Most of the major countries in the world have now issued their own gold bullion coin or coins as a way of allowing members of the public to invest in and own gold. While it may not be legal in all of these countries to own gold bars, such as in the U.S., bullion makes the perfect investment vehicle. Coins such as the Chinese Gold Panda also make it possible for almost anyone to be able to afford to invest in gold. The Gold Panda was first introduced by the People's Republic of China in 1982; they were and still are issued in brilliant proof, or what is recognized as uncirculated quality. Like most of the different bullion coins, the Panda is issued in several different weights starting at one-twentieth of an ounce and ending at one full ounce. Each coin also has a face value in Chinese Yuan starting at 25 for the one-twentieth ounce coin and finishing with 500 Yuan for the full ounce coin. Unlike most of the other bullion coins, the Chinese Panda is minted in four different mints that are spread out across the country.
These mints are Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Shenzhen, each mint being responsible for different coins. These coins are highly popular with both serious coin collectors and many of the top jewelry designers around the world, as the designs are very symbolic of China. While they change every year, they're all regarded as beautiful. In 2001, the government tried to place a freeze on the design changes. This caused a tremendous outcry among collectors. Though only the 2001 and 2002 Pandas ended up being the same, the reaction of collectors around the world led the government to reverse its decision and the changing designs were reinstated, starting with the 2003 coins. In the beginning, there were seven different sizes of Panda coins being minted. This is second only to the eight sizes of Australian Nugget; or as the coin is more commonly known, the Kangaroo.
However, just over a decade ago China stopped minting the five and 12 ounce versions of the Panda. While the face of the Panda may change every year, the obverse remains the same showing the TIen TIen or Temple of the Heavens in Beijing. They display the words "Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo," which is Chinese for "the People's Republic of China." Early versions of each coin bore a lower face value, but in 2001 the face values were all raised significantly. No mint marks are used to denote where these coins are made. Instead, slight differences in design are the only way to decipher where they were minted. The Panda is considered by many as a superb investment coin.