What is a Chinese Gold Unicorn Coin?
The Chinese Gold Unicorn is a series of bullion coins minted between 1994 and 1997 and created primarily for the export market. The coins are so named as each coin has an image of a unicorn on it.
The Chinese gold unicorn coins were minted in fairly low mintages and are therefore not always easy to find. The coins themselves were minted as 5 oz, 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, and 1/20 oz although there were also a few other sizes as large as 20 oz and 32.15 oz (which is a full 1 kg).
The obverse shows the unicorn and denomination.
The reverse usually shows mythical Chinese Kirin.
Besides being minted in gold, silver and platinum were also used and a bimetallic (gold inner/silver outer) coin was made in 1994 and 1995. All the metals are 99.9% fine.
Colossal Unicorn Sets
You find many unicorns as being sold as sets, with 2/3/4/5 coins and mixed between different sizes and different metals. So a 3-coin set may be 1 gold and 2 silver coins or 3 gold coins, so check the contents before buying any named set.
Special sets, know as the Colossal Unicorn Sets, contain 12 or 14 (in 1996) coins which contain all the unicorn coins for that year except for the 1 kg coin. Colossal sets are very rare and expensive (as in six figures). There were only 15 made in each year and even the original box is much sought after.
All coins are low mintage
As some of these coins were probably sent to the melting pot without people realising their numismatic potential, the actual number of coins in circulation are not well known, but initial mintages were low. The 1 oz (denominated 100 Yuan) coin was only 800 to 1000 per year.
The 1 kg gold unicorn (denominated at 2,000 Yuan) is obviously very expensive – probably around £250,000+.