Thursday, December 17, 2009

Introducing The Somalia 2009 Tutankhamun Treasures Gold-Plated Proof Collection

Celebrating the timeless iconography of Ancient Egypt, the Commonwealth Mint in conjunction with the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, has released the 2009 "Treasures of Tutankhamun" 5-coin, gold-plated collection. This commemorative proof quality coin set, enhanced with dazzling colour, is a stunning tribute to the young Pharaoh and the artifacts found within his tomb. It is actually the third time the collection has been released in as many years, however the 2009 issue steps up the value and quality with an eye-catching display case and inclusion of a statue of the Egyptian God, Anubis.

Somalia 2009 250 Shillings Tutankhamun Treasures Gold-Plated Proof Collection

Inspired by the treasures found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were famously exhibited around the world between 1972 and 1979, each of the 5 coins in the collection features a design of one of the artifacts found amongst the young Pharaoh's possessions. In 2007 the treasures were once again put on tour and to coincide with that the first set of Tutankhamun Treasures coins were released. For 3 years now the collection has been offered, each time the same stunning designs are put on show in high quality proof condition, enhanced with vibrant colour and layered in the world's most favorite precious metal.

The five reverse designs are:

1. The magnificent Gold Mask of Tutankhamun
2. The golden statue of the god Ptah
3. The golden statue of the falcon-headed god Horus
4. The large Scarab Necklace for Tutankhamun to wear across his chest
5. The protective powers of the Udjat Eye

The common obverse features the cartouche of Tutankhamun surrounded by the inscription "THE TREASURES OF TUTANKHAMUN", with the denomination and year of issue below, and in the side panels a representation of the young king seated.

Somalia 2009 250 Shillings Tutankhamun Treasures Gold-Plated Proof Collection

What separates this set from the collections of previous years is the eye-catching way in which it is presented. the five 38mm proof coins are housed in a high-quality "tomb-style" presentation box, complete with hieroglyphs molded into the outer surface. Lifting the lid shows the elegant interior, with the coins nestled in satin-like fabric lining. Completing the collection for 2009 is the addition of a beautifully crafted replica statue of the famed jackal-headed Egyptian God, Anubis. The statue itself measures an impressive 190mm, and is shown holding a staff. The collections is topped off by a Certificate of Authenticity.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Belarus Release Latest In Fairy Tales Series Of "Antiqued" Silver Coins

September, 2009: Struck at the Poland Mint (Mennica Polska) and released through the National Bank of Belarus is the latest in the superb series of silver coins dedicated to famous fairy tales from around the world. This coin, the first and perhaps only to be released in 2009, is the 10th coin in the series and pays tribute to the story of The Nutcracker.

Belarus 2009 20R Nutcracker Fairy Tale Silver UNC

Written in 1816 by Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (Better known as his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann)) and originally entitled "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", this classic fairy tale from Germany tells the story of Marie, a twelve year old girl who is given a Nutcracker doll on Christmas. In the night the Nutcracker doll comes to life and does battle with the evil Mouse King. Little does Marie know that the Nutcracker doll is in fact a handsome young man who was cursed. Her godfather, Drosselmeyer, tells her the story of the Mouse Queen, who set a curse upon the King's daughter after the king arranged for mouse traps to be made which killed her children. It took many years to find a cure for the curse but eventually they did, with the help of Drosselmeyer's nephew, who broke the curse on the Princess but accidentally had it fall upon him, turning him into a Nutcracker doll.

Later, the Nutcracker asks Marie for a sword with which he defeats the Mouse King and takes Marie off to a magical doll land. Eventhough her parents don't believe her, she pledges her love to the Nutcracker doll and the curse is broken, with Drosselmeyer's nephew appearing as a handsome young man once again.

Famously, beautiful fable was turned into a ballet by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, in 1892. It has become one of Tchaikovsky's most famous compositions, and one of the most popular ballets in the world.

The reverse design shows imagery from the story of The Nutcracker, with the doll itself charging towards the mouse army with sword raised. Seem below in mirroed form is the handsome young nephew. Marie is to the right in front of a stylised Christmas tree with her eyes closed. Set within the hat of the Nutcracker is a glittering green zircon crystal. The inscription for "Nutcracker" is in the bottom left. The obverse, common to all coins in the Fairy Tales series, shows a young boy and girl sitting upon a crescent moon and reading from an open book. Around them is the night sky filled with stars. Around the top of the coin is the inscription for "Republic of Belarus" with the State Emblem in the middle. Below is the inscription for "Twenty Roubles" and the year of issue, 2009.

The coin is struck from 26.15 grams of 92.5% silver (total weight 28.28 grams) on a 38.61mm flan. To give the coin an "antiqued" appearance a special technique of oxidizing has been employed and the coin is supplied in a capsule for protection. Only 25,000 of these coins have been struck for worldwide distribution.

Also available in the Belarus Fairy Tale Series:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Royal Spanish Mint Issue Latest Coins In "Jewels of Numismatics" Series

The Royal Spanish Mint has released coins in the second series of their "Jewels of Numismatics" program. The coins featured in this series are dedicated to the 400 year old 50 Reales silver, also known as a "Cincuentin" and the 100 Escudos gold coin known as a "Centen". There are 3 coins issued in the series, a 50 euro silver proof honoring the Cincuentin, together with a 100 euro gold-plated silver proof and 20 euro gold proof honoring the Centen.

Spain 2009 50€ Cincuentin Silver Proof

2009 marks the 400th anniversary of the first minting of these historic Spanish coins. Known predominately as the Cincuentín and Centén respectively, the 50 Reales silver and 100 Escudos gold coins are among the most impressive and sought-after in Spanish history. The original coins fetch extremely high prices at auction, with an original 100 gold Escudos recently reaching €800,000 at a Barcelona auction, although it was expected to reach somewhere in the vicinity of €2 million. The original coins were minted at the Real Ingenio de Segovia (Segovia Mint), located in central Spain some 90km north-west of Madrid and founded by King Philip II in 1583. Using new minting machines acquired from his cousin Ferdinand II, Archduke of Further Austria, the mint was able to produce circular coins, with almost perfect edges, very unlike the irregular-edged coins that result from the traditional hammer-striking process of the time. Also typical of the time was the habit of having pieces off gold and silver coins, however with the reeding around the edges of these coins prohibiting that from being done without notice, the coins were accepted at face value without the need to be weighed.

