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The Zodiac Animals



Rank: 14
Score: 9743
Leading by: 254
Points to Higher Rank: 245
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Set Description:

The 12 Zodiac animal signs are, in order, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (ram or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. There are many legends to explain the beginning of the zodiac (see Origins of the Chinese Zodiac). One of the most popular reads, in summarized form, as follows:

The rat was given the task of inviting the animals to report to the Jade Emperor for a banquet to be selected for the zodiac signs. The cat was a good friend of the rat, but the rat tricked him into believing that the banquet was the next day. The cat slept through the banquet, thinking that it was the next day. When he found out, the cat vowed to be the rat's natural enemy for ages to come.
Interestingly, the cat does make it into the Vietnamese Zodiac, in place of the rabbit (see below).

Another popular legend has it that a race was used to decide the animals to report to the Jade Emperor.

The cat and the rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although bad swimmers, they were both intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the ox. The ox, being a naïve and good-natured animal, agreed to carry them across. However, overcome with a fierce competitiveness, the rat decided that in order to win, it must do something and promptly pushed the cat into the river. Because of this, the cat has never forgiven the rat, and hates the water as well. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it claimed first place in the competition.

Following closely behind was the strong ox, and it was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, panting, while explaining to the Emperor just how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with powerful strength, it made to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle.

Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race but the rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the 4th animal in the zodiac cycle. Coming in 5th place was the dragon, flying and belching fire into the air. Of course, the Emperor was deeply curious as to why a strong and flying creature such as the dragon should fail to reach first. The mighty dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore he was held back a little. Then, on his way to the finish line, he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging on to a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the dragon, and he was added into the zodiac cycle. As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the horse appeared. Hidden on the horse's hoof is the snake, whose sudden appearance gave the horse a fright, thus making it fall back and gave the snake 6th spot while the horse took the 7th.

Not long after that, a little distance away, the ram, monkey and rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to where they are. The rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the ram and the monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore. Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the ram as the 8th creature, the monkey as the 9th, and the rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal is the dog. His explanation for being late—although he was supposed to be the best swimmer amongst the rest—was that he needed a good bath after a long spell, and the fresh water from the river was too big a temptation. For that, he almost didn't make it to finish line. Just as the Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little pig. The pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the pig continued the race and was named the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle. The cat finished too late (thirteenth) to win any place in the calendar, and vowed to be the enemy of the rat forevermore.

Some versions of the tale say that the cattle nominated a water buffalo to represent them because he was more proficient at swimming. The trade was acceptable because both animals are bovines.

Another version of the tale expands the race. The route ran through a forest, over ranges of plains and grasslands and along a stream, before finally crossing a lake to the destination town.

Yet another variation tells of two different races. The first involved all the animals, in two divisions to avoid the fast animals dominating the top, and the top six in each division would "make the cut" for a second round, which would then determine the order of placement of the animals in the zodiac.

In yet another variation, each animal was called before its peers and had to explain why it deserved a position at the top of the Zodiac. The Boar, at a loss, proceeded to claim that the meat on its bones "tasted good". This explanation was apparently considered unsatisfactory, because the Boar was placed at the very end of the Zodiac.

