Chinese Coins: BeiDou Satellite Coins

Gold and silver commemorative coins were issued for the BeiDou navigation system.

China has a history of minting coins to celebrate its accomplishments in the aerospace field. To commemorate the launch of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, or BDS, in 2013 China Gold Coin Incorporation released a pair of Proof commemoratives. One is gold and the other silver. The BDS is a geographic location system that competes with GPS, Russia's Glonass and the European Union's Galileo. BeiDou completed the Asia-Pacific part of its network at the end of last year. It has plans for global coverage by 2020.

Its makers believe that BDS offers superior communications during disasters because it allows 120 character messages to be sent as well as positioning information. For instance, following the severe 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province rescuers were able to communicate with their headquarters via BDS even though cell phone and wired service was down.

The country is giving a strong push toward adoption of the system by requiring all new Chinese-made trucks to include BDS as well as encouraging cars to use it. When the system is complete it will allow accurate positioning within 10 meters, or 33 feet, anywhere on Earth.

The coins themselves are quite beautiful and display a variety of decorative elements such as the five star PRC emblem, satellites and binary codes. The People's Bank of China has certified that both are legal tender of the People's Republic of China.

The gold BeiDou Satellite coin is 23mm in diameter and is made of 1/3 oz. of .999 fine gold. It has a published mintage of 30,000. The silver BDS coin is 40mm in diameter and is made of 1 oz. of .999 fine silver. Its mintage is 60,000.

China 2013 S10Y BeiDou Satellite

Peter Anthony is an expert on Chinese modern coins with a particular focus on Panda coins. He is an analyst for the NGC Chinese Modern Coin Price Guide as well as a consultant on Chinese modern coins.

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