The Cincuentín was the name popularly given to silver coins with a face value of 50 reales, weighing approximately 175 grams and measuring about 76 millimetres in diameter, that were struck in the Real Ingenio during the reigns of the monarchs of the House of Austria, namely Philip III, Philip IV and Charles II. On the obverse was the legend with the name of the monarch, followed by the initials "D.G." (Dei Gratia) surrounding the crowned shield and displaying the coats-of-arms of Castile, Leon, Granada, Aragon, Naples and Sicily, Austria, ancient and modern Burgundy, the Brabant, Portugal, Flanders and the Tyrol. These were flanked by the marks of the assayer and of the mint, the Roman aqueduct at Segovia, and the value "50" in Arabic numbers. The reverse portrayed the arms of Castile and Leon surrounded by the Latin text "Hispaniarum rex" and the year of minting.

Spain 2009 100€ Centen Gold-Plated Silver Proof

The Centén was minted during the period of the last monarchs of the House of Austria, namely Philip III, Philip IV and Charles II. It had a face value of 100 escudos, a diameter something in excess of 70 millimetres, and the established theoretical weight was 359.19 grams. It was utilized as a gift for high-ranking members of the European nobility. The pieces minted were therefore scant, and sometimes amounted to only a single piece per minting session. The original coin weighs 335.5 grams and on the obverse depicts the crowned shield with the coats-of-arms of the Spanish territories, the mint marks, represented by an aqueduct, and the assayer’s mark with the entwined initials AR belonging to Andrés de Pedrera, and the face value 100. The reverse shows the Cross Potent of Jerusalem, an honorary entitlement held by the monarchs of Spain since the time of the Emperor Charles V, and proper to the gold coin.

These two modern issues feature on their reverse full designs taken from the original Spanish coinage. On the obverse are smaller reproductions of the original obverse surrounded with modern elements such as face value, country and year of issue and the logo for the Royal Spanish Mint. The 50 euro silver coin is struck from a massive 168.75 grams of 92.5% sterling silver on a huge 73mm flan, while the 100 euro gold-plated silver proof is struck from 168.88 grams of 92.5% sterling silver on a 73mm flan and coated in fine gold plate. Only 6000 silver and 3000 gold-plated coins have been released to the worldwide market. The coins are both presented in official mint cases with Certificates of Authenticity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Germany 1972 10 Deutschmark Silver Coins Issued For The Munich Olympic Games

In 1972 the German mints produced a voluminous series of silver coins to celebrate the games of the 20th Olympiad, held in Munich that same year. Six differently themed coins were produced, in both silver proof and silver uncirculated quality, from 4 of the 5 German Mints (Berlin did not participate), possibly creating, at an extraordinary 48 individual releases, the largest single-focused coin series ever.

The six themes covered were "In Deutschland", "Schleife", "Athletes", "Stadium", "In Munchen" & "Flame". Each theme was offered as a proof quality coin, struck from 15.50 grams of 62.5% silver on a 33mm flan, as well as an uncirculated version with the same specifications.

Germany 1972 10DM Olympics In Deutschland Silver Coin

In Deutschland - The reverse features the spiral symbol used as the logo for the 1972 Olympic Games. Around the rim of the coin is the inscription (in German) "Games of the XX Olympiad 1972 - In Deutschland". The obverse features the Eagle, Emblem for the Federal Republic of Germany, designed using the same style features as the reverse image.

Germany 1972 10DM Olympic Schleife Silver Coin

Schleife - Honoring the municipality of Schleife in northeast Saxony. The word "Schleife" literally means "knot" and a stylised knot of cloth is features on the Reverse of the coin, with the common obverse design of the Eagle styled after it.

Germany 1972 10DM Olympic Athletes Silver Coin

Athletes - The athletes coin design features two kneeling sports people. The male figure is holding a ball or shot-put on his shoulder, while the female beside him is carrying a baton used in relay racing. Again, the obverse, with denomination and country of issue, shows the Federal Republic of Germany Eagle emblem stylised to complement the reverse design.

Germany 1972 10DM Olympic Stadium Silver Coin

Stadium - Paying tribute to the main Olympic Stadium located in Munich's north, as part of Olympiapark Munchen, the reverse design features an aerial view of the outlay of the Olympic stadium grounds, with the main arena off to the left. The obverse Eagle motif is quite a departure from previous designs in the Olympic series.

Germany 1972 10DM Olympics In Munchen Silver Coin

In Munchen - The "In Munchen" coin was released after a backlash created after the initial "In Deutschmark" silver coin was first issued. The complain came from East Germany (DDR, GDR, German Democratic Republic) and as a result this new release was offered featuring the more specific "In Munchen" inscription together with the German Olympic logo.

Germany 1972 10DM Olympic Flame Silver Coin

Flame - The Olympic flame is an important part of the Olympic Games ceremony and it symbolises the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus. The tradition of having the flame burn for the duration of the games started in Ancient Greece but was discarded until the 1928 games in Amsterdam. It has been used in every games since. The reverse design of this final coin in the 1972 Olympic series features a stylised version of the Olympic flame, with the Olympic rings logo beneath and the German Olympic spiral logo above.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Korean Mint Issues 3rd And Final "Traditional Folk Games" Silver Coin

October 16, 2009: The Korean Mint has concluded its 3 coin silver proof series dedicated to traditional folk games with this stunning 99.9% precious metal release honoring the tug-of-war game known as Yeongsan Juldarigi (Tug-of-war of Yeongsan). This final coin comes after the 2007 Mask Dance and the 2008 Ganggangsullae (Circle Dance) silver issues.

Korea 2009 20000KRW Tug Of War Of Yeongsan Silver Proof

Yeongsan Juldarigi is given its name on account of the game being performed mainly in the agricultural village of Yeongsan in the South Gyeongsang Province of the Korean Peninsula. The tug-of-war game is listed as one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties, aspects of intangible culture that the government of South Korea has officially designated for preservation. It is played with members of the village as a way of praying for a plentiful harvest. It is regarded as a farming ceremony originally held on the 15th of the New Year according to the lunar calendar. These days, however, it is held as one of events marking the March 1 Independence Movement.

