By Debbie Bradley, Numismatic News
Athletes won't be the only ones
in pursuit of Olympic gold and silver this
Coin collectors will be able to acquire proof
gold and silver commemorative coins issued by
the China Mint in honor of the games it will
host Aug. 8-24.
The precious metal commemorative coins reflect
the games' theme, "One World, One Dream."
The complete proof 18-coin set, issued in three
series, features six gold coins that are each
one-third troy ounce and 12 silver coins that
are each 1 troy ounce. The collection has a
mintage limited to 60,000 worldwide, with 3,000
sets earmarked for the United States.
"With over a billion people in China alone, the
limited mintage of these coins makes one realize
that they may become as rare and treasured one
day as ancient rare art pieces from Chinese
history," said Kitty Quan, chief executive
officer of Panda America, one of two U.S.
distributors of the Olympic coins.
Many coins will be sold as keepsakes, said Larry
Lee, a numismatist with Panda America, which
hosted a press conference at the Coin &
Collectibles Expo in Long Beach, Calif., last
month to present the collection.
"This has been from the beginning a very
successful project," said Nick Bruyer, CEO of
Govmint.com, which also distributes the coins in
the United States.
Because of the limited number of coins available
in the United States, Panda America will only
sell the complete three-part series, now listed
"Once they are gone, they are gone," Lee said.
Govmint.com is selling the individual series,
but coins are going fast.
"Series I set is close to being sold out and
certainly will be sold out substantially before
the games begin," Bruyer said. "We have
completely sold out of allocations of the Series
II proof 5-ounce gold coin and the kilo silver
"The larger coins have been very, very popular."
Panda America also offers a silver-only
collection of the 12 proof silver coins that are
1 ounce of 99.9 percent pure silver. This
collection is limited to 100,000 sets worldwide
and initially priced at $1,500 for all three
series. A proof 1 kilogram silver coin featuring
horse and dragon boat racing is also available.
This coin has a mintage of 20,008 worldwide.
Also offered is a proof 5-ounce gold coin that
blends Chinese martial arts with the five
Olympic rings. Housed in a display with a
traditional jade lion guarding the coin within,
it has a mintage of only 2,008 worldwide.
The proof commemorative coins are being sold by
series at Govmint.com. The Series 1 six-piece
gold and silver proof set is $2,495; the Series
1 four-piece silver proof set is $499; The
Series II proof silver kilo-dragon boat is
$1,995; Series II six-piece gold and silver
proof set is $2,495 and the Series II four-piece
silver proof set is $499.
At press time, prices had not yet been set for
Series III coins, which debuted March 20. Other
prices may also vary as the precious metals
"We want to share the news that in the past few
years, as host to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games,
the people of China have been working hard for
the preparation of the games," said Lekang Chen,
Chinese vice consul for cultural affairs, who
spoke at the press conference. "Not just
Beijing, but other cities of China are getting
ready for the games." The popularity of the
Olympics and the recent rescinding of a law that
had forbidden Chinese citizens from owning gold
coins, has resulted in the entire allocation for
China being sold out in 2006.
"The Olympic Games are an event like no other in
the world," Quan said, "helping to build bridges
between countries on the world's biggest stage.
As a direct part of this legacy, Olympic coins
have become treasured and valued by collectors
around the world, representing the spirit, art,
culture and country of the host nation and city.
This is particularly true of the complete coin
collection of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games."