Description

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.

Obverse

The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, is a type of crown that was made in 1820 for King George IV. The diadem is worn by queens and queens consort in procession to coronations and State Openings of Parliament. The piece of jewelry has been featured in paintings and on stamps and currency. It can be seen in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

ELIZABETH II·D·G·REG·FID·DEF·5 POUNDS·
JC

Reverse

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.

The Rat is the first of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 子.

People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Rat": 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.

Engraver: P. J. Lynch

YEAR OF THE RAT • 2020
PJL

Edge
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 28.2 g
Diameter 38.6 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Mint

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