China issues World Cup silver coins

Updated: 2014-05-05 05:07

By Zhang Fan in New York (China Daily Latin America)

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Commemorative collectibles include gold bars and five kinds of golden cup replicas

China officially launched a set of commemorative coins for the upcoming 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup, making it the fifth country to put out themed coins for the soccer tournament.

China issues World Cup silver coins

A little girl says hello to Fuleco the Armadillo, the official 2014 World Cup mascot, at the China International Cartoon & Animation Festival in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on April 28. The character also appears on commemorative coins minted for the event. Long Wei / For China Daily

Collectors can now choose from five different silver coin packages, ranging from a one-kilogram silver coin to one 20-gram silver coin and two coin sets with a total weight of 100 grams and 120 grams.

The coin design incorporates various images of Brazil and the World Cup, including a map of Brazil and the cartoon Fuleco the Armadillo, mascot of the games.

Along with the silver coins, China is also putting out commemorative golden bars, with weights ranging from 10 grams to 500 grams, and five kinds of gold World Cup models, the largest one weighing 90 grams.

As the only authorized commemorative products on the Chinese mainland, each item comes with a certificate issued by FIFA verifying material, quality, size and weight and signed by Joseph S Blatter, president of FIFA.

Chinese customers can purchase the coins at exclusive shops. A five-silver-coin set costs upwards of $559.

Before China, four countries have already issued commemorative coins for the 2014 World Cup. Brazil’s Central Bank minted nine kinds of commemorative coin earlier this year, with a gold one worth $528. Australia, Spain and the Republic of Belarus also offered coin sets in 2012 and 2013.

The first commemorative coin of the World Cup can be traced back to the 11th FIFA World Cup in 1978, when Argentina offered sets containing three silver and three aluminum coins.

Chinese football fans and collectors have given the 2014 World Cup coins a warm welcome. On Airmb, a popular collectors website in China, the coins are described as having "high artistic and collectible value".

"I definitely want to collect a complete set of the coins, both the Chinese version and Brazilian version," said Jia Xuming, a salesman and football fan in Beijing.

"It will not only help me remember the best moments of the 2014 World Cup, but it is also a wise investment," Jia said, who has coin sets from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Commemorative coins made of precious metal usually have large appreciation potential. China’s Central Bank put out a one-kilogram silver coin in 2006 for the German World Cup at a price of $798. Its value had increased threefold four years later.

Although these coins can be bought through exclusive stores and official websites, some collectors tried to buy through other methods at a much lower price.

Searching keywords "Brazil 2014 World Cup coin" on Taobao, China’s largest online market, yields almost 150 results, including commemorative coins from Brazil and Australia, with the lowest price silver coin prices at less than $6. The site shows that about 10 people have made purchases from the site so far.

"Only the authorized commemorative coins have large appreciation opportunities," said Zhang, a consultant from Artxun auction website. "Customers need to be very careful in choosing these products. We strongly suggest customers buy through official channels."