[OPINION] Silver Proof 1 oz series, musings and rankings.

Discussion in 'Modern Chinese Coins & Medallions' started by 25Grizzlies, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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    The proof series coins have been on my mind lately, yes it's a slow weekend, hah!

    So with threads about every type of silver BU rarities(?) to copper and bronze medals to expo coins I thought I'd take a layman's look at a recently maligned and forgotten flagship of the China Mint issues, the 1 oz proof silver Panda series '83-'85 and '87, then '89-'96. Also the '91 2 oz piedfort proof. Well, forgotten may be taking things a bit far but they have nonetheless taken a back seat over the last 6 months or so to other silver issues. Prices of the former series are steadily rising in price while the proofs have, with a few exceptions, been in decline or else remain stagnant.

    So why the change in fortunes? Why are these premium gems not keeping pace? I don't intend to offer a speculative reason here and insult the many educated collectors here who have a good idea of what's going on, rather point out that I think a rebound in their favour is surely around the corner. The proofs were where it all started in MC silver, they're certainly not done for by a long shot.

    Stating the obvious but it's worth remembering that they have mintages without question, any publication Ive seen quotes the same figures and there is little dispute that the CM produced the numbers stated. The expo coins also probably had all the stated numbers minted. Strictly speaking the remaining BU numbers are educated estimates. COULD be much LESS or many MORE remaining, wouldn't say that's a given, but in the cold light of day this is a POSSIBLLITY. Master Panda guru Mr.Anthony admits this is the case.

    So let's have some fun with a 1-13 of these great ultra cameos. Reasons for your ratings are welcome but not necessary. Include considerations such as prestige, price, design and eye appeal factors, frequency on offer for sale, even potential sleepers of the series or any other angles you can think of.

    1. 1983

    [​IMG]

    It's rare that the first coin of any series is the dominant key date by a country mile but that's how good this first offering is. If you're feeling rich buy a gem one.

    2. 1995

    [​IMG]

    Seldom offered in 69 grade and my favourite design of the series, its brother is the incredible 1 oz proof gold Panda at $15k. An absolutely superb collectible, if you have one I wouldn't be selling it yet, if ever :)

    3. 1991 Anniversary Piedfort

    [​IMG]

    Ok, ok "but it's a 2 oz coin" I hear you say! Sorry about that, but this big bear doesn't care as it bullies its way up my list to #3. Irresistable high pedigree coin, all the anniversary coins from '91 are proving to be winners and this fine fat Panda holds its own among some illustrious company.

    4. 1994

    [​IMG]

    Mystery coin of the series for me, not infrequently offered but regularly sells for more than the '96 of which has half its mintage. Great design and bold frosted areas (possibly sex appeal?) means this coin punches above its weight, cool font.

    5. 1996

    [​IMG]

    'Should' be the key date of the series due to its mintage numbers being the fewest but as we're seeing mintage numbers is by no means the only factor when ranking coins. The 1oz gold proof of this year is extremely rare and amazing looking, strangely the silver version doesn't capture the same honour.

    6. 1985

    [​IMG]

    Early, 3rd year release and just a beautiful coin, classic design of playful Pandas.

    7. 1984

    [​IMG]

    Known as the ugly sister of the 3 due to its weak design, nonetheless it is part of the prestigious family and worthy of mid rank for me.

    8. 1987

    [​IMG]

    Isolated due to having no issues in years either side, this coin is populous but that doesn't seem to hinder its price, one in 69 can sell for higher than some of the coins mentioned above and all of those still to come. Last year of no .999 stated on the reverse, released as a set with the first year of the 5oz proof Panda. Even at high mintages a great investment in PF69.

    The last 5 gems of the series are harder to rank as they have generally proven to be undervalued in relation to the top proofs.

    9. 1990

    [​IMG]

    Bold design (awesome big head on this bear) it stands apart from the others, wouldn't look out of place among the 3 sisters. Underrated.

    10/11. 1991/1992

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Biased towards the '91 as it was the first 1oz Panda I bought. Once I held it I was hooked and I knew it would consign my bullion stack to a very shaky future. Wonderful symmetry and detail in this coin. The '92 is similar, the one I own is immaculate in OMP. Same mintage numbers of 20,000 each.