Another variation shows that the cat was (informally) the 13th month (13 being an unlucky number or 1+3 = 4, also a bad number) so any cats (and especially the black cat) are considered a bad omen. Another variation tells the tale where the dogs and the wild boars were the last ones (and almost were left out), and they share a mutual affection despite their differences.
 Slot DescriptionGradeServiceScore
View Coin 1999 RABBIT MS 70 NGC 597
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1999 GILT RABBIT  
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View Coin 2000 DRAGON MS 70 NGC 793
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2000 GILT DRAGON  
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View Coin 2001 SNAKE MS 70 NGC 701
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2001 GILT SNAKE  
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View Coin 2002 HORSE MS 70 NGC 597
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2002 GILT HORSE  
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View Coin 2003 GOAT MS 70 NGC 570
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2003 GILT GOAT  
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View Coin 2004 MONKEY MS 70 NGC 386
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2004 MONKEY - COLORIZED  
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2004 GILT MONKEY  
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View Coin 2005 ROOSTER MS 70 NGC 512
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2005 ROOSTER - COLORIZED  
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2005 GILT ROOSTER - BRILLIANT  
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2005 GILT ROOSTER -MATTE  
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View Coin 2006 DOG MS 70 NGC 420
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2006 DOG - COLORIZED  
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View Coin 2007 PIG MS 70 NGC 420
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View Coin 2007 PIG - COLORIZED MS 70 NGC 288
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2007 GILT PIG  
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View Coin 2007 - 2008 RAT MS 70 NGC 570
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2007 GILT - 2008 RAT  
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View Coin 2007 - 2009 OX MS 70 NGC 420
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2007 GILT - 2009 OX  
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View Coin 2007 - 2010 TIGER MS 70 NGC 420
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2007 GILT - 2010 TIGER  
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View Coin 2008P YEAR OF THE MOUSE MS 70 NGC 624
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View Coin 2008P YEAR OF THE MOUSE - COLORIZED MS 70 NGC 829
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2008P GILT YEAR OF THE MOUSE  
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View Coin 2009P YEAR OF THE OX MS 70 NGC 420
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View Coin 2009P YEAR OF THE OX - COLORIZED MS 70 NGC 336
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2009P GILT YEAR OF THE OX  
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View Coin 2010P YEAR OF THE TIGER MS 70 NGC 420
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2010P YEAR OF THE TIGER - COLORIZED  
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2010P GILT YEAR OF THE TIGER  
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View Coin 2011P YEAR OF THE RABBIT MS 70 NGC 420
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2011P YEAR OF THE RABBIT - COLORIZED  
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2011P GILT YEAR OF THE RABBIT  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - RED-ORANGE COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - BLUE-YELLOW COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - GREY-PINK COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - GREY-RED COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - ORANGE-BLACK COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - ORANGE-YELLOW COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - PURPLE-ORANGE COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - RED-ORANGE COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - WHITE-BLUE COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON - YELLOW-PURPLE COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON BAVARIAN LION  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON BERLIN MONEY FAIR - COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON BRISBANE ANDA COIN SHOW - COLORIZED  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON MELBOURNE ANDA COIN SHOW  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON PHILADELPHIA ANA SHOW  
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2012P YEAR OF THE DRAGON SYDNEY ANDA SHOW  
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2012P GILT YEAR OF THE DRAGON  
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2013P YEAR OF THE SNAKE  
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2013P YEAR OF THE SNAKE BAVARIAN LION  
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2013P YEAR OF THE SNAKE - COLORIZED  
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2013P GILT YEAR OF THE SNAKE  
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2013P YEAR OF THE SNAKE BERLIN WORLD MONEY FAIR  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE ARABIAN CHAMPION - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE CLOUD RUNNING STEED - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE COMFORTABLE RIDE - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE FREE-RUNNING STEED - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE LION JADE - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE RED FLOWER EAGLE - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE RED JADE SEAT - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE SKY RUNNING STEED - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE SNOW-DOTTED EAGLE - COLORIZED  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE THUNDERCLAP STEED - COLORIZED  
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2014P GILT YEAR OF THE HORSE  
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2014P YEAR OF THE HORSE - PRIVY  
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2015P YEAR OF THE GOAT  
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2015P YEAR OF THE GOAT - COLORIZED  
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2015P YEAR OF THE GOAT - GILT  
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2015P YEAR OF THE GOAT - PRIVY  
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2016P YEAR OF THE MONKEY  
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2016P YEAR OF THE MONKEY - GILT  
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2016P YEAR OF THE MONKEY - COLORIZED  
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2016P YEAR OF THE MONKEY - MONKEY KING - COLORIZED  
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2016P YEAR OF THE MONKEY - LION PRIVY  
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2017 YEAR OF THE ROOSTER  
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2017P YEAR OF THE ROOSTER  
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2017P YEAR OF THE ROOSTER - LION PRIVY  
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2017P YEAR OF THE ROOSTER - GILT  
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2017P YEAR OF THE ROOSTER - COLORIZED  
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2018P YEAR OF THE DOG  
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2018P YEAR OF THE DOG - COLORIZED  
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2018P YEAR OF THE DOG - GILT  
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2018P YEAR OF THE DOG - LION PRIVY  
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2018P YEAR OF THE DOG - WANG PRIVY  
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2019 YEAR OF THE PIG  
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2019 YEAR OF THE PIG - COLORIZED  
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2019 YEAR OF THE PIG - LION PRIVY  
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