Yeongsan Juldarigi is played by dividing the village into East and West. The two sides represent man and woman respectively, although the game itself does not pit one gender against the other. Tradition has it that if the West (women) win the tug-of-war then a bountiful harvest will be had that year. The rope is quite large and too thick to pull, so side ropes are attached so that many people can help pull from either side. To stop the rope being cut it is underpinned by a large tree stump called a Binaemok. The leader then rides on the rope and commands order, at which time the tug-of-war begins and local farm music bands add to the fun with upbeat music. You can see video footage of the tug-of-war here (Requires Quicktime)
Featured on the obverse of this coin is the image of people performing the tug-of-war game, with the underpinned Bi-nyeo-mok in the foreground. The leader can be seen standing on the rope commanding his people to pull. On the reverse is a scene from the village involving townspeople carrying the rope in the background, while in front is a music band beating on drums before the beginning of the game. This side also carries the face value of 20,000 Korean Won (KRW), as well as the year of issue.

The coin is presented in an official case.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spanish Royal Mint Releases 2010 Coin Issue Schedule

The Spanish Royal Mint have released their coin products program for 2010, with much to get excited about.

January: Starting off the year are coins to celebrating the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. Every six months a new country is selected to take on the role of EU president, with Spain receiving this honor from January to June, 2010. It will be the country's 4th term as president since it joined the EU in 1986. There will be a 10 euro silver proof commemorative coin issued in January, with a 12 euro silver proof following in February.

Also released in January will be Spain's 2 euro commemorative coin, paying tribute to the Mezquita, the Roman Catholic cathedral originally built as a Mosque in the Andalusian city of Córdoba. January also sees the first of the Spanish coin sets being released, with the standard mint set or Brilliant Uncirculated coinage appearing sometime during the month.

February: Apart from the second Spanish EU presidency coin February sees the next release in the popular Architecture series, this time dedicated to the famous Sagrada Família Temple (Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família) and the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), for which the temple is considered his master-work.

March: The highly prized and sought-after Spanish proof set of coins will be released this month, featuring all 8 circulating euro in the highest quality available by the mint. It is believed that a proof version of the 2 euro Mezquita commemorative coin will also be included in the set.

March will also see a 10 euro silver proof coin issued to celebrate Xacobeo 2010. Año Santo Jacobeo (or in galician language Ano Santo Xacobeo) is the holy year of St. James. It takes place in the year when the 25th of July (day of St. James) is a Sunday. Xacobeo 2010 is born out of a vocation to celebrate the spiritual and
cultural essence of the Camino de Santiago, serving as an international
showcase for knowledge and the arts.

April: This month sees a 10 euro silver proof and a 100 euro gold proof issued to celebrate the approaching FIFA World Cup held in South Africa between 11 June and 11 July, sure to be the biggest sporting event of the year.

May: Continuing the series of brilliant uncirculated coin sets dedicated to various Spanish regions and cities comes two new releases in May. With each set containing the 8 circulating euro currency of Spain together with the 2010 2 euro commemorative, the sets this year are in honor of the central region of La Mancha and the northwest city of León. La Mancha was made famous by Miguel de Cervantes in his book Don Quixote de La Mancha, while Leon has the famed Gothic cathedral Santa María de León.

Also in may there will be the release of a set of coins honoring well-known Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco de Goya. Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Aragón, Spain, in 1746 and is probably best remembered for his 1793–1794 series of 11 small darkly fantastical paintings, although in his life he painted all manner of subjects. The coins honoring the life and work of Goya will be available in 10 euro silver proof, 50 euro silver proof and 200 euro gold proof.

September: After a gap of a few months the mint will release another set of 3 coins in either silver or gold, this time dedicated to "Ancient Visigothic and Carthaginian coins". It's too early to know what designs will be featured on these coins but they will be available as a 10 euro silver proof, 100 euro gold proof and 25 euro gold proof issues.

October: The final releases from Spain in 2010 will be a series of "Historical" coins issued in varying denominations. The coins, struck in silver proof quality, will be dedicated to a number of different countries such as Argentina, Cuba, Portugal, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and Guatemala, where the Spanish dialect and culture flourish. The coins will be issued in the denominations of each respective country, with the Argentinian and Cuban coins released as Pesos, the Nicaraguan coin as Cordobas, Portugal as euro, etc.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Austrian Mint Issues New Gold Coin For "Crowns Of The House Of Habsburgs" Series

November 4, 2009: The Austrian Mint has released the second coin in their series honoring the "Crowns of the House of Habsburgs". This 2009 release, struck to stunning proof quality, is dedicated to the Archducal Crown of Austria.

Austria 2009 100€ Archducal Crown of Austria Gold Proof

Starting in 2008 with the Holy Roman Empire Crown gold proof coin the "Crowns of the House of Habsburgs" is a five coin series that will see one coin released in November each year, with the final coin issued in 2012. All the coins will be struck to the same exacting standards of proof quality, from 16 grams of 98.6% gold on a 30.00mm flan, and featuring the intricately detailed designs the Austrian Mint are famous for.

The following information on the Archducal Crown of Austria is taken from the Austrian Mint press release.

Rudolf IV invented the title of archduke in the spurious document of 1358/59 called the privilegium maius. It was an attempt to assert the status of the House of Habsburg as the equal of any Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. There exists a mediaeval portrait of Rudolf wearing a crown similar to the Archduke’s Hat. Early versions of the crown have not survived, as they were either broken up or melted down. In 1616, however, Archduke Maximilian III of Tyrol had the present Archduke’s Hat fashioned and he gave it to the Augustinian Abbey of Klosterneuburg just outside Vienna in honor of St. Leopold, whose the tomb and shrine are still situated there to this day.