    12/13. 1989/1993

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I don't like to refer to Pandas as dogs but the years '89 and '93 have not proven popular unless you're collecting the series. The '93 isn't a very good design, not terrible but is missing something which keeps it unwanted. Seldomnly offered in high grade. The '89 is a definite preference design, they are always on offer and usually the cheapest score of the series.

    Ranking list

    1. 1983
    2. 1995
    3. 1991 piedfort
    4. 1994
    5. 1996
    6. 1985
    7. 1984
    8. 1987
    9. 1990
    10. 1991
    11. 1992
    12. 1989
    13. 1993

    So that's my 2 cents, love to hear opinions and discussion on this wonderful series.
     
  2. fishball

    fishball New Member Silver Stacker

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    #1 - 1983, 1984, 1985

    These command the highest prices as they are rarest and their prices are highest. Very hard to find in investment grade and being able to buy these 3 in OMP as a set under $5000 is a great find.

    I don't like the design much though and if I wasn't trying to collect the full S10Y set I'd ignore them.

    #2 - 1991 Piedfort

    I like this a lot. Biased because I own one ;).

    The price has been steadily over $900 and the design/eye appeal is great. It also has Chinese descriptions on the panda side, something not on every Panda.

    Also the 1991 10th Anniversary Panda regardless of what metal it's made of has been performing rather well.

    #3 - 1995

    Love the 1995 design. Rather hard (hardest?) to buy at a good price out of all the 90s proofs.

    #4 - 1987, 96

    The 87 Panda is mysterious, nobody knows the true mintage and it's performing quite well. It sells almost as much as the 5oz one (60-80% of 5oz price I think) which is amazing considering it's supposed to have relatively high mintage. This leads me to believe it's just damn popular even if it's not ultra rare making it a great investment.

    1996 is supposed to be rarest since it has 8000 mintage but I think the surviving population is high. At current market prices ($600) I think it's overpriced compared to the other proofs but it's still a nice coin to have.

    #5 - 90, 91

    Has Chinese characters on the panda side instead of the usual simple .999 1oz Ag. Not a big fan of the 90 design, I like the 91 design however I believe both these two will be sought after for panda collectors trying to assemble the proofs. These are relatively plentiful on eBay.

    #6 - 89, 92, 93

    Not much to say here. The 89 is the least sought after panda maybe because people don't like the design. I think it's ok but the grid puts some people off.

    The 92 and 93 are rather boring designs compared to the rest and are pretty common on eBay. The BU of these years go almost as high or higher than the proofs, you can deduce what this means yourself because I don't know :p.
     
  3. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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    Nice post Fish, some great observations there from an expert!

    Wow piedfort at no.2! Sweet coin isn't it :)

    On reading your post I would definitely reconsider moving the '84 and '85 up the list. Especially the '85 above the '96. My selections were heavily weighted on design, yours are the more practical PP stuff, which is cool too.

    I agree popularity is a strange mix, it's plain odd that the BU coins for many of these years sell for more than their proof counterparts, often much more. I'm not convinced this is a trend that will last or not, time will tell.

    I'd rather a '93 LD69 than its proof coin too :p
     
  4. fishball

    fishball New Member Silver Stacker

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    Disclaimer: My rankings are based on popularity/demand and investment potential mixed with some personal bias on design. I didn't give equal weightings to all attributes nor are my guesses scientific ;)

    Anyway yeah I can't say which will perform the best but I think long term they'll all be amazing. We'll be back here in 5-10 years and thinking wow these were in the hundreds back then!
     
  5. musemellow

    musemellow Member

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    I think i know what to buy next, 91 Piedfort ;) ;)
     
  6. Thor122

    Thor122 New Member

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    I think the proofs are cheap now. but will begin increasing in value. Im new to coin collecting but i think is more normal take care of the proofs and not to care in the bu for normal people. Because the bu are normal bullion and the proofs are collectible. Its more normal to the proofs goto collector hands and the bu to both. When silver begin skyrocketing from 4 to 50. I think more people begin buying silver coins and collectible silver coins to. The same to gold from 200 to 1650 but its more easy and cheap buy silver than gold.
    If this path continue i think all the coins bu and proof will raise value. But the proofs will overpass it.
    I begin buying silver bu coins only for the spot. But when i saw in this forum the pandas dont dip in value a lot with the silver content from 50 to 40 and 30. I think the numismatics pandas are a good inversion. But i dont put more than 10% to 20 % in total for my savings.
     
