China will commemorate their historic first spacewalk with legal tender silver and gold coins, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced on Monday. The Central Bank said 60,000 one-ounce silver and 30,000 one-third ounce gold coins would be minted by the Shenyang Mint and issued on October 8, 2008.
The obverse (heads side) of each coin bears a decorative solar system map design while the colorized reverse portrays a taikonaut conducting a spacewalk below the Chinese words ‘To commemorate the success of China’s first spacewalk’.
The silver coins will have a face value of 10 yuan, be made from 99.9 percent silver, and have a diameter of 44 mm. Each gold coin will be marked as 150 yuan, be made from 99.9 percent gold, and have a diameter of 23 mm, or nearly half the size of the silver version.
41-year-old Zhai Zhigang was the first person from China to walk in outer space on Saturday. After the 68-hour flight in the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft module, the three taikonauts — Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng — returned to Earth on Sunday.
"A small step by Zhai Zhigang in space is a big step in the history of the Chinese nation," said a commentary by the official Xinhua News Agency carried Sunday by the Beijing Daily newspaper.