Thursday, May 21, 2009

Perth Mint Issues Second "Famous Battles" Coin For Battle Of Cannae (216BC)

May 22, 2009: Coming two months after the immensely popular Battle of Thermopylae silver proof coin the Perth Mint have released the second in their 5-coin series dedicated to Famous Battle of History. This one pays tribute to the mighty Battle of Cannae of 216BC, which saw Hannibal and his army of around 41,000 men take on and defeat the vastly superior Roman forces totally over 86,000 troops.

Tuvalu 2009 $1 Battle Of Cannae 1oz Silver Proof

The first coin in this series, commemorating the Battle of Thermopylae in 480BC proved to be a widely underestimated hit amongst world coin collectors, with the majority of the coin already sold out from all major distributors. ECI still has a very limited allocation available but with the release of this second coin to once again pique interest in the series, those stocks won't last long. As the series is proving to be so popular it follows that each successive release will be in greater demand than the previous, as new interest and confirmed resale value prompt more people to buy more coins.

The Battle of Cannae took place in 216BC between the army of the Roman Empire and Carthage, near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The battle is widely regarded as the greatest tactical feat in military history. The Roman and allied troops equalled almost 87,000 when they decided to engage Hannibal at Cannae, and massed their infantry in a formation deeper than previous battles. Hannibal employed the double-envelopment tactic which basically split his forces into two and engaged the single line of Roman troops from both sides, completely destroying their fighting forces.

Like the first coin in the series, the Battle of Cannae silver proof is a stunning example of design and the expert colouring techniques of the Perth Mint. Featured on the reverse in glorious colour is a depiction of the furious battle, coupled with a striking relief of a Carthaginian warrior alongside one of Hannibal's 30 war elephants, famously used to move his troops across the Alps. The obverse carries the Raphael Maklouf effigy portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, together with the nominal face value, country and year of issue.

Each legal tender issue is struck from 31.135 grams of 99.9% fine silver on a 40.60mm flan. The coin is beautifully packaged, presented in an official Perth Mint jewel case within a full-colour outer box accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity.

The "Famous Battles of History" coins are being released in 2 month intervals, with the next coin honoring the Battle of Hastings in 1066 scheduled for July/August 2009. Following that will be the Battle of Balaclava (1854) and then the Battle of Gettysburg (1863) which will see out the series.

As official distributor for the Perth Mint Euro Collections International already has stocks of the Battle of Cannae Silver Proof available to order, as well as limited stocks of the first coin in the series, the Battle of Thermopylae Silver Proof.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Germany Releases 10€ Tribute To Kepler's Planetary Motion Law

May 7, 2009: As part of their regular 10 euro silver coin releases for 2009 the Bank of Germany has issued this stunning commemorative honoring the 400th anniversary of the publication of "Astronomia Nova" (A New Astronomy) by Johannes Kepler, which details his first two laws of planetary motion. This is the first of the standard 10 euro silver coins struck at one particular German Mint to be issued in 2009, coming after the 10€ IAAF World Championships silver coins issued from each of the 5 German Mints (No mint mark).

Germany 2009 10€ 400th Anniv. Keplers Planetary Motion Law Silver Proof

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a German astronomer, astrologer and mathematician, known as one of the key figures in the 17th century scientific revolution along with Newton and Galileo. Kepler is best known for this laws on planetary motion and it is the first two of these laws that were published 400 years ago in his book, Astronomia nova (A New Astronomy). The following information on the Astronomia nova comes from Wikipedia:

Kepler calculated and recalculated various approximations of Mars' orbit using an equant (the mathematical tool that Copernicus had eliminated with his system), eventually creating a model that generally agreed with Tycho's observations to within two arcminutes (the average measurement error). But he was not satisfied with the complex and still slightly inaccurate result; at certain points the model differed from the data by up to eight arcminutes. The wide array of traditional mathematical astronomy methods having failed him, Kepler set about trying to fit an ovoid orbit to the data.

