We’ve all heard of the zodiac, and have probably on more than one occasion checked our daily horoscope in the hope it will reveal what the future holds. When I sat down to write this blog I was buoyant in the revelation that my day was going to be “filled with love and joy”.
But perhaps lesser known in Western culture is the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the 12 animals that represent it.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar
More commonly known as the Chinese Zodiac, it is believed the Chinese Lunar Calendar begun around 2600 B.C. and is related to the worship of animals in Chinese culture. Legend has it before departing to the next life, Buddha asked every animal on the plant to comfort him and the twelve animals (including the dragon, tiger and rat) that responded are now honoured in the lunar calendar that spans 12 years – one animal for every year.
Much like the Western Zodiac, your lunar animal sign depends when you’re born. And people born in specific lunar years are believed to have certain personality traits and characteristics related to their animal.
Turns out I was born in the Year of the Sheep – so I’m creative, compassionate and friendly. I’d say that’s fairly accurate, though I’m not sure I agree that I like to spend my money on fashionable things… you win some you lose some!
The incredible popularity of Lunar Coins
For over 40 years mints from around the world have celebrated Chinese New Year with Lunar Coins. These issues have turned in to something of an international phenomenon, to the point where the lunar theme is the largest ongoing coin programme on the planet.
Most prestigious mints have a lunar series, including Australia, Canada, and of course our own Royal Mint. With each selling millions of ounces of gold and silver coins each year inscribed with the year’s relevant lunar animal.
Collectors will snap these coins up for a variety of reasons. Some collect their own lunar animal, because they like the personal connection, others will collect a particular specification because it’s especially limited. Personally, I find they also make great birthday gifts for obvious reasons – my friends love them.
The Year of the Rat
The 25th January 2020 will mark the Chinese New Year, and with it the next lunar animal will be celebrated – the Rat.
The Rat is in fact the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and people who are born under the sign of the Rat are thought to be intelligent and quick-witted with rich imaginations.
If this sounds like you the odds are you’re born under the sign of the Rat. And this year your lunar animal will be celebrated on lunar coins around the world.
What’s more, The Royal Mint has just released their brand new Year of the Rat range, including what’s perhaps the most sought-after specification of all – the 1oz Silver Proof Coin.
Apparently Rats are known for taking good advantage of opportunities presented to them – so what are you waiting for, make sure you snap up your lunar coin today!
If you’re interested…
You can own the BRAND NEW Royal Mint Lunar Coin TODAY – the 1oz Silver Proof Year of the Rat coin.
This coin is sure to be the most sought-after yet because not only is the 1oz Silver Proof a key specification for collectors, it’s also got the lowest edition limit yet!
We all have our favourite coins to collect, whether it be historic coins, special 50p designs or coins from around the world.
But one thing that piques the interest of almost all collectors, including myself, is the elusive ‘error’ coin.
Considering the high levels of technology involved in minting coins and the number of different quality controls in place, it is extremely rare that a coin is minted with an error. And it is even rarer for an error coin to be released to the public.
However, over the years there have been sporadic cases of error coins being struck and issued to the public. Just a few things that would be considered an error would be an off-centre strike, a crack in the die or even use of the wrong die completely!
And that last one is exactly what happened to the 2014 Year of the Horse Lunar Silver Coin when it was incorrectly struck with the distinctive denticle obverse of the 2014 Britannia coin.
After an investigation, it was discovered that approximately 38,000 Year of the Horse coins were struck with the incorrect denticled edge on the obverse. And once The Royal Mint confirmed this as a genuine error, these coins understandably became incredibly sought after.
What makes these error coins particularly desirable is that, because it was issued as a bullion coin, many were sold around the world to coin dealers and investors. That means that they are much harder for the British public to track down. Plus, of course, in terms of pure numbers struck they are considerably scarcer than previous errors such as the ‘undated 20p’.
In fact, Ebay listings have seen the value of these coins soar to around 30 times their original value! So if you are lucky enough to own the 2014 Year of the Horse coin, I’d suggest you go and have a closer look at it!
We have a small number of the ‘Year of the Horse Silver Mule Sets’ available to buy. This set contains the Year of the Horse error coin alongside the correct version of the coin for easy comparison. This ‘mule’ is an absolute must for any collection and is extremely rare, so secure yours today.