CIT(Coin Invest Trust) showed off several new coins at the 2017 Singapore International Coin Fair this year. Amongst those is the new panda coin that has become yet another instant hit, no real surprise there. Another coin released at that event is the 2oz Laughing Buddha coin.
The Laughing Buddha, or Budai as the figure is known in Chinese and Japanese, is a depiction of the Buddha as a fat, bold man wearing a simple robe. The figure is also typically seen either wearing or carrying prayer beads and a cloth sack, said to contain all his worldly belongings.
The most notable feature is the joyous expression on his face, thusly leading to the colloquial name of laughing Buddha. The image symbolises the fact that despite being poor, the figure is not only content with life but truly happy. One particular superstition surrounding the Laughing Buddha is the belief that rubbing his ample belly would bring good fortune and prosperity. He is viewed in particular as a protector of the poor, weak and of children.
The reverse of the coin is minted using CIT's Smartminting technology and features a ultra high relief image of the laughing Buddha. The jolly figure is depicted in the traditional seated position, with prayer beads in his left hand. Seated on a decorative pedestal, the high relief of the Buddha is treated to a gold gilding while the rest of the coin receives a black proof finish. The background of the coin is filled with a sculpted lotus mandala pattern, radiating towards the rim of the coin from behind the Buddha. The words “LAUGHING BUDDHA” and “2017” are engraved to the bottom.
The coin is minted under the authority of Palau with a denomination of “10 Dollars” and as such the National Coat of Arms of the Republic of Palau appears on the obverse of the coin. This is surrounded with a decorative border that mirrors the outer most pattern of the lotus mandala on the reverse of the coin.
The crown sized coin measures 38.61mm(1.52 inch) and is struck with 2oz of pure .999 Fineness silver. The mintage of the coin is also notable at only 888 coins. In traditional Chinese culture the number 8 is considered to be very lucky, so iterations of that, like 888, is similarly viewed as bringing good fortune.
The coin is shipped in a themed and textures display box, living up to the CIT's usual high standard. Although already sold out at the mint, the coin is available from various of the larger coin dealers with prices typically seen around the US$220.00 mark(at the time of publishing).
Accompanying the release is a gold version of the Laughing Buddha, forming part of CIT's tiny gold coin series minted using their BGM(Big Gold Minting) technology. The small $1 coin from Palau is shaped in the form of a laughing Buddha figure.
Measuring 13.92mm(0.548 inch) it is slightly larger than the usual 11mm that these small gold pieces are usually minted in, despite retaining the same 0.5 gram weight. Minted from pure .9999 Fineness gold, the coin has a far more substantial mintage of 15 000 coins in comparison to the larger silver coin. Only available in a brilliant uncirculated finish the gold coin is expected to retail for around US$60.00 each. Although past coins in the tiny gold series have varied greatly in price from dealer to dealer.