The traditional exchange of red packets of money to celebrate the Chinese New Year has been given a British twist for the Year of the Horse.

China began minting Lunar coins to commemorate the Chinese New Year in 1981 — normally one side of the coin features a historical building and the other the lunar animal.

The Royal Mint has released its first limited edition collection of legal tender Lunar coins with an equestrian-theme — showing a leaping horse in front of the Uffington white horse in Oxfordshire.

Unfortunately a piece of horsey luck does not come cheap. The most basic coin in the collection will set you back £82.50, with the most expensive costing nearly £2,000.

You might be excused for thinking that coin collecting equestrians were a rare species, but more than 8,000 of the limited edition have already been sold — including 600 of the most expensive in the collection.

Shane Bissett from The Royal Mint said: “We hope the coins will become the perfect way to wish luck and prosperity to a loved one, to continue the tradition of exchanging gifts at the Lunar New Year or to simply spark an interesting collection.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 February 2014)