Author Topic: 2016 DiZang Buddhas show the Shanghai Mint is losing interest in low mintages?  (Read 1713 times)

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Offline badon

Re: 2016 4th panda expo coin design proposals, mint losing interest in low mintages:
[...] I started to become curious if I could somehow quantify or measure the Shanghai Mint's decreasing interest in low mintage coins. What other low mintage coins is the Shanghai Mint still producing, despite their unofficial partial ban on low mintages? Here is my search I used:

Search ebay for 2016 and 2017 coins from the Shanghai Mint

There are the 4th panda expos, the classical gardens series, the prehistoric animals series, DiZang Buddhas, a few high mintage lunars and pandas, and some sculptural art that has nothing to do with coinage. I counted 106 listings on ebay. The Shenyang, Shenzhen, and Nanjing mints combined have only 42 listings:

Search ebay for 2016 and 2017 coins from the Shenyang, Shenzhen, and Nanjing mints

Of the low mintage coins from the Shanghai Mint, most of them are from contracts that started in 2015 or earlier. Only the DiZang Buddhas stand out to me for being an entirely new group of low mintage coins. I don't know what the story is behind the DiZang Buddhas, but I'm starting to think it might be interesting. Why did the Shanghai Mint make DiZang Buddhas with mintages as low as 99, while they're resistant to producing panda expos with similar mintages. Maybe it's some kind of cultural honor to produce low mintage gods? More research is necessary!

I got some more information from dragonzeng168 (new, ending, sold) about the DiZang Buddhas, which he carries in his inventory. They have the incense urn with the dragon handles on the reverse like many other gods from the late 1980's and early 1990's, and I originally assumed it was an addition to the series, but without understanding why the series was resurrected. My best guess was the series may have been resurrected by the addition of new coins to exploit demand from increased popularity of gods coins, but that theory doesn't make sense anymore, now that we know the Shanghai Mint doesn't care about demand when they are losing interest in low mintage coins.

Even if they sell everything at very profitable prices in the first 10 seconds, with low mintages the total profit will never be high enough to justify diverting their attention away from higher mintage coins that earn them many millions of dollars. So then, why did the Shanghai Mint decide to bring back a dead gods series that wasn't very profitable in the 1980's and 1990's, and is even less attractive today in comparison to multi-million mintages? As usual, dragonzeng168 was able to dig up some info for me, and with that, I think I have come up with a hypothesis that explains everything.

dragonzeng168 said the DiZang Buddhas actually are NOT new. They were originally designed in the 1990's, but the incense urn gods series was canceled due to poor sales before the DiZang Buddhas could be minted. So, the designs went into storage, and then they were forgotten. I have a hunch the DiZang Buddhas are a favorite of someone at the Shanghai Mint, and now that they are trying to get rid of old contracts for low mintages, and not accepting any new ones, my hunch is they decided it's now or never for the DiZang Buddhas, so they put them into production just to get them done. Maybe the artist that designed them pulled some strings or called in some favors to get permission for them to be minted. That seems to be a very plausible hypothesis that explains why those, and why now, after so many years. Delayed, but not forgotten. Better late than never.

If my guesses are correct about that, then it means the DiZang Buddhas are actually another sign of the Shanghai Mint's lack of interest in low mintage coins. They join the Shanghai Mint's 2016 trimetallic Beijing expo coin, because they are both pet projects of the Shanghai Mint. The Shanghai Mint used to produce a lot more low mintage coins, and I think it's not a coincidence that the only low mintage coins still being minted are bizarrely self-aggrandizing, pet projects, or old contracts that are doomed to end.

Oh, that reminds me, the Classical Gardens are ending in 2017, so it seems those will linger a bit longer than the panda expos. The prehistoric animals are supposed to have 4 animal types, 1 for each year, so assuming they stick with a schedule of 1 animal type per year, that means they will end in 2018. Maybe there will be several random things that shows up on the market occasionally, but I won't complain if the coins I have are the last of the cheap, important, low mintage coins.
« Last Edit: 2016 Nov 26, 07:15:45 AM by badon »
 

Offline badon

dragonzeng168 has the 2016 DiZang Buddhas in his inventory. These are a continuation of the CCT3547: 1987 to 1989 1/4 oz gold Buddhist gods incense urn 5 coin set, that you can see in the "Supreme Set" posted a bit earlier. You can tell if a coin is part of this series because they all have the same incense urn with dragon-shaped handles on the reverse. The old coins had mintages as high as 5000, but these new coins have much lower mintages. I had traded out my gold specimens because they weren't as rare as the silver gods I own, and now I'm glad I did because the mintages for these DiZang Buddha coins are as low as 99, but not too expensive yet since they're new for 2016.

* 2016 1/2 oz silver DiZang Buddha, mintage 666.
* 2016 5 oz silver DiZang Buddha, mintage 99.
* 2016 1/4 oz gold DiZang Buddha, mintage 99.
* 2016 5 oz gold DiZang Buddha, mintage 99.

An interesting fact about the gods series is that most of them do not have a fiat value. I think it was ggoodluck2013 who explained to us that it is considered disrespectful to put a meaningless fiat number on a coin intended to commemorate the Chinese gods. There are some recently minted Buddhist art theme coins that have fiat values, but arguably those don't commemorate gods per se. Instead, they commemorate the art and archaeology of the sculptures.
 

Offline badon

Di Zang Buddha photos and related photos.
« Last Edit: 2016 Nov 26, 07:54:49 AM by badon »
 

Offline badon

More photos.
 

Offline badon

More photos.
 

Offline badon

More photos.
 

Offline trouble

dragonzeng168 has the 2016 DiZang Buddhas in his inventory. These are a continuation of the CCT3547: 1987 to 1989 1/4 oz gold Buddhist gods incense urn 5 coin set, that you can see in the "Supreme Set" posted a bit earlier. You can tell if a coin is part of this series because they all have the same incense urn with dragon-shaped handles on the reverse. The old coins had mintages as high as 5000, but these new coins have much lower mintages. I had traded out my gold specimens because they weren't as rare as the silver gods I own, and now I'm glad I did because the mintages for these DiZang Buddha coins are as low as 99, but not too expensive yet since they're new for 2016.

* 2016 1/2 oz silver DiZang Buddha, mintage 666.
* 2016 5 oz silver DiZang Buddha, mintage 99.
* 2016 1/4 oz gold DiZang Buddha, mintage 99.
* 2016 5 oz gold DiZang Buddha, mintage 99.

An interesting fact about the gods series is that most of them do not have a fiat value. I think it was ggoodluck2013 who explained to us that it is considered disrespectful to put a meaningless fiat number on a coin intended to commemorate the Chinese gods. There are some recently minted Buddhist art theme coins that have fiat values, but arguably those don't commemorate gods per se. Instead, they commemorate the art and archaeology of the sculptures.

Tell me the different of Chinese God and Buddha.
 

Offline badon

There is a lot of crossover in the Gods, but most of them can be categorized as Taoist folk gods or Buddhist folk gods. The "folk" of that basically means it's a part of the common people's culture, so there is nothing to stop Taoists and Buddhists from having the same folk gods. Other gods transcend the culture of the common people (the "folk"), but those tend to be called "gods" infrequently, even though they have very similar cultural roles as any other gods. Basically, any magical character that has a specific identifying name can be considered a god, especially if the magical character affects the world of people. So, dragons are not gods, but the dragon king and the 9 sons of the dragon can be considered gods. Buddha and his many incarnations can be considered gods too.

Since we're talking about made-up stories with little or no factual basis in reality, who is considered a god and who isn't is a matter of opinion, especially when we're applying English words like "god" to Chinese concepts that might not be entirely the exact same thing. For example, in English unnamed magical creatures that interact with the world of people can be considered gods, or something not quite like a god. Spirits, sprites, elves, gnomes, saints, etc are good examples. A character can also be god-like, but immortal, or not as capable as a typical god, and those creatures could be called "demi-gods", which basically means "almost a god".

Most Western cultures are similar to Chinese cultural in the way that non-magical mortal beings like people, animals, etc can become gods with the passage of time. Ancestor worship in the East is a good example of that kind of apotheosis. See? There's even a word for it in English, probably stemming from ancient Greek or something.
 

Offline trouble

There is a lot of crossover in the Gods, but most of them can be categorized as Taoist folk gods or Buddhist folk gods. The "folk" of that basically means it's a part of the common people's culture, so there is nothing to stop Taoists and Buddhists from having the same folk gods. Other gods transcend the culture of the common people (the "folk"), but those tend to be called "gods" infrequently, even though they have very similar cultural roles as any other gods. Basically, any magical character that has a specific identifying name can be considered a god, especially if the magical character affects the world of people. So, dragons are not gods, but the dragon king and the 9 sons of the dragon can be considered gods. Buddha and his many incarnations can be considered gods too.

Since we're talking about made-up stories with little or no factual basis in reality, who is considered a god and who isn't is a matter of opinion, especially when we're applying English words like "god" to Chinese concepts that might not be entirely the exact same thing. For example, in English unnamed magical creatures that interact with the world of people can be considered gods, or something not quite like a god. Spirits, sprites, elves, gnomes, saints, etc are good examples. A character can also be god-like, but immortal, or not as capable as a typical god, and those creatures could be called "demi-gods", which basically means "almost a god".

Most Western cultures are similar to Chinese cultural in the way that non-magical mortal beings like people, animals, etc can become gods with the passage of time. Ancestor worship in the East is a good example of that kind of apotheosis. See? There's even a word for it in English, probably stemming from ancient Greek or something.

It is interesting of western eyes of God in china.

In china folk gods not equal to Buddha. Gods is more on folk Taoist which is one of the religious. Buddha is another religious of Chinese. Both has different doctrine.

You might look at it as same and call all of it gods of china/Chinese. As Thai say same same is different. In fact it is different in Chinese eyes which both are different religious.

Fiat coins of china has Buddha and gods with face value not only the building. This happen recently and early years too.

I am not sure and understand the reason of your contact by saying not respecting god by putting face value on it.
 

Offline badon