The Royal Mint releases Shēngxiào Collection ‘Year of the Sheep’ coins

20 Aug 2014

The Royal Mint has revealed its coin designs for the Lunar Year of the Sheep, an event that has been eagerly anticipated since the release of the  2014 Year of the Horse coins last year - the first time that Lunar coins had been produced specifically for the United Kingdom.

Known as the Shēngxiào (or Chinese zodiac) Collection, The Royal Mint’s Lunar coin series reflects the Shēngxiào tradition, linking each year to one of 12 animals, with the animal traits attributed to those born in a given Lunar year. Celebrated annually in February, it is a time during which it is traditional to exchange tokens and, in particular, gifts of money in red envelopes, symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.

British Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho, who designed the 2014 Year of the Horse coin for The Royal Mint, continues the collection with a design that once again combines both British and Chinese heritage. The Year of the Sheep coin is the second in this auspicious series, and its design reflects characteristics of those born in the year of the sheep: freedom-loving with a passion for company.

Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “Following on from the hugely popular Year of the Horse coins range, of which three quarters were sold out in the first few months,  The Royal Mint is happy to be bringing its craftsmanship and artistic skills to this latest coin in the Shēngxiào Collection. Supporting the centuries-old tradition of giving zodiac coins at the Lunar New Year, we’re expecting to see similar demand this year for Wuon Gean’s stunning design.”

The coins range from 999.9 fine gold to gold-plated and 999 fine silver, each supplied in bold red packaging reflecting centuries of Chinese tradition, with a beautifully designed booklet that reveals the customs that inspired the artist and her blend of both Chinese and British heritage. All coins in the range are limited, with mintages featuring the number ‘8’ thought to be lucky in Chinese culture. The coins range from RRP £82.50 for the One Ounce Silver Proof Coin, to £7,500 for the Five-Ounce Gold Proof Coin.