Within Kepler's religious view of the cosmos, the Sun (a symbol of God the Father) was the source of motive force in the solar system. As a physical basis, Kepler drew by analogy on William Gilbert's theory of the magnetic soul of the Earth from De Magnete (1600) and on his own work on optics. Kepler supposed that the motive power (or motive species) radiated by the Sun weakens with distance, causing faster or slower motion as planets move closer or farther from it. Perhaps this assumption entailed a mathematical relationship that would restore astronomical order. Based on measurements of the aphelion and perihelion of the Earth and Mars, he created a formula in which a planet's rate of motion is inversely proportional to its distance from the Sun. Verifying this relationship throughout the orbital cycle, however, required very extensive calculation; to simplify this task, by late 1602 Kepler reformulated the proportion in terms of geometry: planets sweep out equal areas in equal times—the second law of planetary motion.

He then set about calculating the entire orbit of Mars, using the geometrical rate law and assuming an egg-shaped ovoid orbit. After approximately 40 failed attempts, in early 1605 he at last hit upon the idea of an ellipse, which he had previously assumed to be too simple a solution for earlier astronomers to have overlooked. Finding that an elliptical orbit fit the Mars data, he immediately concluded that all planets move in ellipses, with the sun at one focus—the first law of planetary motion. Because he employed no calculating assistants, however, he did not extend the mathematical analysis beyond Mars. By the end of the year, he completed the manuscript for Astronomia nova, though it would not be published until 1609 due to legal disputes over the use of Tycho's observations, the property of his heirs.

The 10 euro silver coin issued to collectors as a commemoration of the Astronomia nova is struck in both proof and brilliant uncirculated quality, with the same design featured on both types of release.

The reverse design features a partial profile portrait of Johannes Kepler, while to the left is an image of the geometric coordinate system used to calculate the three laws of planetary motion mathematically. Below is the inscription for the 400 years of Kepler's Law. The obverse features at top the State Emblem for the Republic of Germany, the Eagle - shows in stylised to complement the reverse image. Below that are the 12 stars signifying the European Union, as well as the inscription for the Federal Bank of Germany, the face value of 10 euros and the year of issue (2009).

Both the proof and BU coins are struck from 18 grams of 92.5% silver on a 32.50mm flan at the Stuttgart Mint (as such the obverse carries the 'F' mintmark to the right of the Eagle design). The design of the coin was crafted by Ulrich Böhme and a maximum mintage of 200,000 proof coins and 1.5 million BU coins has been set. The proof coin is supplied in a capsule, while the BU is in a protective plastic flip.

Euro Collections International has both the Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated quality issues available to order now.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poland Mint Release Nordic Gold and Silver Coins To Honor The European Green Lizard

Issued in April as part of the ongoing Polish coin series entitled "Animals of the World", the National Bank of Poland has released two commemoratives to pay tribute to the European Green Lizard. Struck at the Polish Mint (Mennica Polska), the coins are available in either 20 zloty silver proof or 2 zloty Nordic gold brilliant uncirculated quality.

Poland 2009 20Zl European Green Lizard Silver Proof

The European Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis) had been documented throughout much of Eastern Europe including Hungary, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic and of course, Poland. These days, however, the European Green Lizard is considered extinct in Poland, with only two cases of them being found in the Polish territory since World War II; once in 1972 that is disputed, and once several years later that turned out to not be the same species known as the European Green Lizard. Despite various claims each year of the discovery of the lizards on Polish territory, no actual proof has been given to substantiate the claims, and so the lizard remains on the extinct animals list for Poland. In other countries it can be found and is listed in various Red Data Books for endangered species.

The European Green Lizard can grow up to lengths of 40 centimetres, with the tail alone sometimes being twice as long as the body. The females of the species are more slender than the males and have a more uniform colouring - while the males will get a bluish ting to their throats during the mating season.