The Archduke’s Crown was not worn as such. There was no coronation. It was rather a symbol of authority and rank. It was brought into Vienna only for the ceremony of homage paid by the Estates of Lower Austria on the accession of a new Habsburg ruler. The Archduke’s crown was brought in procession into Vienna, conveyed in its own sedan chair along with other pieces of regalia such as orb and sceptre. The Archduke’s crown was then presented to the new ruler and then carried in procession from the palace to St. Stephen’s Cathedral for High Mass. The crown has always been very carefully looked after and secured. Even today the crown is not permitted to be outside the walls of Klosterneuburg Abbey for more than 30 days at a time.

The obverse depicts the crown itself resting on the cushion of the federal lower states of Austria. The elaborately embroidered cushion was used for the procession of the crown in the palace, through the streets of Vienna and into to the cathedral. The Archduke’s Hat is a diadem of eight golden peaks (three of which can be seen on the coin) decorated with enamel, pearls and precious stones. Two pearl encrusted arches hold a sapphire mounted by a cross at their intersection. In the crown itself is a red velvet cap and the diadem is surrounded with a circle of ermine. Around the top inside edge of this coin is the country of issue, “Republk Oesterreich” (Republic of Austria.) The face value, 100 euros, and the year of issue, 2009, are located on the left side of the obverse. Along the inside of the lower rim of the coin are the words “Oesterreichischer Erzherzogshut”, Austrian Archduke’s Hat.

The reverse of the coin depicts the solemn ceremonial procession. Three high-ranking officials of the Lower Austrian Estates carry the crown, the orb and the sceptre, in that order, along the centrally located street called the Graben, from the palace to the cathedral. The officials are wearing court finery, including the tall wigs known as periwigs from about the early 1700’s. Soldiers wearing tricorner uniform hats line the streets while a serious drumbeat is sounded as accompaniment. In the upper right side of the reverse the intricate Baroque monument in memory the ravishes of the plaque can be seen. This memorial column was erected in 1692 and can still be viewed today in the same location along the Graben. In the left upper quadrant of the coin are the fine homes, usually with shops on the ground level, typical of this time, many of which remain today.
The new 100 Euro gold coin designed by Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger is struck in proof quality (reverse frosting) with a maximum mintage of 30,000 pieces. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in a box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. A unique lapel pin plated with gold and bearing a miniature version of the Archducal Crown also accompanies the gold coin.

Also available is the first coin in this series, dedicated to the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the official Crowns Of The House of Habsburgs Collection Case

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poland Issues Unique Commemoratives To Honor Murdered Priest Jerzy Popiełuszko

The National Bank of Poland has issued a series of coins in gold, silver and nordic gold to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder of Catholic Priest Jerzy Popieluszko. This sombre tribute to the charismatic priest, a popular figure amongst Poland's anti-communist movement in the 70's and 80's, is made all the more special with the striking of the special denomination gold proof to mark Popieluszko's 37 short years on earth.

Poland 2009 37Zl Jerzy Popieluszko Gold Proof

Jerzy Popieluszko was born September 14, 1947 in the north-eastern town of Okopy. He began his path against Communist rule in Poland when sent to speak with strikers in the Warsaw Steelworks, associating himself with members of the anti-communist Solidarity movement. Popieluszko would often intertwine both spiritual and political messages into his sermons, criticizing the Communist system and motivating people to protest. During the period of martial law in Poland between 1981 and 1983, the church was one of the few places that people were allowed to gather openly, allowing Popieluszko to continue spreading his message of freedom.

Popieluszko's sermons began to be broadcast on Radio Free Europe, and as his popularity grew he invoked the ire of the Służba Bezpieczeństwa, (Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) who made attempts to silence him with intimidation. When Popieluszko refused to back down they fabricated evidence against him and he was arrested, however he was soon pardoned by the clergy and given amnesty. Frustrated with their lack of ability the Służba Bezpieczeństwa orchestrated a car accident meant to kill Popieluszko. He escaped this but was subsequently kidnapped and murdered by agents of the department.

News of Popieluszko's death created a huge uproar throughout Poland, with some 250,000 people arriving for his funeral in November 1984. He was just 37 years of age.

Poland 2009 10Zl Jerzy Popieluszko Silver Proof

Each coin in this poignant series features imagery inspired by Jerzy Popieluszko's life and death. The 16mm gold proof coin, struck from 1.75 grams of 90% gold shows a crowd of funeral attendees, all raising crosses in the air. Below is the motto most associated with Popieluszko, "Overcome evil with good", while on the obverse is the special 37 zloty denomination. No other coin issued from Poland has made a commemoration in this way.

The silver proof coin, struck from 14.14 grams of sterling silver (92.5%) on a 32mm flan has the image of Popieluszko deep in thought against a background of a cracked Poland. Embedded in the coin is a red teardrop-shaped zircon crystal. The obverse shows a partial image of Popieluszko's gravestone, with a single rose laid upon it.

Finally, the 2 zloty nordic gold issue has a striking portrait of Popieluszko on the reverse, together with the image of thousands of mourners and candles upheld at his funeral service. The coin measures 27mm and weighs 8 grams.

Poland 2009 2Zl Jerzy Popieluszko Nordic Gold BU

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Austrian Mint Announce Coin Issuing Schedule For 2010

The Austrian Mint has just released their Issuing Programme for 2010 with plenty to interest collectors amongst the popular ongoing coin series'.

January - The year starts out with the release of not one but two 5 euro commemoratives in silver, struck to celebrate the 2010 Winter Games that are being held in Vancouver, Canada from February 12. The two coin commemorate the sports of Ski-jump and Snowboard respectively and will be available in both Uncirculated (mintage 225,000 each) and Brilliant Uncirculated (50,000 each).

February - Continuing the high quality "Celebrated Physicians of Austria" 50 euro gold proof series in 2010 is issue honoring Karl Landsteiner, noted for his development in 1901 of the modern system of classification of blood groups from his identification of the presence of agglutinins in the blood, and in 1930 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
It was announced on January 23, 2010 that the Karl Landsteiner Gold coin has been cancelled because the Austrian Mint was unable to clarify the personal rights with the descendants in North America. As such the mint is planning to issue a different coin to complete the Great Physicians series later in the year. This coin is expected to be released in late May.

