In 2014 The Royal Mint struck the United Kingdom’s first Lunar coins for the Year of The Horse, beginning an auspicious new series – the Shēngxiào Collection – named to honour the Chinese zodiac. In 2015 the captivating series continues with coins struck for the Year of the Sheep.
The Shēngxiào, centuries old, relates each year to one of 12 animals, the traits of these animals then attributed to those born in a given Lunar year. As part of the Lunar New Year celebrations gifts and tokens are often exchanged, particularly the gift of money in red envelopes, symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity. Now, The Royal Mint has applied artistry and craftsmanship to these charming customs in a series of Lunar coins, embracing globally observed customs and lending a unique British perspective to an ancient tradition.
For the coins struck for the Year of the Sheep, British Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho has created another stunning reverse design. Once again she has combined both British and Chinese heritage and just as the first coin had hidden meaning, the second coin in this auspicious series reveals elements that will intrigue their recipient. The characteristics of the free roaming yet company-loving sheep are brought to life in the intriguing design. Even more special, this is the first time a sheep has featured on a United Kingdom coin. Wuon-Gean has chosen two Swaledale sheep, built for the changeable Yorkshire weather, with the details of their woolly coats and strong spiral horns an integral part of the image.
Unlike other Lunar coins, these are official UK coins and there are various editions to choose from. The range includes the delicate tenth-ounce gold Brilliant Uncirculated coin, a gold-plated one ounce edition and the one ounce, five-ounce and kilo coins are all available in 999.9 fine gold and 999 fine silver Proof versions – every stunning detail of the design enhanced by our premier Proof finish. The coins can also be purchased as bullion, in gold and silver.
These captivating coins are presented in stylish red packaging to reflect the Chinese customs that surround them. The accompanying booklet reveals the traditions of Lunar coins and the inspiration behind the design. The coins in the Lunar Year of the Sheep range are extremely limited with allmintages featuring the number ‘8’ – considered to be lucky in Chinese culture. The second offering in The Royal Mint’s Shēngxiào Collection, this coin will appeal to a wide audience – those adding to their growing collection and enthusiasts new to the series. Perhaps you know someone born in the Year of the Sheep for whom this coin would be a welcome gift, or maybe you will embrace the tradition of gifting at Lunar New Year? These charming coins are likely to appeal to both the UK and international markets, so whatever your reason to buy, act quickly to secure these exquisite coins – British and Chinese culture blended as one.