The Mennica Polsk has struck their European Green Lizard commemoratives with two distinct designs, both created by well-known mint sculptors Ewa Tyc-Karpińska (obverse) and Robert Kotowicz (reverse). The silver proof issue shows two lizards amongst foliage, with one of the lizards standing upon a rock. Around the edge of the coin is the inscription "JASZCZURKA ZIELONA – Lacerta viridis". The obverse design features the Emblem for the Republic of Poland; the White Eagle, with the Polish Republic flag shown on either side. Below is the year of issue and nominal face value. This issue has been struck to exact proof standards from 28.28 grams of 92.5% silver on a 38.61mm flan, with a mintage of 100,000 silver coins issued worldwide.

Poland 2009 2Zl European Green Lizard Nordic Gold BU

The reverse design of the 2 zloty Nordic gold release shows two lizards gathered together on a rock, surrounded by plant-life. To the left is the inscription "JASZCZURKA ZIELONA", while on the right is "Lacerta viridis". The obverse of this coin is very similar to the 20 zloty coin except for the face value in the lower portion of the coin. The Nordic gold release is struck in a standard finish on a 27.00mm flan weighing 8.15 grams. A total mintage of 1,700,000 coins has been set for this issue.

Euro Collections International has both the Poland 2009 20Zl European Green Lizard Silver Proof and Poland 2009 2Zl European Green Lizard Nordic Gold Brilliant Uncirculated coin available on their website. To be notified of new arrivals as they happen you can follow us on Twitter, or simply visit our "What's New" page.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Austrian Mint Release 5 Euro "Tyrolean Freedom - Andreas Hofer" Silver Coin

Issued from the Austrian Mint just today is the second of their 5 euro commemorative silver coins for 2009. There are only two 5 euro issues released each year, with the first for this year honoring the anniversary of Joseph Haydn, released in January. This second issue commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Tyrolean Rebellion, as well as paying tribute to the man regarded as the hero of the rebellion, Andreas Hofer.

Austria 2009 5€ 200th Anniversary Of Tyrolean Freedom Silver BU

The Tyrolean Rebellion began on April 9, 1809. It came about after four years of Bavarian rule due to the signing of the Treaty of Pressburg. The treaty, signed between France and Austria after the latter was defeated at Ulm and Austerlitz, ceded Tyrol to Bavaria (part of Napoleon's realm) in 1805. Andreas Hofer, the son of an innkeeper, was a sharpshooter during the War of the Third Coalition which concluded in 1805 with the defeat of Austria by French troops. He became a politician in the late 18th century, being elected into the Tyrolean parliament in 1791. It was Hofer who rallied his fellow Tyroleans to join forces and fight against Napoleon's troops. With the Austrian Emperor Francis I's approval, Hofer and his troops began to fight and in only a few days managed to take back several towns of Tyrol, including Innsbruck. Due to the successes of Hofer and his fellow resistance fighters, Hofer was designated the commander of the Tyrolean resistance by the Imperial Court of Vienna, with the support of other leaders such as Josef Speckbacher and Father Joachim Haspinger.

The successes, however, were short-lived and France managed to gain much ground over the Austrian armies. Despite the eventual defeat of Austrian troops and the signing of the Treaty of Schönbrunn by Francis I, which gave Tyrol back to Bavaria, Hofer and his rebellion refused to lay down their arms. However with fewer numbers they were quickly defeated by the vastly stronger French army. Hofer escaped into the mountains but was later betrayed by a neighbour who wanted the bounty placed on his head by Napoleon. Hofer was court martialed and executed by firing squad in February 1810.

Known for their stunning attention to detail the Austrian Mint has produced a superb commemorative issue here, with an image of the bearded Hofer wearing a wide-brimmed hat, on the reverse side of the coin. Behind and to the left of him is Guiseppina Negrelli, a fellow Tyrolean who fought in the rebellion. Her presence on the coin is representative of the very active and vital roles that women played during the resistance. In her hands she holds the Tyrolean flag showing the Eagle of Tyrol. Above the figures is the inscription "Tiroler Freiheit" (Tyrolean Freedom), and to the right are the years of the anniversary (1809-2009).