March - This month sees the next release in the widely popular Silver/Niobium series of commemorative coins, dedicated to "Renewable Energy". The 25 euro legal tender coins in this series, first started in 2003, have grown in appeal over the years to be one of the Mint's most popular products.

April - The "Tales and Legends of Austria" silver series began in 2009 and with only 2 coins released at the time of this article, it has proved to be a wise theme choice for the Mint. With the 10 euro coins issued in Uncirculated, Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof quality, there is a coin for every budget and collectors of world coins have been snapping them up in fast and furious style. Each year for 3 years the series sees two new designs released, with the first for 2010 being dedicated to the Erzberg, also known as the Ennstaler Alps, in Styria.

May - Taking the place of the successful "Austrian Railways" series is a new run of 20 euro coins named "Rome on the Danube". These coins commemorate various towns located in Austria along the famous Danube river that were established during the time of the Roman Empire. Claudium Virunum was a Roman city in the province of Noricum, on today's Zollfeld in the Austrian State of Carinthia.

June - The first of the Austrian coin sets are released in June, and as is tradition in previous years, the release of the second of the year's 5 euro coinage is available on the same day. The mint set for 2010 will include all 8 circulating coinage from Austria, struck to brilliant uncirculated quality and housed in a full-colour informative coin folder. The 5 euro commemorative will honor the 75th anniversary of the famous Grossglockner High Alpine Road, that connects the state of Salzburg with the state of Carinthia. Named after the Großglockner, Austria's highest mountain, the road is panoramic and features many sharp curves through the mountain side, producing spectacular views of the ranges.

September - The first release for the latter half of the year sees the second in the "Rome on the Danube" silver coin series made available. This coin commemorates Vindobona, originally a Celtic settlement before becoming a Roman military camp, situated at the site of modern day Vienna. The town is known for being the place where Marcus Aurelius died in the year 180.

October - The second "Tales and Legends of Austria" silver coin release is dedicated to the story of Charlemange (Emperor Karl, Charles the Great) in the Untersberg Mountains. October also sees the highly regarded Austrian proof set of coins issued for 2010, containing all 8 circulating coins of Austria struck to exquisite proof quality.

November - The final issue for the year will be the third in the stunningly detailed gold proof series paying tribute to the Crowns of the House of Hapsburg, with the Hungarian Crown of St Stephen being recreated in stunning 98.6% gold.

Undoubtedly an exciting year ahead for lovers of Austrian Mint numismatic products! As official distributor for the Austrian Mint, Euro Collections International is able to supply stocks of the above items on the the day of their release from the mint. Be sure to follow us on Twitter or sign up to our weekly newsletter for notification of the latest arrivals to our website.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mennica Polska Issues 3rd Coin in Popular Amber Route Commemorative Series

The third coin to be issued in the "Amber Route" series of gold and silver proof coins is also the first to be released in 2009. The coins commemorate the ancient town of Elblag, located in the north of Poland and like previous issues in this popular collector series, each coin is enhanced with a genuine half-sphere of natural amber embedded into the coin itself.

Niue Island 2009 $1 Elblag Amber Route Silver Proof

The Amber Road is an ancient trade route, leading from Asia to Europe, used predominately by the Romans to transport precious natural amber from the Baltic and North seas, back to Rome. While Rome is best known for using the route, it was also used years before the Romans to move amber to Greece and Egypt, via routes from northern Europe to the Mediterranean Sea. The old Prussian town of Laup (Mokhovoye, in the Kaliningrad Oblast) and the seaport town of Truso (now Elblag) are thought to be the starting points for the route heading south.

The series of coins issued by Mennica Polska include one gold coin and one silver coin for each city being commemorated along the route. The coins are struck to the highest standards of proof by the mint, and feature similar designs for both coins, with the exception of their denominations. All up there will be 8 coins released in the Amber Route series, honoring the towns of Kaliningrad (Russia), Gdansk, Elblag and Wroclaw (Poland), Stare Hradisko (Czech Republic), Szombathely (Hungary), Carnuntum (Austria) and Aquileia (Italy), each with a natural piece of high quality amber embedded as part of the reverse design.

This third release pays tribute to Elblag, the ancient town located in the North of Poland on the Baltic Sea. The town is built on the site of the seaport known a Truso, one of the alleged starting points for the route. Truso was destroyed by fire sometime in the 10th century and lay in ruins until the 13th century when the Tuetonic Knights built a citadel there during the Prussian Crusade. From there a town was built.

The silver proof has been struck from 28.28 grams of 92.5% silver on a 38.61mm flan. The coin has been treated to give it an antiqued appearance of old money. It comes encapsulated and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity confirming the mintage of 10,000 coins. The gold proof coin is struck from 15.50 grams of 90% gold on a 27.00mm flan, and is also encapsulated and presented with a certificate. The mintage of the coin gold is set at a tiny 2000 coins released worldwide.

Niue Island 2009 $5 Elblag Amber Route Gold Proof

The reverse design of both coins is the same, and features a depiction of the St Nicholas Church, the medieval Roman Catholic cathedral in Elblag, together with a dual portrait Roman coin, as used in the times of the amber route, and a Roman goblet. In the bottom portion is the 10.00mm half sphere of natural amber, while at the top is the inscription "Elblag - Szlak Bursztynowy" (Elblag - Amber Route). The obverse, common to all coins in the Amber Route series, has the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, together with the country and year of issue and the nominal face value ($1 for silver, $5 for gold). Above is the image of a horse-drawn cart, as used to transport amber to Rome, together with the profile of a Roman guard set against the background of the Baltic coast. At the top is the "Amber Route" inscription.

Other coins available in this series are:

2008 $1 Kaliningrad Silver Proof - BACK IN STOCK!
2008 $1 Gdansk Amber Route Silver Proof
2008 $5 Gdansk Amber Route Gold Proof

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Austrian Mint Issues 2nd Silver Coins In "Tales and Legends" Series

October 7, 2009: The second in the 6-issue series of silver coins dedicated to the "Tales and Legends of Austria" has been released by the Austrian Mint. The coins, available in both silver proof and silver brilliant uncirculated quality, have been struck to pay tribute to the story of the English King Richard I, known as "Lionheart", and his capture by the Austrian Duke Leopold.

