China 1994 Bimetallic Unicorn

25 Yuan Proof Coin

About the China 1994 Bimetallic Unicorn 25 Yuan Proof Coin

The coin pictured above is one of thirteen 1994 unicorn coins.  Of the thirteen coins produced in this year, seven are gold, five are silver, and one is bi-metallic.  The reverse of the coins in this series show images of the various unicorns of two types: the traditional Chinese unicorn or Qilin, and the traditional western unicorn.  The obverse of the coins all bear the inscription: “The People's Republic of China”.  Except for the bi-metallic coin and the 1kg gold coin of the series, below this inscription on all coins in the group is an image of a child riding a Qilin, below which is the year of production, 1994.  For the bi-metallic coin and 1kg gold coin, the obverse shows an image of the Tower of Buddhist Incense, the tallest building at the Summer Palace in Beijing.

This is the 25 yuan, bi-metallic coin of the series issued in 1994.  The coin is made of an 1/8 oz silver outer ring with a 1/4 oz gold centre.  It is a proof coin of 99.9% purity with a diameter of 30mm and was struck at the Shengyang mint.  While it had a planned mintage of 1100, it has an actual mintage of 514.  This is one of only two bi-metallic unicorn coins, one issued in 1994 and one issued in 1995.

The reverse of the coin shows an image of a traditional western unicorn stood with its front right hoof raised.  The creature is pictured above a band of flowers.  It is shown with its head turned over one shoulder, displaying its characteristic horn.  The myth of the western unicorn came to prominence during Medieval times in Europe.  It is depicted as a white horse with a single horn and sometimes the beard of a goat.  It is a sign of purity and grace, and people thought that it was only possible for a virgin to catch one.  The unicorn was highly sought after at the time among alchemists who believed the horn had the power to heal wounds and neutralise poisons.  The denomination is inscribed to the left of the image.   The top edge of the reverse face bears an inscription pertaining to the specifications of the coin.  It reads: “1/4 oz Au .999 + 1/8 oz Ag .999”.
The edge of the obverse face bears a similar inscription: “Contains 1/4 oz pure gold purity .999 + Contains 1/8 oz pure silver purity .999”.

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