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A Magnificent Addition



? the 1994 Silver Chinese Unicorn

I?m hoping this coin will be arriving at my permanent address in the next couple of days. I?ll get to see it in person in about 11 days when I go home for Spring Break. (That?s assuming I don?t shoot myself before then with the way my workload looks for the next week?)

The Chinese Unicorns had a short 4 year run from 1994 to 1997. The mintages on these issues are on the low side. Based on what I?ve read, the 1994 mint state coin had a mintage limit of only 50,000. That may seem like a lot but relative to other modern issues it?s tiny. By way of comparison, the US mint at one point estimated that 47,000 of the ?Reverse of 2007? Silver Eagle errors had been produced. The error that everyone went so crazy over had a mintage almost as large as this coin?s production limit. Only 15 have been graded by NGC, all of which were given the grade MS69. The Chinese coins from the 1990s seem to make it into the high 60s pretty consistently, but 70s are very rarely seen.

The prices on the one ounce Unicorns have managed to stay fairly low as the demand for them isn?t as strong as with other series. I?m not sure that most people even know about them. I posted a picture of the 1997 in the forums when I bought it a few weeks ago. Several of the other forum members expressed their surprise upon seeing the pictures. Even other coin collectors had not known about the coin previously. As a set, they?re largely overshadowed by the vastly more popular Panda series.

It?s a happy coincidence that several of the animals on these bullion coins are popular with girls. Even college age girls seem to think that koalas, kookaburras, pandas, and unicorns are cool? This of course has no impact on my personal interest in the set.

The Unicorns have wonderful artwork and they?re fun to look at. I particularly like the reverse side of the 1994. It?s oddly difficult for me to put into words exactly what it is I like about these coin designs. They just impress me on a very fundamental level. I?m ultimately forced to rely on pictures and hope that some of you agree.

On a side note, I?ve arranged to purchase a PCGS MS69 2009 Silver Britannia. That coin will also be entering my signature set when it arrives. The Britannias, like the Maple Leafs and the Libertads, can be very hard to get in MS69. Not many of them are graded at all. The majority leave the mint with scrapes and scuffs across the cheek and other high points because of the way they?re packaged. I?m happy to be getting this coin for my set. It is currently one of only 3 graded this high by PCGS. NGC does not currently have any census data available for 2009 Britannias. I don?t know if that means they haven?t graded any yet or they haven?t updated the census recently enough. I don?t know what the trend is for PCGS since they don?t make their population reports widely known, but NGC, in most cases, graded fewer than 50 Britannias from each year across all grades. Unlike with the American Eagles, if you want one graded, the odds are that you?ll have to hunt down a superior looking raw one and submit it yourself.

I've attached a picture of my wonderful new Unicorn coin. I can't wait to hold it in my hands and get a better look at it.




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