Austria 2009 10€ King Richard I Lionheart Silver Proof

As the story goes, while Richard I was on the crusades he offended the Austrian Duke Leopold V by removing the Austrian banners of the conquered city of Acre (located in modern day Israel). Leopold and his German troops then returned to Austria, and some time after Richard decided to return to England. On his travels home the ship he was sailing on wrecked, and he was forced to travel over land, passing through Austria without the permission of the Duke. To avoid capture the King dressed in peasant clothes but was eventually apprehended at a restaurant outside of Vienna. His capture was blamed on locals spying expensive clothes under his peasant rags, as well as the fact that he ordered chicken from the restaurant, a dish out of financial reach of peasants in that day.

Richard was held prisoner at the castle of Duernstein which leaders from throughout Europe negotiated his release. In fact, most rulers were happy to have his head on a plate as it would mean they were open to invading England for themselves. Even the King's own brother showed very little enthusiasm for his brother's freedom, on account that the death of the King would mean the brother would take the throne. In the end it was the King's mother who secured a sizeable ransom, said to be made of some 22 tons of silver, and King Richard was released.

It is also said that during the time of the King's incarceration, his loyal minstrel, Blondel rode throughout Austria singing songs the King and he had composed together. While passing the Castle at Duernstein the king overhead the minstrel song and was able to notify Blondel of his position.

The silver paid for the release of King Richard I is significant to the Austrian Mint, as Duke Leopold V used a portion of the silver to begin the Vienna Mint, which eventually became the Austrian Mint. Started in 1194, the mint is the oldest continually operating company in Austria and this years celebrates it's 815th year of operation.

On the reverse is a depiction of the capture of King Richard I by Duke Leopold. The scene is taken from the restaurant outside of Vienna where the King was apprehended, and shows some of the tell-tale symbols that led to the capture - namely the official garments hidden beneath the peasant robes the King wore to avoid detection, the stately ring on his right hand, and the chicken cooking on the spit in the background. The inscription around the bottom of the coin reads: "Gefangennahme von Richard Lowenherz" (Capture of Richard, Lionheart).

The obverse, shown in the Austrian Mint stunningly detailed design style, shows Blondel on horseback, riding towards Duernstein Castle while playing the melodies he composed with the King. At the top right is the country of issue inscription "Republic of Austria", and the banner for Duernstein. At the bottom is the nominal face value of 10 euros and the year of issue (2009).

Austria 2009 10€ King Richard I Lionheart Silver BU

Both the high quality proof edition and the brilliant uncirculated silver issue have been struck from 16 grams of 92.5% sterling silver from a 32.00mm flan. The proof coin has a maximum mintage of 40,000 and is supplied in an official Austrian Mint case with Certificate of Authenticity. The BU version has a total mintage of 30,000 and is presented in a full-colour informative (German and English) coin folder.

These coins are the second in the series of Tales and Legends, coming after the popular Basilisk fable coin released in April this year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Germany Issues Silver Coins To Mark 100th Anniversary Of First Youth Hostel

August 13, 2009: To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the very first youth hostel, and the growth of the German Youth Hostel Association and Hostelling International (formerly International Youth Hostel Federation), the Karlsruhe mint in German has issued a silver proof and silver BU coin as part of the regular German silver coin program.

Germany 2009 10€ Youth Hostels Silver Proof

The very first youth hostel was started by schoolteacher Richard Schirrmann and conservationist Wilhelm Münker in 1909 in the town of Altena (Nordrhein-Westfalen) in Germany's west. Their plan was to offer cheap overnight accommodation to students on school tours travelling the German countryside. This first hostel was located in Schirrmann's own school at Altena, although it was moved to Altena Castle in 1912 where it still opwerates today.

The idea of youth hostels quickly spread, first throughout Germany and then the rest of the world. In 1919 Schirrmann founded the German Youth Hostel Association, and in 1932 the International Youth Hostel Federation was started. Later this would become Hostelling International, which overseas more than 4000 youth hostels worldwide. Youth hostels, know no longer exclusive to the young and more often called backpacker hostels, provide affordable temporary accommodation throughout the world for travellers all over the globe. While some are simply nothing more than a room to sleep in, others have transformed over the years to become a home away from home for backpackers, with bars, karaoke, tours and other activities designed to bring travellers together.

As is the tradition with silver coins issued from the various German mints, the two coins released to celebrate the youth hostel anniversary feature the same design while being of differing quality. The reverse of each coin featured the modern logo of the German Youth Hostel Association, with the anniversary inscribed inside it. Below is an image of the town of Altena, where the first hostel is located, while below that are the years of the anniversary.

Germany 2009 10€ Youth Hostels Silver BU

The obverse carries the Eagle motif, State Emblem of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Eagle has been designed to compliment the reverse image. Also on this side is the country and year of issue, together with the nominal face value of 10 euro.

Each coin is struck from 18 grams of 92.5% sterling silver from a 32.50mm disc, either in brilliant uncirculated condition or in high quality proof standards. The Proof coin is supplied in a capsule, while the BU edition comes in a protective plastic flip.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spanish Royal Mint Issues Commemorative Salvador Dali Silver Coin Set

The Spanish Royal Mint have issued their second tribute series of precious metal collector coins dedicated to renowned Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The first set, issued in 2004, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the popular artist's birth, while this second series marks the 20th anniversary of his passing.

Spain 2009 10€ Salvador Dali Automatic Beginning Of A Portrait Of Gala Silver Proof

The mint has issued five precious metal Dali commemoratives, four silver coins and one gold. Of those ECI is offering the three 10 euro silver issues to our customers.

Spain 2009 10€ Salvador Dali Bust Of A Retrospective Woman Silver Proof

The following is taken from the Spanish Royal Mint website:

Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904. He began to draw and paint in earnest at a very young age and in 1922 he took up the study of Fine Arts in Madrid. During his stay in the Students' Residence he developed great friendships with the poet Federico García Lorca and the film-maker Luis Buñuel, and carried out with them many avant-garde artistic projects.

