The Lunar New Year begins on January 31st this year, ushering in the Year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac. Previously, we reported that the US government began issuing 'Lucky Money' dollar bills with a serial number beginning with the lucky 8888. The series, limited at 88,888 dollar bills, are now sold out. However, we have some other suggestions if you are looking for suitable gifts, or "red envelopes", for youngsters or as mementos to people born in the Year of the Horse.

The horse is considered a very auspicious sign in the Chinese zodiac because it symbolizes the start of a galloping new venture or successful career. People who are born under this sign are sociable, hardworking and optimistic. The Year of the Horse, as with other Lunar signs, comes around every 12 years, such as in 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 and 2002. However, people born in January or February should consult the lunar calendar for the exact dates. The celebration of the Lunar New Year also coincides with the beginning of spring.

1. Year of the Horse Forever Stamps from the US Postal Service:

This beautiful stamp is the seventh of the 12-year lunar new year series that started in 2008. Featuring traditional Chinese drums decorated with peony flowers, the paper cut design of a horse, and the Chinese word 'Horse' written in calligraphy, the stamps are for sale in a 12-stamp sheet. The forever stamp will go up from 46 cents to 49 cents along with other first-class postage on January 26. First-day covers are also available at USPS.com.


2. Year of the Horse Stamp from Canada:

Canada issued a Year of the Horse stamp depicting a galloping horse with mane and tail in flying motion in both English and French versions, each with domestic and international values. The Canadian stamps can be purchased in many options, such as in entire sheets, corner blocks, limited uncut press sheets, postcards, first-day covers, etc. Visit their website at canadapost.ca for complete information.


3.. Pure gold and silver coins for the Year of the Horse from Canada:

Did Canada decide its mint needed to stay busy? Canada issued six different coins to commemorate the Year of the Horse!


4. Canada's Pure One-Kilogram Gold Coin for Year of Horse - Mintage 18:

This pure gold coin for the Horse of the Year from Canada is worth a special mention because it is priced at 2,500 Canadian dollars and has an extremely limited mintage of 18, meaning only 18 lucky people may own this coin (or perhaps one extremely wealthy person can own them all.)

5. Gold and silver coins from the People's Republic of China:

Adn of course we can't leave off coins issued by the country where the Chinese zodiac started.

The People’s Bank of China has issued an extensive series of commemorative coins to commemorate the 2014 Year of the Horse. The program includes 9 gold coins and 7 silver coins for a total of 16 coins across two different designs in a variety of sizes and shapes.


6. Silver coins from the Bank of Taiwan (Republic of China):

Taiwan is issuing limited 120,000 sets of silver coins, priced at NT$1,800 (about USD $30) each. An interesting side note to mention is that the president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is named Ma Ing-jeou. The family name, Ma, is the exact same word as 'Horse' in Chinese.


7. Gold and silver coins from Australia:


8. Year of the Horse coins from the Royal Mint of the UK:

Not one to miss out on the action, the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom has, for the first time, issued a Lunar New Year coin starting with the Year of the Horse coin, which is also a legal tender. The series includes brilliant gold and silver coins with a beautiful design by British Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho.


Regardless of which gift you select, or whether you buy a gift at all, the most important thing to remember is to start the new year with an optimistic outlook and spend quality time with your family and loved ones.

Happy Lunar New Year!