China 1989 5 oz Silver Snake

50 Yuan Proof Coin

About the China 1989 5 oz Silver Snake 50 Yuan Proof Coin

Above is the 5 ounce, silver 1989 Year of the Snake coin. This coin is one of a set of twelve coins that honor the Chinese zodiac. The coins were released from 1987 to 1998, starting with the rabbit and culminating with the tiger. These coins are all proof in quality and .999 in fineness, and proof in quality. Each of the coins measures 70 millimeters in diameter. Like the other coins in the series, the reverse face shows the animal that corresponds to the year of issue, and the obverse features a famous architectural work of China.


On the obverse face of this coin, one can see the year of issue, 1989, at the very bottom of the coin. At the top edge, one can read “The People’s Republic of China” in Chinese characters. The great building featured on this coin is the Shanhai Pass. The Pass marks the point where the Great Wall of China meets the Pacific Ocean.


On the reverse face of the coin, one can see an image of a snake created by painter Qi Baishi (1864–1957). Qi was well known for his knowledge and use of Chinese technique. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Qi was largely self-taught and stayed away from any use of Western technique. Here, one can see the detailing of the slithering snake, and the elegant grassy patch in the background. Below the snake, the denomination, 50 yuan, is printed. Encircling the snake is a ring of dainty flowers.


In Chinese lore, the snake is known to be quick-witted and sharply intelligent. Though a snake may not mince words, it is known that a man or woman born in this year is always deep in thought and assessing those around him or her. At times, the snakes tongue may be too sharp, represented well here by the snake’s tongue searching the air.

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