading company of choice because I believe their standards are accurate, their holders are more secure and attractive, and their guarantee is solid. I also see them as being the premier grading company with regard to market penetration in China which is a big deal in terms of the Chinese numismatic market. The majority of my coins are in the newer style holders but there are some which remain in their older holders for historic and display purposes. My two favorite coins in old holders are my 1987Y because it is labeled MS69 with a PL designator and 2008, because the new holder switchover took place later in the year making that coin a likely early release.

A major factor in the price appreciation of panda halves has been the Chinese concept of Tao (sets) and how it relates to the panda market. Chinese buyers are preferring to buy entire date sets (or full tao) of 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1oz coins for any given year. Because of this demand for full date sets and the fact that the half is the scarcest coin in most years, the price of the individual half ounce pieces has increased exponentially. There are many sets out there with missing half ounce coins. As Mr. Huang Ruiyong notes in a recent Chinese article, there is now a saying amongst Eastern and Western gold panda enthusiasts that, “He who acquires the half ounce gold panda acquires the whole set.” The meaning is that because the half is the rarest and often exponentially most expensive piece for a given date set, once you own the half it is usually fairly easy to get the rest of the pieces needed for a set.

It took the help of many individuals and dealers to make my set the way it is and I appreciate everyone who has given me advice and assistance. I particularly would like to thank Peter Anthony for his network of connections, database of invaluable information, sage advice and keen market understanding. Many coins in my set were made possible either directly or indirectly with the help and advice of Mr. Anthony. A great deal of passion, effort, enthusiasm, and drama is behind many of the coins in my set. I continue to accumulate the best halves I can for my set. I am happy to display the entire set for my fellow Modern Chinese Coin enthusiasts and panda collectors to enjoy.

Happy Collecting,
Panda Halves

Many thanks to the following businesses and individuals for countless efforts in helping me build this fine registry set (in alphabetical order):
CE Collection: / Colin
China Huayin Gold and Silver Coins: / Xuhong
China Modern Coins LLC / Arif
Chinese Coin Forum: / Countless Members
Coinex: / Richard
Live Business Chat: / badon and tamo42
Majestic Rarities: / Nick
Mish International: / Robert
NGC Collector’s Society Members / Pandora, Abby Rose, Straits Settlements, Obsidian, MaciejB,, and Russ736
Panda America: / Especially Peter, Vince, and William
Rare Panda Coins: / Jay

Best Presented Set

Slot DescriptionFull GradeScore Updated
View Coin 1982 Mint State 1/2oz MS 69 1558 11/30/2011
View Coin 1983 Mint State 50Y MS 69 1239 11/28/2011
View Coin 1984 Mint State 50Y MS 69 1103 11/30/2011
View Coin 1985 Mint State 50Y MS 69 891 11/30/2011
View Coin 1986 Mint State 50Y MS 69 820 11/28/2011
View Coin 1986 Proof 50Y PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO 949 11/28/2011
View Coin 1987S Mint State 50Y MS 69 941 11/28/2011
View Coin 1987Y Mint State 50Y MS 69 941 11/28/2011
View Coin 1987P Proof 50Y PF 70 ULTRA CAMEO 1461 11/28/2011
View Coin 1988 Mint State 50Y MS 69 874 11/28/2011
View Coin 1988 Proof 50Y PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO 974 11/28/2011
View Coin 1989 Mint State 50Y MS 69 908 11/30/2011
View Coin 1989 Proof 50Y PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO 908 11/30/2011
View Coin 1990 Mint State 50Y MS 70 1438 11/28/2011
View Coin 1990 Proof 50Y PF 70 ULTRA CAMEO 1427 11/28/2011
View Coin 1991 Mint State 50Y MS 70 1345 11/28/2011
View Coin 1991 Proof 50Y PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO 949 11/30/2011
View Coin 1992 Mint State 50Y MS 69 908 11/28/2011
View Coin 1992 Proof 50Y PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO 925 11/28/2011
View Coin 1993 Mint State 50Y MS 70 1369 11/28/2011
View Coin 1993 Proof 50Y PF 70 ULTRA CAMEO 1547 11/28/2011
View Coin 1994 Mint State 50Y MS 70 1609 11/28/2011
View Coin 1994 Proof 50Y PF 70 ULTRA CAMEO 1599 11/30/2011
View Coin 1995 Mint State 50Y MS 69 1271 11/30/2011
View Coin 1996 Mint State 50Y MS 70 1438 11/30/2011
View Coin 1997 Mint State 50Y MS 69 925 11/30/2011
View Coin 1998 Mint State 50Y MS 69 908 11/30/2011
View Coin 1999 Mint State 50Y MS 70 1438 11/30/2011
View Coin 2000 Mint State 50Y MS 69 856 11/28/2011
View Coin 2001 Mint State 200Y MS 69 838 11/30/2011
View Coin 2001D Mint State 200Y MS 70 1393 11/30/2011
View Coin 2002 Mint State 200Y MS 70 1296 11/28/2011
View Coin 2003 Mint State 200Y MS 69 838 11/28/2011
View Coin 2004 Mint State 200Y MS 69 856 11/28/2011
View Coin 2005 Mint State 200Y MS 69 820 11/28/2011
View Coin 2006 Mint State 200Y MS 69 820 11/28/2011
View Coin 2007 Mint State 200Y MS 70 1271 11/28/2011
View Coin 2008 Mint State 200Y MS 70 1271 11/30/2011
View Coin 2009 Mint State 200Y MS 70 1271 11/28/2011
View Coin 2010 Mint State 200Y MS 70 1271 11/28/2011
View Coin 2011 Mint State 200Y MS 70 EARLY RELEASES 1271 11/28/2011

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