After studying in Madrid Dalí left for París where he joined the group of surrealist painters and writers. Dating from this period are some of the works that would make him one of the maximum representatives of surrealism, namely "The Great Masturbator", "The Spectre of Sex Appeal", "The Lugubrious Game" and "The Persistence of Memory". In 1929 he met the young Russian woman Helena Diakonova, known by the assumed name of Gala, who remained thereafter his model and companion.

Coinciding with the start of the Second World War, Salvador Dalí and Gala set up residence for a number of years in the United States where Dali's painting style, realist and onirical, enjoyed much success. He penned "The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí" and also worked in film, theatre, opera and the ballet. From the nineteen forties came important works such as "Soft Self-portrait with Grilled Bacon", "The Basket of Bread", "Leda Atomica" and "The Madonna of Portlligat". Having become one of the most famous painters of his day, in 1948 he returned to live in Europe and spent long periods at a time in his house and studio at Portlligat.

During the seventies Salvador Dalí created and inaugurated the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, where a large collection of his work is exhibited ranging from his first steps and his surrealist creations to the works produced in the latter years of his life. After living for many years in Portlligat, upon the death of his wife Gala he moved to El Castillo de Púbol for a few years, then spent the last period of his life in La Torre Galatea, near the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, where he wished to be buried.

In 1983 he created the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, the institution that manages, safeguards and promotes his artistic and intellectual legacy.

He died on January 23, 1989.

Spain 2009 10€ Salvador Dali Portrait Of Picasso In The 21st Century Silver Proof

This series is composed of five collector coins that re-create some of this painter's most well-known works of art. Such as:


A surrealist work painted by Dalí in 1932 in which he shows his desire to experiment with different stages of picture completion.

Picasso always maintained very good relations with Catalonia and from the early days of Dali's career showed interest in his work. So it is not to be surprised that on Dali's first trip to Paris the young artist was quick to visit Picasso. The latter received him in his studio and showed him how his work was developing at that time, an evolution that made a deep impression on Dali. Picasso's new style, fairly similar in those days to that of Breton, must have inclined Dali's way of painting towards surrealism for the first time.

A surrealist bust that Dalí painted in 1930 and put the final touches to in 1970.

The three commemorative silver coins then have a common obverse; a reproduction of Dali's "SELF-PORTRAIT WITH L'HUMANITE, 1923"

Each of the three 10 euro denominated coins offered on ECI has been struck from 27 grams of 92.5% sterling silver on a 40mm (crown-sized) flan to the mint's stringent proof standards, producing a set of beautifully designed reproductions of Dali's work on flawless mirrored surfaces.
Each coin is then elegantly presented in an official Spanish Royal Mint blue jewel case with full-colour outer box, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity confirming the mintage of just 10,000 coins a piece being issued into the worldwide market.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Somalia Issue Latest Elephant Gold And Silver Coins

Continuing the series of precious metal legal tender coins being issued from the countries of Africa to honor the majestic African Elephant, the Bank of Somalia has released the 2009 editions of their highly collectable gold and silver coins.

Somalia 2009 100 Shilling Elephant 1oz Silver BU

The Elephant coins have been an on-going series stretching back a number of years. Together with Somalia Zambia and Sierra Leone have contributed to this "African Wildlife" series that includes not only precious metal silver and gold coins, but also silver coins with selective gold-plating and coloured coins. There isn't a great deal of information available on the series itself, but of the 3 countries it seems that only Somalia still issue coins, with Zambia and Sierra Leone having stopped a few years back.

The African Elephant is the largest land animal on the planet, and one of the two existing genera in Elephantidae, with the other being the smaller Asian Elephant. African Elephants are found in most places on the continent itself, inhabiting desert, forest and river regions, although the majority are found in the south half of Africa.

The latest precious metal editions to the series of Elephant-themed coins from Somalia feature the same design on the reverse; an Elephant striding across the African plains at sunset. At the top of the coin is the "African Wildlife" inscription, while around the bottom is the name "Elephant" and the specifications for the coin (precious metal weight, type and purity). The obverse has the Somali coat of arms in the centre, with the country of issue at top, the year of issue split at middle, and the nominal face value at the bottom.

Somalia 2009 20 Shilling Elephant 1/50oz Gold Proof

The 100 shilling silver issue has been struck to brilliant uncirculated quality from 31.10 grams of 99.9% fine silver on a 40mm (crown) flan. The coin is supplied in a capsule for protection.

The 20 shilling gold version is struck to the highest proof standards from 0.622 grams of 99.9% gold on an 11mm flan, making it one of the smallest gold legal tender coins on the planet. It is also encapsulated.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Austrian Mint Issues 2010 Calendar Medal And Lucky Tokens

The Austrian Mint continues it's on-going series of Calendar Medals and Lucky Tokens with this great new issues to celebrate 2010 and bring good fortune for the new year!

Austria 2010 Calendar Medal Silver Proof

The 2010 calendar medal issued by the Austrian Mint honours the year's regent Apollo, the sun god.

The medal designed and engraved by the Mint’s Chief Engraver, Thomas Pesedorfer depicts the mighty Apollo also know as Helios in Greek mythology. Apollo's personification by the sun is highlighted in the rays of light surrounding him. He points to the sun and the words, "Jahr der Sonne", or year of the sun around the upper left edge of the medal. He masterfully controls his four winged stallions with one hand as they pull his chariot through the sky.

In the background the mighty lion is represented, which is the ascendant sign to Leo. The sign that is present at the time of birth governs our personality, and appearance. The hard working, loyal and maybe somewhat conservative Leo’s will shine in 2010. Those born under the sign of Leo will find the year 2010 particularly meaningful.

On the other side of the medal all the Sundays are depicted as rays of sunlight emanating from the central figure underlining the bright year that 2010 represents.

The calendar medal has been an Austrian tradition since the 1930’s. Annually the medal changes to reflect a respective year’s regent and astrological ruler. The calendar medal is struck in 900 fine silver, weighs 26 grams and has a diameter of 40 millimetres.


Austria 2010 Lucky Token Silver UNC

The Austrian Lucky tokens continue to be an annual tradition since the 1930’s. People give them to their friends and family who will carry them for a year in their pockets and purses just for a wee bit of extra luck throughout the coming year.

