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World's Highest Railway Commemorated on New Chinese Coins

China's new coins honor a great achievement for its railway system. The Qing-Zang-Railway, running almost 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) from Xining to Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, is an impressive engineering feat -- some 960 kilometers of its tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters, at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was formerly the world's most elevated track.

The 2006 10 Yuan silver and 100 Yuan gold coins commemorate the opening of the Qing-Zang-Railway to traffic in June 2006. Mintages are 36,000 1 oz., .999 fine silver proof coins and 16,000 1/4 oz., .999 fine gold proof coins, all struck at the Shenzhen Guobao Mint. Inscriptions are in Chinese and Tibetan. These are now available from the official distributor Panda America at the issue price of $425 for the silver and gold coin proof set; individual silver and gold coins may be available only by special request.

2006 10 Yuan silver Qing-Zang-Railway coin

The silver coin shows a train traveling on the Yangtze River Bridge. Special tourist trains feature hotel-like services and special viewing cars for the 48-hour journey to the "roof of the world." Yaks and Tibetan Antelopes are featured, with ice-covered mountains in background. Construction on the Qing-Zang-Railway was halted for 10 days last August to allow the rare female Tibet Antelopes and their newborns to pass through on their way back from their birthing area in the Kekexili region. Animal channels have been designed so that the new construction will not affect the life and reproduction of wildlife. The Lhasa Railway Station is pictured on the other side of the silver coin.

2006 100 Yuan gold Qing-Zang-Railway coin

The obverse of the gold coin features the Map of Qing-Zang-Railway and a Tracklayer; the reverse pictures the 1,686 meter Kunlun MountainTunnel, the world's longest plateau tunnel built on frozen earth.

The Qing-Zang-Railway coins can be ordered from Panda America, 3460 Torrance Blvd., Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503. Credit card orders can be placed by calling 800-472-6327 or at www.PandaAmerica.com. Add $7.50 for shipping and insurance.

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Prepared by Mel Wacks


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