Chinese coins can be made of Gold, Silver or Bronze. The metal used depends on the series of coins and when they were minted.
A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment, rather than used in day-to-day commerce. Investment coins are generally coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are, or have been, a legal tender in their country of origin. Bullion coins are usually available in gold and silver, with the exception of the Krugerrand and the Swiss Vreneli which are only available in gold. The American Eagle series is available in gold, silver and platinum, and the Canadian Maple Leaf series is available in gold, silver, platinum and also palladium.
Bullion coins are also typically available in various weights. These are usually multiples or fractions of 1 troy ounce, but some bullion coins are produced in very limited quantities in kilograms and even heavier.
Ancient Chinese coinage
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass-produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks; their silver drachmas were popular trade coins. The ancient Persians used silver coins between 612-330 BC. Before 1797, British pennies were made of silver.
As with all collectible coins, many factors determine the value of a silver coin, such as its rarity, demand, condition and the number originally minted. Ancient silver coins coveted by collectors include the Denarius and Miliarense, while more recent collectible silver coins include the Morgan Dollar and the Spanish Milled Dollar.
Chinese coins were produced continuously for around 2,500 years by casting in moulds, rather than being struck with dies as with most western coins.
A gold coin is a coin made mostly or entirely of gold. In modern times, most gold coins are intended either to be sold to collectors, or to be used as bullion coins—coins whose nominal value is irrelevant and which serve primarily as a method of investing in gold.
Gold has been used as money for many reasons. It is fungible, with a low spread between the prices to buy and sell. Gold is also easily transportable, as it has a high value to weight ratio, compared to other commodities, such as silver. Gold can be divided into smaller units, without destroying its value; it can also be melted into ingots, and re-coined. The density of gold is higher than most other metals, making it difficult to pass counterfeits. Gold is extremely unreactive.
Commemorative coins are coins that were issued to commemorate some particular event or issue. Most world commemorative coins were issued from the 1960s onward, although there are numerous examples of commemorative coins of earlier date. Such coins have a distinct design with reference to the occasion on which they were issued. Many coins of this category serve as collectors items only, although some countries are also issuing commemorative coins for regular circulation. Vast numbers of thematic coins are continuously being issued, highlighting ancient monuments or sites, historical personalities, endangered species etc. While such thematic coins may or may not commemorate any particular event or jubilee, the distinction between commemorative coins and thematic coins is often blurred or ignored.
Coins can be seen as being of one of three types: