Author Topic: Non-fiat v fiat: 2017 1/2 oz silver Gods of Harmony and Unity mintage 599 v 20k  (Read 1354 times)

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Offline badon

In 2015 the Shanghai Mint produced the 2015 1 oz silver Xu Beihong Gods of Harmony and Unity, with a literally meaningless fiat number 10 printed on it:

The COA above says it had a mintage of 20'000, and I'm guessing they must have sold well because today they're expensive, and not so easy to find. I did a search for 2015 silver beihong on ebay, and I could only find 3 listings for the coin, and only 2 with the coin alone, for use in meaningful price comparisons:

All of the listings are from either warmshy (new, ending, sold) or thincat00 (new, ending, sold):

* China 2015 Modern Chinese Painting Master Xu Beihong Silver Coin 1 OZ 10 Yuan, Buy-It-Now $550.
* China 2015 1oz Silver Coin - Modern Chinese Painting Master - Xu Beihong, Buy-It-Now $589 with Best Offer option.

Xu Beihong is one of the most famous artists of China, and many coins commemorating him or his art have been minted over the years. Some of them are quite impressive, but this one looks average to me, by 2015 standards, especially because they came from the People's Republic of China's (PRC) main Shanghai Mint, which is fully capable of producing incredible coinage art. With average artistic quality at a somewhat high price of $550 each, I'm not very excited about the 20'000 mintage.

The 2015 coin gets discussed frequently in China, and it appears to me Chinese collectors like it quite a bit. It's described as "very popular", and it's probably because of the other things the Gods of Harmony and Unity represent, namely wealth and marriage. Wealth and families are very important parts of Chinese culture. The coins sell in China for about $300 ungraded, or about $500 in NGC 70. Those are some healthy prices for a coin with a mintage of 20'000.

Now, take a look at these non-fiat 2017 1/2 oz silver Gods of Harmony and Unity:

They have a mintage of only 599, and they have much better artwork. The COA is very plain though. The specimen in the photos is $139 in dragonzeng168's (new, ending, sold) inventory, NGC 70, with 2 different label styles:

* Shanghai 2017 God Of Harmony Unity Wealth Marriage China 1/2oz Silver NGC 70 599, Buy-It-Now $139.
* Shanghai 2017 God Of Harmony Unity Wealth Marriage China 1/2oz Silver NGC 70 599, Buy-It-Now $139.

Go ahead, make a guess about which coin is a better investment. I'll give you a hint, it's not the expensive coins with a mintage of 20'000.

In my own investment strategy, I am betting on a decrease in the popularity of fiat. That doesn't necessarily mean prices for fiat coins will drop, but it does mean any less-popular, cheaper, and rarer non-fiat coin will probably become more-popular, and thus prices will rise, especially when a favorable direct comparison can be made with a fiat coin. I'm watching the market for direct comparisons of non-fiat versus fiat because that provides the predictability necessary to make an investing decision.

The comparison between the non-fiat 2017 1/2 oz silver Gods of Harmony and Unity versus the fiat 2015 1 oz silver Xu Beihong Gods of Harmony and Unity, greatly favors the non-fiat for investment purposes. Also note the fact it is considered improper to put a fiat value on China's gods, in Chinese culture. That's another potential advantage for the non-fiat version that can lead to a popularity increase, and then a price increase.

Here is my research about these gods, and what they mean in Chinese culture:

* gods of harmony OR harmonious unity OR union "he he" OR hehe OR "he-he" - Google Search
* He Er Xian - Google Search
* He-He Er Xian - Wikipedia
* Hehe er xian – 和合二仙 – The Two Immortals | CHINESE WOODBLOCK PRINTING
* What is the story or legend about the He He er xian twins in Chinese mythology? - Quora
* rebus - Google Search

The gods are based on 2 possibly-real historical figures, both male monks. The more famous one is named Hanshan, and the other is named Shide:

* Hanshan (poet) - Wikipedia
* Shide (monk) - Wikipedia

The monks are traditionally renamed to "He" and "He". The have different Chinese characters, but the same or similar pronunciation. The objects they're associated with are also called "He" and "He" - A lotus flower and a round box. It's play on words called a "rebus".

I thought it was interesting that this pair of male monks are associated with marriage in Chinese culture. In the legends and myths told about these monks, they are always happy together, and always inseparable. The first thought that popped up in my mind is, "Are these monks a gay couple?". Look at this design. Both male monks have feminine hair styles and clothing. Either the artist that designed these didn't understand the monks are male, or this is a deliberate depiction of cross-dressing monks. Either way, it's sensational. I suspect it's an unintentional design error, which is more interesting from a numismatic point of view, but both cases can result in price gains.

I will be watching for other modern cultural cues to see if these monks are indeed intended to be used to represent a gay or other unconventional relationship somehow. All scenarios point to this coin being an oddity that will definitely attract attention to these coins. Since my investment strategy relies on an increase in popularity, any attention is good attention for these coins.

I don't own these coins yet, and I don't intend to buy them at the time of this writing, but I'm going to continue researching these coins. I haven't added a new gods coin to my collection for several months, and since these are so cheap and have such obvious upside potential, I might need to buy them. I have been focusing my investing on pandas and lunar pandas lately, so diversifying into some more gods coins might help to balance my collection.

« Last Edit: 2017 Jan 12, 11:07:22 PM by badon »

Offline badon


The coin on the left costs $550 ungraded, and has a mintage of 20'000. The coin on the right costs $139 in NGC 70 grade, and has a mintage of 599. People are paying serious money for the little"10" printed on the left coin. It is a fiat number, and by definition, fiat numbers are meaningless. They are paying an extra $411 per coin for that little "10". For the entire mintage, the extra amount being paid is shocking: $411 X 20'000 = $8.22 million USD! Is that meaningless little "10" really worth $8 million dollars? One thing is certain: $139 for an NGC 70 with a mintage of 599 is a much better deal.

在左边的硬币成本550美元没有定级,并有20'000的铸币。 右边的硬币在NGC 70级别上花费139美元,并且有599的硬币。人们正在为左硬币上打印的小“10”支付严重的钱。 这是一个菲亚特数字,根据定义,菲亚特数字是无意义的。 他们为那个小的“10”支付额外的$ 411每枚硬币。 对于整个铸币,额外的金额是令人震惊的:$ 411 X 20'000 = $ 8.22百万美元! 是没有意义的小“10”真的值800万美元? 有一件事是肯定的:一个NGC 70的铸币$ 599的139美元是一个更好的交易。

Meme captions:

So you're telling me they print a number on it, then people pay more?

So I said print a number on it and they will pay more!