Austria 2010 Lucky Token Gold UNC

In 2010 our lucky friend, the chimney sweep takes flight, in a hot air balloon and travels the world. Warm soft breezes help him spread good luck through the four leaf clovers he sprinkles from above to all corners of the globe.

The other side of the token carries the traditional verse that loosely translated means: "Although I am small and round I will bring you luck all year round."

Austria 2010 Lucky Token Bronze UNC

Monday, September 14, 2009

Perth Mint Issue Latest In Popular "Battles" And "Orbital" Series, And Kick Off New "Sea Life" Silver Coins Program

September 15, 2009: A big day from the Perth Mint with three new stunning silver coin issues being released today. Two of these are from popular, on-going series', while the 3rd marks the beginning of a new, eye-catching silver coin program devoted to Australian sea life.

Cook Islands 2009 $1 Man On The Moon Orbital 1oz Silver Proof

The first cab off the rank is the 3rd issue in the popular and highly innovative "orbital" coin series dedicated to mankind's achievements in space. The series started in 2007 and has seen one coin released each year with a compelling "orbital" function that allows the reverse design to rotate around a central image of the planet Earth. The 2007 Sputnik and 2008 Yuri Gagaurin 1 ounce silver proof issues have proven to be very popular amongst collectors of original coinage, and the 2009 First Man on the Moon release is likely to beat all expectations. This is on account of the theme of the coin, being one of the most significant in human history, and also that the coin has been released in the year of the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong taking the first step on the surface of the moon. This momentous occasion has been skillfully immortalised in eye-catching form with the use of full-colour pad printing to create a bright realm of the cosmos, together with images of the mission struck in 99.9% silver. The outer surface can then be rotated around the central image of the stationary Earth, making this a truly unique collector tribute item.
The Cook Islands 2009 $1 Man On The Moon Orbital 1oz Silver Proof is presented in a specially designed oval-shaped jewel case with commemorative outer box, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. Available now at the Official Issue Price of the Perth Mint, these coins are set to rocket into oblivion, if previous demand in the series is anything to go by. Sure to be of keen interest to coin collectors and space enthusiasts alike, the orbit series coins make for beautiful gifts on account of their universal theme and amazing colour and detail.


Next up is the 4th coin in the also-extremely-popular silver coin series dedicated to famous battles throughout history. The 5-coin series, which sees a new coin issued every two months, has so far commemorated the battles of Hastings(1066), Cannae(216BC) and Thermopylae(480BC), all featured in glorious 99.9% silver with stunning full-colour pad printing depicting a scene taken from each respective historical conflict.

Tuvalu 2009 $1 Battle Of Balaklava 1oz Silver Proof

The Battle of Balaklava occurred on October 25, 1854 and was fought as part of the Crimean War between the Anglo-French-Turkish soldiers and the Russian troops. On that fateful day the allied forces were attempting to conquer the port and fortress at Sevastopol, the strongest naval base on the Black Sea. The three countries spread their troops around the Russian army, however the Russian General Liprandi sent a barricade of troops to engage the British contingent, hoping to disrupt the supply chain between the British base and their siege lines. The British troops, under the command Lord Raglan, were outnumbered, and due to a misinterpretation of the Lord's orders the Brits engaged in one of their most disastrous military defeats in history, the Charge of the Light Brigade.
As with the previous coins issued in this series, this 31.13 gram silver coin features an eye-catching full-colour image taken from the historical battle. In this case it is a reproduction of the painting by Richard Caton Woodville, showing the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade in captivating colour. Struck into the coin are images of a Russian soldier and a cavalryman on horseback. The obverse is common to this series and carries the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II together with the 1 dollar face value, the country and also year of issue.

Each Tuvalu 2009 $1 Battle Of Balaklava 1oz Silver Proof is presented in an official jewel case with full-colour outer box specially designed for the coins in this series. A Certificate of Authenticity accompanies each legal tender issue.


Lastly, and by no means least, the Perth Mint have begun a brand new series of Australian legal tender silver coins under the theme of "Australian Sea Life". The series for these 50 cent commemorative coins runs similarly to the Historical Battles series, with a new issue in this 5-coin program released every two months. The first in the series is dedicated to the Lionfish, with future issues seeing the Leafy Sea Dragon, Clownfish, Seahorse and Moray Eel immortalised in a combination of 99.9% silver and eye-catching full-colour pad printing. Coming off the highly sought-after Deadly and Dangerous coins, we expect a great deal of interest from this new sister series.

Australia 2009 50c Lionfish 1/2oz Silver Proof

The Lionfish is the name given to any of several species of venomous marine fish in the genera Pterois, Parapterois, Brachypterois, Ebosia or Dendrochirus, of the family Scorpaenidae. The Lionfish is distinguished by it's unique appearance, with it's extremely long and separated spines and striped markings that come in colours such as red, green, navy green, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white. The fish is found in the tropical regions of the Western, Northern and Eastern Australian coastlines, and is native to the Indo-pacific region - however introduction of the species to other areas now sees the fish found in tropical regions all over the world. The Lionfish is known to have venomous dorsal spines and when threatened will often turn upside down to bring these spines to bear. While the sting of a Lionfish is not usually fatal to human, it can cause extreme pain, headaches and vomiting, and anyone envenomed by the Lionfish should seek immediate medical attention.

The reverse coin design features a beautifully depicted full-colour image of the Lionfish, expertly pad printed onto the coin by the Perth Mint. Simple, yet captivating, the coin also has the title of the series and the name of the fish inscribed in silver. The obverse, which will be common to all coins in the series, shows the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II together with the denomination, coin specifications, country and year of issue. The coin is struck from 15.57 grams of silver on a 36.60mm flan to the mint's highest proof standards.

As is the way with Perth Mint commemorative products, each Australia 2009 50c Lionfish 1/2oz Silver Proof is beautifully presented in an official jewel case and full-colour outer box, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

Please Note: Due to overwhelming demand ECI have exhausted their allocation of the Lionfish coin. We are currently looking into the secondary market to try and obtain more. Follow us on Twitter for instant notification of when/if this product is available again.