Coins based on the Chinese lunar calendar were first introduced in 1981. There are 12 years in a lunar ‘cycle’, and an animal is associated with each year. Every 12 years the cycle repeats. The first cycle of lunar coins was minted from 1981 to 1992; the second cycle from 1993 to 2004; and we are presently in the third cycle.

From 1981 to 1987 gold and silver coins were minted for each date. 1988 to 1996 saw the introduction of a platinum coin and an expansion of the denominations and varieties. This series became so popular that a vast increase in mintage began in 1997. The popularity of the Lunar series may eclipse that of the Pandas. There is a complete table of the mintage and types of Lunar coins available here.


1981 - Year of the Rooster

1984 - Year of the Rat

1982 - Year of the Dog

1983 - Year of the Pig

1985 - Year of the Ox

1986 - Year of the Tiger

1987 - Year of the Rabbit

1989 - Year of the Snake

1988 - Year of the Dragon

1990 - Year of the Horse

1991 - Year of the Goat

1992 - Year of the Monkey

1993 - Year of the Rooster

1994 - Year of the Dog

1995 - Year of the Pig

1996 - Year of the Rat

1997 - Year of the Ox

1998 - Year of the Tiger

1999 - Year of the Rabbit

2000 - Year of the Dragon

2001 - Year of the Snake

2002 - Year of the Horse

2003 - Year of the Goat

2004 - Year of the Monkey

2005 - Year of the Rooster

2006 - Year of the Dog

2007 - Year of the Pig

2008 - Year of the Rat

2009 - Year of the Ox

1997 marked the year when the mintage of Lunar coins began a dramatic increase. All of the Lunar coins minted prior to 1997 are relatively rare and sought-after by collectors.  Some of the coins minted after 1996 have relatively high  mintage. The coins shaded in green are the ones that are in the greatest demand by collectors.

Below is a graph of the total mintage figures of Lunar coins by year. Notice the increase in popularity of this series starting in 1997.


PURPOSE OF THIS SITE: This site exists to catalog and to provide accurate information and to list buying prices paid for modern coinage of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

COINS INCLUDED ON THIS SITE: This site does not include all modern Chinese coins. Only those designs and series that are currently in demand are included. Most issues after the year 2000 are not included here because of insufficient collector demand.

MINTAGE: Actual mintage figures, when known, are designated by an “a” after the mintage figure. In cases where the actual figures are not known, the planned mintage figures are given. The Chinese mints did not keep accurate data during the early years, and there are constant debates amongst the numismatic community as to the correct figures. Any mintage figures given are the best available, but no guarantee can be made as to their accuracy.

COIN GRADES: Grades listed above refer to Uncirculated (equivalent to MS-65) and Proof (equivalent to PF-68). For a description of these grades, please refer to one of the two recognized grading and authentication services: Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).

CATALOG NUMBERS: Any KM numbers listed refer to the standard Krause catalog numbers for World Coins. The Y numbers are those assigned by R.S. Yeoman (Y#) in his Modern World Coins and Current Coins of the World.

Please email me if you notice any errors or have other information to contribute to this site.

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