China produced two designs of brass coins from 1982 to 1984. These were the 1-Yuan World Cup Soccer of 1982, and the 1-Yuan Panda of 1983 and 1984.


The mintage figures were relatively high by Chinese standards: 20,000 for the World Cup coins and 30,000 per year for the Panda coins. Thus, they are not considered to be rare coins. However, for reasons given below, they are definitely worth saving, and in some instances worth a nominal investment to preserve.


THE COIN:


The metal used was an alloy comprised primarily of copper and zinc, with a small amount of magnesium. This particular alloy produced an absolutely stunning coin. Because of the softness of the metal, the coins had fine detail. The coins produced had varying degrees of fine, frosted highlights. Present-day examples sometimes have surfaces that exhibit a beautiful patina.


Because of the variances in strike, frosting, and patina, no two coins are exactly alike -- they are all distinctively different.


PROBLEMS:


The metal composition which gives this coin its beauty is also its curse. The alloy is prone to oxidation. With time, oxidation is what produces the beautiful patina when the coin is stored properly.  Left to the environment or stored improperly, oxidation can produce spotting, hazing, discoloration, and a general deterioration of the coins surface.


Since these coins were produced over 25 years ago, many samples have not been stored properly during their full life. Specimens kept in China over the years almost always show detrimental effects, due to air pollution. Thus, finding a trouble-free example is difficult.


PRESERVATION:


If you have one of these coins and want to protect the coin and enhance its value to future collectors, you should at the least encapsulate it in an airtight plastic holder. A better solution would be to have the coin encapsulated and graded by NGC or PGCS.


If you have a coin that shows some degree of apparent oxidation or discoloration, NCS offers a conservation service that can restore the coin’s natural appearance and will also protect it from further deterioration. The cost is $20, and that includes conservation, grading and encapsulation. I have used this service and It is well worth it.


A desirable example of this coin will be well struck, have no defects, a high degree of frosting, and an attractive patina. To collectors, a coin with these traits will have several times the value of the same coin in lesser condition.


Excellent samples of these coins should increase greatly in value as the numismatic market in China matures.