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1980 China Winter and Summer Olympics Coin Sets

In 1980 China issued two sets of coins namely the WINTER Olympic and SUMMER Olympic Coin sets.

The WINTER Olympic coin set was released in May 1980 commemorating the 1980 Winter Olympic at Lake Placid New York and the SUMMER Olympic coin set was released in June 1980 to commemorate the recognition of the Chinese Olympic Committee by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Both Summer and Winter set comprises gold, silver and brass coin both of regular thickness and piedfort varieties as well as pattern coins.

1980 3 pieces coin set in a red box

1980 3 pieces coin set in a red box

China 1980 Summer Olympic Silver coin

China 1980 Summer Olympic Silver coin


A bit of details of these 1980 Olympic coins sets:

  • It is the first Olympic coin series in Modern China;
  • It is also the first series of modern Chinese coins which does not have the words “People’s Republic of China” on the obverse side. Instead the inscription was “Chinese Olympic Committee”
  • The series also contains the only brass piedfort coins in the history of modern China.
  • The coins were designed by famous designers and masters in coin arts and design like Chen Jian who is well re-known coin designer in China.
  • The Winter Olympic 4 coins set depicted the four different winter sports namely a women speed skating, figure skating, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. In each coin, with the featured sports are framed by a snow flake, and the words “13th Winter Olympic” in Chinese, and “Lake Placid 1980” in English. Incidentally, the Winter Olympic coin is probably the only set of coins in the world with the Olympic Rings on both side of the coin. This is because the Olympic Rings is proprietary of the International Olympic Committee, and cannot be used freely, so these Winter Olympic Coins are really an exception.
  • The Summer Olympic 4 coins set depicted four ancient sports: equestrian, archery, soccer and wrestling, all scribed in an ancient stone painting style, emphasizing China’s long history and heritage.
  • Both Winter and Summer coins were struck in Shenyang Mint and Shanghai Mint respectively and both set of coins were distributed by International Coins & Currency Inc(ICC).
  • Most of these Olympic coins were sold as SETS re:- the Winter Olympic and Summer Olympic piedfort set which includes the gold, silver and copper piedforts for both sets; and separate coin sets for the normal gold, silver and copper coins. Only some were sold as individual coins. For coins collectors some interesting notes to bear in mind:
  • The Olympic series gold coins are well known for their special denominations like the archery gold which is the only gold coin in modern China with a denomination of 300 Yuan, while the alpine skiing gold coin is one of the only two gold coins with a denomination of 250 Yuan. Because of this special denomination, the alpine skiing, which is 1/4 oz, is also one of two gold coins with the highest denomination/weight ratio.
  • Another significant point to note about the 1980 Olympic gold coins were that many of the gold pieces were melted due to the high gold prices in the 1980 so even though the Winter Olympic gold has a 10,143 mintage and the Summer Olympic gold coin has a 15,019 mintage, therefore these gold coins are now pretty scarce. The gold piedforts, of course, are even more precious, with the Winter Olympic gold piedfort having an actual mintage of only 350.
  • Though the silver Olympic 8 coins sets has a higher mintage we can only commonly see the 4 pattern sports re: (i)women speed skating, (ii)ancient wrestling, (iii)ancient soccer and (iv)ancient equestrian silver coins but not the rest hence making a full set of Olympic silver coins more desirable.
  • It is also difficult to get full mint silver sets due mainly to poor packaging issues.( The plastic coin container keep dropping out hence not air tight)- this is especially so for those Summer Olympic silver coins which have only 85% silver compared to the Winter Olympic silver coins (90% purity). This makes the Summer Olympic silver coins much more susceptible to the loss of toning and luster.
  • Out of all the silver variety in the 1980 Olympic series, the Summer Olympic archery silver piedfort is the most outstanding and special because of its appearance re: the much smaller diameter (23 mm) of the archery silver coin compared to the rest (28 – 33 mm) makes the archery piedfort look like a small silver cylinder when being thickened to the same thickness as the rest of the piedforts. Furthermore this silver archery silver piedofort coin has a very small mintage of 500 compared to the 2,000 for its Winter Olympic cousins. Hence this silver archery piedfort coin has become one of the most precious Chinese modern coins and ranking in the rarest silver league in Olympic coins in the world and rarer than the 1952 Finland Markka silver coin, the first Olympic silver coin since Ancient Greece.
1980 30 yuan gold olympic archery coin in a blue box

1980 30 yuan gold olympic archery coin in a blue box




1980 Summer Olympic 4 brass coin set in a red box

1980 Summer Olympic 4 brass coin set in a red box




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