The obverse design is common to all commemorative 5 euro coins issued from the Austrian Mint. It featured the "5" denomination in the centre, surrounded by the shields of the nine federal provinces of Austria. The country name is also inscribed on this side.

Each of these nine-sided silver coins are struck from 8 grams of 80% silver on a 28.50mm flan. The coin is presented in a full-colour information coin pack, with details on Andreas Hofer and the Tyrolean Rebellion in both English and German.

As official distributor of the Austrian Mint, Euro Collections International has stocks of the 2009 5€ 200th Anniversary Of Tyrolean Freedom Silver coins already available to order. A must-have issue for any collector of Austrian 5 euro coinage, as well as anyone keen on collecting high quality silver issues.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cook Islands 2009 "Fly Me To The Moon" Silver Coin Set To Soar!

One of the greatest things about coin collecting is the large amount of product produced from all over the world by hundreds of different designers all with their own distinct styles. The imaginations of those who determine how a particular commemoration is going to be presented on a coin provides limitless possibilities. Sometimes, these designs aren't so overwhelming, and we wonder in these cases whether bureaucracy may have taken precedence over style. In a lot of cases however, the issues produced around the globe are nothing short of mesmerizing, and whether it is for the type of metal/coin, the tribute being paid or the design of the obverse/reverse, the passionate collectors come in droves to obtain a piece that is spectacular, if only to them.

Every so often a coin comes along that not only celebrates an important moment of our past, but also captures the very essence of the commemoration. Celebrating not one but two such momentous occasions in history, and doing so with a truly unique visual style is the recent silver issue from the Cook Islands entitled "Fly Me To The Moon".

Cook Islands 2009 $5 Fly Me To The Moon Silver BU

Commemorating both the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Soviet Luna 3 probe which was the first to be able to send back pictures of the "dark side of the moon", as well as the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon, this stunning issue is unlike any other collector coin in terms of design and innovation. Both the reverse and obverse images are detailed landscapes of the moon's surface, with the obverse capturing the dark side of the moon and the reverse the facing side of Earth's only naturally orbiting satellite. The detail on both sides of the coin is superb, with known regions of the moon visible on the coin's surface.

The coin has also gone through an special oxidizing process which darkens the coin slightly. The obverse has been given more treatment to further enhance the "dark side". On top of that the makers have added an extra innovation, that of embedding an actual piece of the moon into the coin itself! Taken from the lunar meteorite NWA 4881, which through comparisons of chemical composition and mineralogy has been confirmed as originating from the moon, this small piece of space debris adds to the uniqueness of each coin issued.

The Luna 3 space probe was launched from the Soviet Union on October 4, 1959, with the sole purpose of taking pictures of the moon's surface. It managed to do this, sending back the first ever images of the "dark side" of the moon (in actual fact there is no true dark side, as the entire moon is dark. "Far side" is a more appropriate term). Though these first images were poor quality, several features on the moon were clearly visible, such as the lowlands and highlands and the large Mare Moscoviense, one of the few lunar mares on the far side of the moon.

10 years later, on July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong made history by being the first man to set foot upon the moon. As he did he spoke the immortal words that have resonated through history; "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". The world rejoiced in this momentous achievement of man and still, 40 years later, the event is one of the most popular and significant in human history.

These Fly Me To The Moon legal tender silver coins have been struck from 25 grams of 92.5% silver on a 38.61mm flan, and given an antique finish to darken the surfaces. The coin is supplied in a case with certificate of authenticity confirming the extremely low mintage of just 1969 coins produced worldwide.

Euro Collections International is currently sold out of this stunning commemorative coin. To be notified if this product comes back in stock please follow us on Twitter.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Belarus Launch New Silver Coin Series for 2009 Entitled "Signs of the Zodiac"

March 2009 sees the start of a new series of silver coins issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, with the theme of Zodiac signs. Issued under the "Belarus and the World Community" category, the collector coin series appropriately titled "Signs of the Zodiac" will see a plan of 12 coins issued throughout the year, each one focused on a different sign of the Zodiac taken from European astrology. The series is also divided into two different types, with a silver uncirculated issue featuring two zircon crystals embedded in each coin, as well as a smaller copper-nickel issue with no crystals. The first of these intriguing coins to be released features the star sign Pisces.

