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This is the very first Canadian coin with a square hole in the middle. It was inspired by the square-holed coins that came into use in China after 523 B.C. These coins were cast from bronze and the holes enabled them to be strung on a cord - 1,000 coins forming the main purchasing unit in use at the time.
The reverse shows a stylized oriental design (reminiscent of the trade dollars of Great Britain) with Chinese characters along with the Queen's portrait, in frosted cameo, and the legend ELIZABETH II D. G. REGINA ("Elizabeth II, Queen by the Grace of God"). Artist is Susanna Blunt.
The obverse features a Chinese dragon, well known as a symbol of power in Chinese folklore and art. Perhaps this is Fucanglong, the Dragon of Hidden Treasures who guards precious metals and jewels. Also featured are a bat and a deer, all executed by well-known Canadian artist Harvey Chan (HC). The unusual denomination of 8 DOLLARS (a lucky number) is also on the obverse.