China 1996 1 oz Platinum Unicorn

100 Yuan Proof Coin

About the China 1996 1 oz Platinum Unicorn 100 Yuan Proof Coin

The coin pictured above is one of fifteen 1996 unicorn coins.  Unicorn coins were issued between 1994 and 1997.  Of the fifteen coins produced in 1996, eight are gold, four are silver, and three are platinum.  The reverse of the coins in this series show images of various traditional western unicorns. 

 

The obverse of the coins all bear the inscription: “The People's Republic of China”.  Below this inscription on all coins in the group is an image a Qilin or traditional Chinese unicorn, below which is the year of production, 1996. The Qilin is pictured on the obverse standing over two wisps of smoke.  The Chinese characters for “Qilin” are inscribed to the left of the image. The Qilin is a highly respected creature in Chinese culture.  Its importance ranks behind only that of the dragon and the phoenix.  A symbol of longevity and a bringer of rui (prosperity or serenity), the Qilin has the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the scales of a fish, the tail of a lion, and the hooves of an ox.  It appearance is said to coincide with the birth or death of a sage or eminent ruler.This is the 100 yuan, 1 oz platinum coin of the series produced in 1996.  It is a proof coin of 99.95% purity with a mintage of 500.

 

The reverse of the coin displays an image of a traditional western unicorn lying at the side of a virgin who is tending to the creature.  Below the image is a band of flowers.  Both the western unicorn and the virgin are traditional symbols of grace, purity, and innocence.  The unicorn is represented as a white horse with a single and distinctive spiralled horn.  The virgin is also traditionally associated with white clothing, symbolising her purity.  The unicorn was highly sought after in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, but it was thought that only a virgin could catch one.  The denomination is inscribed to the left of the image.  The top edge of the reverse face bears an inscription in Chinese characters: “Lucky Mascot Unicorn”,  followed by an inscription in English: “UNICORN”.

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