Belarus 2009 20Ru Pisces Silver UNC

Pisces (February 20-March 20) is a water sign most commonly signified by the two fish swimming head to tail, giving a yin-yang appearance of continuation and movement. Despite it being the first coin in this particular silver coin series Pisces is actually the twelfth sign in the astrological chart. Those born under the sign are thought to be imaginative, compassionate, intuitive and often artistic. Negative traits are said to include idealism, secrecy, vagueness and weak-will. Based on Qualities and Elements in the Zodiac, Pisceans are said to be generally compatible with those born under the signs of Scorpio and Cancer.

Each of the Belarus 2009 zodiac coins were designed by renowned Belorussian artist Svetlana Zaskievich, and show her impressive and unique style of each sun sign. There is a sense of innocence about the images that will no doubt appeal to a wide range of world coin collectors, as well as non-collectors wanting a keepsake for a child or relative. The silver coins issued in uncirculated condition each have two zircon crystals embedded on the reverse. The addition on crystals is a regular feature of collector silver coins from Belarus and makes for an appealing addition to the coin's already captivating designs.

On the reverse of this Pisces issue is the familiar image of the two fish swimming head to tail. The fish themselves have been beautifully designed to resemble the paisley designs of the 1960's and are incredibly detailed in a stylised fashion. In the place of the visible eyes of the fish are the zircon crystals, here presented in blue. Each of the zodiac coins will have different coloured zircons embedded in them. Around the central image is a pattern featuring alternating images of starfish and sea shells.

The obverse, also designed by Ms Zaskievich, is similar to all the coins in the series barring a couple of individualities pertaining to each respective zodiac symbol being honored. In the centre of the coin is the image of the sun and crescent moon facing one another with a sea of stars between them. Beneath this image is the astrological symbol and the name of the zodiac icon in both English and Belarus - in this case Pisces. Framing this central piece is a ring containing all 12 astrological symbols of the zodiac, each separated by a star. In the outer portion of the coin, around the top, is the inscription "РЭСПУБЛIКА БЕЛАРУСЬ" (REPUBLIC OF BELARUS), with the Belarus coat of arms at centre top. In the lower part of the obverse is the year of issue to the left, the precious metal type (Ag), purity (925) and mintmark of the Mint of Poland to the right. The nominal face value of 20 Belorussian Roubles is at the very bottom.

Each coin is struck from 28.28 grams of 92.5% silver on a 38.61mm flan, which gives perfect clarity to the intricate designs featured thereon. The coins have been specially oxidised, darkening the metal and giving them a somewhat antique finish which also enhances the designs. This is standard for all the silver uncirculated coins in the Zodiac series, as is the mintage of 25,000 coins worldwide. A certificate of authenticity from Mennica Polska (Mint of Poland) who struck the coins, is provided.

As of posting this article there have been six coins released in this series; Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo. Euro Collection International is currently offering the Belarus 2009 20Ru Pisces Silver BU, Belarus 2009 20Ru Taurus Silver BU, Belarus 2009 20Ru Aries Silver BU, Belarus 2009 20Ru Gemini Silver BU, Belarus 2009 20Ru Cancer Silver BU and Belarus 2009 20Ru Leo Silver BU with further issues to be offered shortly.

Beyond the coins already released at the time of this blog posting, the issue schedule for the remaining coins in this series is as follows:

- Virgo, end of July/August
- Libra, end of September
- Scorpio, end of October
- Sagittarius, end of November
- Capricorn, end December
- Aquarius, end of January 2010

As is the case with all issue schedules this one is subject to change without notice. For notifications of new coins in this series and all new arrivals to ECI please follow us on Twitter. Alternatively you can join our mailing list and get word each week of the most recent additions to the ECI catalog - or simply visit our What's New page regularly.