In 2017, the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Germany celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. Together with Michael Hans Chou, owner of Champion Leilo Co., Hong Kong, the auction house Künker took this as an occasion to initiate two Panda medals of which the German version’s very first specimen was struck on June 30, 2017, in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador.
What would the friendship between states be if it was not lived by people? Ulrich Künker, Managing Director of Künker, has been a good friend of Michael Hans Chou for years. Their personal friendship inspired the two of them to erect a numismatic monument to the friendship of their nations. And so the idea of a set of two Panda medals was born.
Both medals feature the same motif on their obverse. The reverses have a different design: for China by Yu Min, for Germany by Heinz Hoyer and Sneschana Russewa-Hoyer. The Staatliche Münze Berlin was won over to strike the German medal.
As a motive for China, the Panda bear was selected which has become a virtual symbol of China. He faces the Berlin Bear, which is at least as popular.
With the support of the Minister Counsellor for Cultural Affairs of the Chinese Embassy, the initiators received the approval of the Chinese Ministry of Culture to use the official logo of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Germany for the production of the Panda medals.
Yu Min has designed more than 100 circulation and commemorative coins of the People’s Republic of China, including over 40 Panda motifs. The talented engraver is highly esteemed not only in China but throughout the world. He received the Krause Award for his life’s work as part of the COTY Ceremony early in 2017. He is the first Asian designer ever to be awarded this honor.
Heinz Hoyer is also a Krause Award laureate. As the first German to receive it, he won it in 2016. His name is familiar to all collectors of FRG and GDR coins, for he has designed more than 20 circulation and commemorative coins. The most famous and widespread work of his are the German 1- and 2-euros circulation coins which, manufactured by the billions, are in use in the whole of Europe.
Yu Min designed the common obverse of the medal. At the center it features the logo of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Germany; in the background one can see the Brandenburg Gate and the Great Wall of China, with ‘Sino-German Friendship’ below.
On the reverse of the Chinese version one can see a bear on the left, standing r., with two playing pandas turning towards him and a bamboo branch behind indicating a natural ambience. Below the wording ‘Chinesisch-Deutsche Freundschaft’, above ‘中德友好’. The version designed by Yu Min is produced by one of China’s leading private mints.
The German reverse features the Berlin Bear, welcoming two pandas with a bouquet of flowers, in the background one sees Berlin landmarks. And the inscription ‘Chinesisch-Deutsche Freundschaft’ in English, Chinese, and German. The version created by the Hoyer couple is produced by Germany’s oldest mint, the Staatliche Münze Berlin, which started operation as early as 1280.
On June 30, the first-strike ceremony of the ‘German’ medal took place in the Staatliche Münze Berlin. Dr. Andreas Schikora, head of the Berlin Mint, hosted a well-attended event. Speakers were Chinese Ambassador Shi Mingde and Dr. Norbert Riedel who represented the German government.
Aside from the official event, the two contemplated if 50 years of Sino-German friendship in 2022 would not constitute the perfect opportunity to issue official commemorative coins of the People’s Republic of China and the FRG.
A short film with impressions from the event can be found below.
When the Chinese panda couple Meng Meng (梦梦) and Jiao Qing (娇庆) will be officially handed over to the Berlin Zoo on July 5, 2017, everybody present at this ceremony, which Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel are also expected to attend, will receive a set of Panda medals made from silver plated brass. This version is not available for sale. However, made from one ounce of .999 fine silver, a set of Panda medals will be offered, in a prestigious box accompanied by a certificate. This set can be purchased for €159 only through the Künker online shop. The mintage amounts to 3,000 sets.
中国, 中國, 大熊猫