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Cashing in on investment value of collecting coins

Updated: 2013-12-23 09:25
By Cecily Liu in London ( China Daily)

The UK's official coin manufacturer The Royal Mint has launched its first ever legal tender lunar coin to woo wealthy Chinese collectors as coin collection becomes increasingly widespread in China.

The coin, put on the market last month, commemorates the forthcoming lunar year of the horse. It features a powerful horse on one side and the portrait of the British Queen on the other.

The Royal Mint says the horse coin will be the first of a series, which covers the Chinese zodiac and over 12 years will feature all the animals in the zodiac.

Cashing in on investment value of collecting coins

The Royal Mint last month launched coins commemorating the Chinese lunar year of the horse, designed by Wuon-Gean Ho, to attract Chinese collectors. Photos by Cecily Liu / China Daily

"China is a significant market for us," says Shane Bissett, head of commemorative coins at The Royal Mint.

Bissett says China was the biggest market for The Royal Mint's commemorative coins for the 2012 London Olympics, and a market even larger than the UK's domestic market. To reach out to its Chinese buyers, The Royal Mint has also established an account on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter.

He says the lunar coins would be attractive for Chinese buyers as both a collector's item and a present for others, and believes the Chinese coin collection circle has grown in recent years.

The horse coin has been designed by British Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho. It combines elements from both British and Chinese heritage.

The foreground of the design features a powerful leaping horse with a big tail high in the wind. Beneath the horse's feet lies the famous Uffington Horse, a pre-historic white horse carved into the chalk hills of Oxfordshire, which is a unique British heritage site.

The horse is thought to represent a tribal symbol perhaps connected with the builders of Uffington Castle. It is 110 meters long and is believed to date back to the Iron Age (800 BC-AD 100) or the late Bronze Age (1000-700 BC).

Ho says that she did extensive research on the history of horses in China and the UK and particularly enjoyed looking at how horses are depicted in Chinese traditional paintings.

She then spent one month working on the draft copy of the horse design, revising it several times, taking about two months to complete the project.

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