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Since 2014, each coin in the Shēngxiào Collection has celebrated the lunar animals of the Chinese zodiac in turn. As the cycle starts anew in 2020 with the Year of the Rat, The Royal Mint is delighted to add a new Brilliant Uncirculated coin to the range.
The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. The 12-year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter.
Identifying this scheme using the generic term "zodiac" reflects several superficial similarities to the Western zodiac. Nevertheless, there are major differences between the two: the animals of the Chinese zodiac are not associated with constellations spanned by the ecliptic plane. The Chinese 12-part cycle corresponds to years, rather than months. The Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 animals, whereas some of the signs in the Western zodiac are not animals, despite the implication of the etymology of the word zodiac.
The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.
ELIZABETH II·D·G·REG·FID·DEF·5 POUNDS·
Depicts a single rat set (crouches and sniffs the air) against a backdrop of peonies, one of China’s best-loved flowers, in a beautiful fusion of British and Chinese culture.
YEAR OF THE RAT • 2020