  7. apples

    apples New Member

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    I have nearly the whole set of these, and while I won't comment on each one individually I will say

    85, 95, and 94 are my top 3 design-wise, all exceptional in their own way. 85 being my favorite for its simple yet elegant look.

    93 and 96 are under-appreciated design-wise.

    Conversely, the 91 Piefort is grossly over-appreciated in my opinion. I would personally put it in my lowest quartile of the series.

    83 would be pretty average/forgettable if it wasn't the first in the series.
     
  8. yennus

    yennus Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Amazing well written and documented article 25Grizzles! :)

    Thanks heaps!

    The 1995 Proof is really beautiful! :)
     
  9. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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    Hey apples, yeah man the '85 is AWESOME in it's design simplicity, I agree I would rate in in the top 3 design wise definitely, higher if the '95 didn't exist. The '94 is also very strong in this dept.

    Interesting you're not a fan of the piedfort, first time Ive heard negative comments about it, always beneficial to hear the bad as well as the good! Sweet to hear you almost have them all... I have a few and will complete the series one day but keep getting distracted, too many great coins :)

    Cheers for the kind words Yennus, coming from the master commentator that means a lot!

    :)
     
  10. tamo42

    tamo42 New Member

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    Don't forget that the 1992 proof has *at least* 3 varieties, which is under-appreciated at this point.

    Also I personally love the 1990 design, but that's just me.
     
  11. apples

    apples New Member

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    Yeah, it is just a personal taste thing of mine. The panda's face looks "off" somehow compared to other issues. Maybe just the viewing angle since it is looking directly straight ahead instead of angled.

    Good luck on the series yourself, I know what it is like to be distracted by too many great issues. :)
     
  12. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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    Hi tamo, are the 92 varieties documented at the coin compendium?

    Yeah I like the looks of the '90 too!
     
  13. comeaux

    comeaux New Member Silver Stacker

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    Very interesting observation grizzlies most excellent work and remarkable follow up by the master fish !

    I'm always intrigued by the opinions and views of other collectors as we all seem to have our favorite designs. The 91 peidfort is an awesome coin and will someday add it to the collection, in my opinion it's a must have in any panda collection. Working on completing four BU gold panda sets has pretty much consumed my attention lately but one of these days I will add this peidfort coin as well.

    I have always contemplated getting my panda proofs graded but for some reason I just love keeping them in their original boxes as I have done with commemoratives and other sets.

    As far as my favorite panda design it one that I have never seen anyone mention so I'll keep it to myself. I can honestly find something I really like about any of the pandas, even the 83, 84, and 85 with their simple yet "vintage" features are very cool in their own way.
     
  14. comeaux

    comeaux New Member Silver Stacker

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    I think this is very wise my friend ... everything in moderation.
     
  15. Thor122

    Thor122 New Member

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    Yes. And will the sp500 surpass 1500 in a year or two. Change of allocations are required.
    :)
    When the federal reserve in a year of two began raising the %. Its a good time to sell bullions golds. And save and add to the pandas
     
  16. low

    low New Member

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  17. tamo42

    tamo42 New Member

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    To which I say: Of course!

    http://www.coincompendium.com/w/index.php/CCT200

    It looks like I'm behind the times. There appear to be 4 known varieties.
     
  18. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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    Thanks Tamo!

    It appears I have the 'more mirrored leaf variety.'
     
  19. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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  20. 25Grizzlies

    25Grizzlies Member

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    I've been in conversation with Low and he intimated to me that the Chinese don't really have a preference between BU and proof coins... This may explain the similarities in price in China, I know the rest of the world is another market but perhaps the Chinese attitude is contagious. I'm unaware of many series where the BU coins in general out price the proofs.

    Thoughts?
     

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