The Chinese Lunar Calendar has been a cultural phenomenon in China for over 3,000 years. As one of the oldest calendar traditions in the world, its impact cannot be overstated. But the Lunar Calendar isn’t a celebration of time exclusive to China. Some estimates show that over 2 billion people all over the world celebrate the Chinese New Year in some way. And what’s not to love about the unique Lunar Calendar? Each year, a new animal is chosen and celebrated, and this animal helps to represent the spirit of the young men and women who are born and raised in its year.
Bullion is no exception to the classic global love people have for the Chinese Lunar Calendar. A number of different mints produce bullion coins to commemorate the animals on the calendar. While competition is fierce in this market – most large mints are eventually interested in creating some version of a Lunar Series – there is certainly one mint whose line of products towers above the rest. We’re talking, of course, about the Perth Mint and its Australian Silver Lunar Series.
We’re currently in the third run of the Australian Silver Lunar Series from Australia’s Perth Mint. The first two series were extremely successful, and collectors still search for the pieces necessary to complete their collections today.
This guide should tell you everything you need to know about the Silver Lunar Series, as well as the cultural history and traditions that inspired these beautiful silver coins.
History of the Silver Lunar Series
The history of Perth’s popular coin series is closely related to the history of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. While it’s difficult to find an exact date, historians at the University of Washington believe that the Chinese Lunar Calendar might be traceable back to 1,400 B.C. According to Chinese legend, the actual calendar was first coined by Chinese Emperor Huangdi even earlier in 2,637 B.C. This makes the Chinese Lunar Calendar around 3,000 years older than the Gregorian calendar – the calendar we currently use today!
Compared to the calendar that inspired them, Silver Lunar Coins are much, much newer. The Chinese Mint started their first Lunar Series in 1981 and continued minting series every twelve years until 2020. Perth Mint didn’t start their own version of this popular coin series until 1999, but the Mint quickly took over the industry, dominating a sizable percentage of sales for coins celebrating the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
The first run of the Australian Silver Lunar Series continued from 1999 until 2010. The Perth Mint experienced significant success as they, year after year, continued to celebrate every animal on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. They began with the rabbit and ended with the tiger before announcing the second series. Perth Mint has already begun their third Lunar Series, and investors could not be more excited to get their hands on the beautiful high-purity silver coins the mint has to offer.
To date, the Perth Mint has sold tens of thousands of Silver Lunar Coins. The rich history of both the Perth Mint’s coin series and the traditional Chinese Lunar Calendar that inspired it has made these coins some of the most sought-after silver investments in the world. After all, silver collectors aren’t just collecting a coin – they’re investing in the cultural significance of the Chinese Lunar Calendar and in the beauty of Perth’s high-quality designs.
Types of Silver Lunar Coins
In this guide, we’re going to be focusing primarily on the latest series of Lunar Series Coins from Perth Mint. Before the release of series three, the mint did two full runs of the Lunar Series, one beginning in 1999 and the other in 2008. Some collectors opt to collect all three series to complete the collection, while others are most interested in the latest additions to the Perth Mint legacy. Either way, we’re here to help with a description of each of the newest Silver Lunar Coins.
Each coin features the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse side. Following the tragic loss of the Queen, we’re waiting to see how future designs in the series shift to reflect the change in monarchical power. For this guide, we’ll focus on the coins that have already been released, including the Rabbit, Tiger, Ox, and Mouse.
2023 Year of the Rabbit Silver Coin
The latest coin released in the Australian Lunar Series III is a particular beauty. It features the rabbit, which is the animal who is being celebrated in 2023. According to Chinese cultural tradition, people born in the year of the rabbit are often calm, introspective, and thoughtful. Like the rabbit, men and women born in 2023 are thought to be able to navigate the difficulties and struggles of life with a quiet, calm intelligence.
The 2023 Year of the Rabbit Silver Coin is minted using .9999 fine silver and features two rabbits on its reverse. The rabbits are rendered in exceptional detail; each grain of their fur is clearly marked into the high-purity silver of the coin. In this coin’s artwork, we see an adult and a child rabbit. They both sit in the grass. The adult stands on its hind legs and sneaks a berry from the tree above them, while the baby rabbit looks off into the distance. We also note the Chinese character for ‘rabbit,’ as well as the year of minting, on the reverse.
Unsurprisingly, the obverse of this coin features Queen Elizabeth II. She wears her crown, pearl earrings, and a pearl necklace as we view her profile. Notably, this might be one of the last Perth Mint coins that feature the likeness of Britain’s long-ruling monarch.
2022 Year of the Tiger Silver Coin
Bravery, competition, confidence. These are the traits associated with the tiger, and people born in the year of the tiger are thought to share these elements in their own personalities. In the real world, people born in the year of the tiger frequently find themselves in positions of leadership, using their strength and confidence to bring out the best in people around them. The 2022 release in the Australian Lunar Series emphasizes the leadership and strength of the noble tiger.
On the reverse, we once again see an adult and child animal. Here, a baby tiger follows its parent along the rocky ground on the outskirts of a forest. The parent stands proudly with one paw forward, looking confidently into the onlooker’s eyes. We should once again note the exceptional level of detail included on all of the Lunar Series III coins. The tiger’s stripes stand out, and the manes of both the adult and child are very clear against the brilliant blank background of the coin. The pair is surrounded by shrubbery, adding an additional dimension to the beautiful design. Like with the Year of the Rabbit Coin, the reverse of our 2022 Year of the Tiger also includes the Chinese character for ‘tiger’ and the year.
Not much changes on the obverse of the 2022 Year of the Tiger Silver Coin. You’ll find that all of the Lunar Series III coins feature the same bust of the former Queen of England. She’s featured here in her later years, with her refined, aged eyes emphasizing the regality of one of Britain’s most popular monarchs.
2021 Year of the Ox Silver Coin
While the tiger is known for its leadership and confidence, the Ox finds its place in the world through steadfast hard work and an unbreakable spirit. Like the work animal they’re named for, people born in the Year of the Ox often work hard throughout their lives without complaint, giving their all to the tasks that they consider important. Perth successfully relays the power and hardworking nature of the Ox in their 2021 Year of the Ox Silver Coin.
This coin actually features a bit more detail than we see on the newest two coins in the Lunar Series III. In addition to a dirt-like surface to stand on, the reverse of the Year of the Ox Silver Coin depicts a blossoming tree above the two subjects, as well as a town in the distance. Invoking the imagery of two workers whose commitment helps to sustain the society built around them, we are particularly impressed with the artistic vision employed in the design of the Year of the Ox Coin. Following the trend of featuring families of animals on their Lunar Series III coins, the subjects of this coin include two Ox, a child, and a parent. The child looks toward its adult with admiring eyes, while the larger, prouder ox looks into the distance. The Chinese character ‘Ox’ and the year are featured as well.
Queen Elizabeth II also makes an appearance on the obverse of this coin. She’s encircled on the outskirts of the coin by her name, ‘Australia,’ and the weight, purity, and denomination of the coin.
2020 Year of the Mouse Silver Coin
The mouse is a unique creature. While small in stature and skittish about confrontation, the mouse is both resourceful and quick-witted. People born in the Year of the Mouse are often regarded as creative individuals who can find their way out of any bind or problem. Taking advantage of every resource at their disposal, people born in 2020 are thought to be the future problem-solvers of society. The unique design of Perth’s Year of the Mouse Coin helps to illustrate the core traits of both the Mouse and people represented by it.
Compared to the latest two coins in the Lunar Series III, the Year of the Mouse coin is truly distinct. Rather than depicting the two subjects on the ground and standing tall, a child and adult mouse are instead shown as they forage for food. Two stalks of corn occupy most of the space on the reverse of this coin. The two mice are peeling open and eating from the pieces of corn. The adult munches on a kernel, while its child sniffs and prepares to begin eating. We were excited to see the high level detail on the stalks of corn. Each kernel is intricately designed, and the texture of the fur of each mouse is impressive. The Chinese character for ‘Mouse,’ as well as the year, are also visible.
Once again, Perth pays homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse of their Silver Lunar Series III coin.
Why Buy Silver Lunar Series Coins?
Silver Lunar Series Coins are immensely popular among investors and collectors of all experience levels. Since 1999, Perth has been one of the world’s most popular producers of Lunar Series Coins. For fans of history, it should go without saying that the Lunar Series offers an unprecedented window into the cultural soul of China – as well as the world. With 2 billion celebrators of the Chinese Lunar Calendar worldwide, these coins make excellent additions to any collection.
Because this coin series is ongoing, some collectors anticipate that the Lunar Series III coins from Perth Mint will appreciate in value over time. Previous coins in the Lunar Series II and I have certainly performed well over the past decade. We find that the Silver Lunar Series Coins also make exceptional gifts. Children – or adults – born in the year of the tiger would love to receive a brilliant silver coin from the Perth Mint that commemorates the animal representing them.
Even if you don’t consider the Lunar Series III to be an investment opportunity, a thoughtful gift, or a historical collectible, the coins offer an unprecedented level of beauty and detail within their frame of .9999 pure silver bullion.
Final Thoughts: Investing in Australian Silver Lunar Series Coins
Hero Bullion offers coins from the ongoing Perth Australian Silver Lunar Series III. We’re happy to be able to provide our customers with some of the most exciting new coins on the market. The cultural history of these coins is thousands of years old, and investors who purchase Silver Lunar Coins are often excited to hold in their hands a beautiful part of this storied history.
Please never hesitate to reach out to our customer service team with any questions you might have about investing in Australian Silver Lunar Series III coins.