Monday, March 29, 2010

Austrian Mint Release New "Tales and Legends" Silver Coin

April 14, 2010. Continuing one of their newest and already most popular series', the Austrian Mint has released the 3rd "Tales and Legends" silver coin, being dedicated to the story of the Discovery of the Erzberg (Iron Mountain). The new coin recounts the folktale surrounding the discovery of one of the most important iron ore sources in Europe still in use today, the "Erzberg".

Austria 2010 10€ Discovery Of Erzberg Silver Coin

In the southeast of Austria (near Graz) there once was a very deep dark grotto filled with cold water in which a merman lived. During the day the merman would slip out of the water and warm himself in the sun. The people of the area knew about the merman but were afraid of him because he was enormous and so unusual that most stayed away.

However, legend has it that if you caught a merman, in order to gain his freedom he had to grant you a wish. A few did try but most were afraid of this strange looking merman, which seemed to be too heavy and slippery to catch.

One day, two rather entrepreneurial chaps placed food and drink along the grotto and hoped the sun would appear, all to entice the merman to come to the surface. After several days and nights of waiting, the sun did appear from behind the dark rain clouds and so eventually did the merman. The merman enjoyed the treats he found and in the warmth of the sun he fell asleep. He was suddenly jolted out of his sleep, as a massive dark cloak was thrown over him. He could not free himself from the cloak because it was covered with sticky tar.

The men then secured a leash around his neck and tried to drag him to a cave. The merman struggled and howled so eerily loudly that he was heard all over the land, but the men would not release him. The merman begged for his freedom but to no avail.

Finally, the merman offered the men a deal – “Please release me and I will reward you.” This pleased the men very much and they stopped dragging the merman over the rough trail and asked what he was offering.

Thinking for a moment the merman gave the men a choice: “I will give you gold for a year, silver for ten years, or iron forever.”

The men reflected carefully and decided to benefit from iron forever. The merman told them the location of the Erzberg Mountain that was filled with iron and so they then released him. He slipped back into his grotto and was never seen again. The mountain and its riches continue to be mined to today.

The reverse of the coin depicts two intense-looking men creeping up on a merman armed with a tar-covered cloak held between their hands. The sleeping merman is loosely holding a trident spear in its webbed right hand. The tail of the merman is seen in the scaly body form ending in its partially exposed fin depicted as a sideways “V” shape in lower right of the design along the rocky shoreline. The words “Entdeckung des Erzeberges”, the discovery of the Erzberg, are located along the top edge of the coin.

The obverse of the coin shows a scene of iron ore mining in the Middle Ages. On the left side of the design a miner pushes a cartload of ore out of the mineshaft, while on the right side another miner breaks the up the ore with a pick and hammer. In the background can be seen the distinctive shape (step- like) of the iron mountain, Erzberg. This side of the coin also depicts the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich”, as well as the 2010 year-of-issue and the face value of 10 Euros.

The 10 euro silver coin is struck in 925 fine silver, and is available in either proof with a maximum mintage of 40,000 pieces, or in brilliant uncirculated finish, with a maximum mintage of 30,000 coins. The proof version comes in an official Austrian Mint box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The brilliant uncirculated coin is sold in a colorful and informative bilingual (German and English) blister pack.

A collector album resembling a "classic" book of tales is also available for separate purchase. It is designed to accommodate the complete “Legends and Tales of Austria” series. The interior of the album will hold all six proof coins in capsules on the right side and the certificates of authenticity as well as the promotional brochure on the left.

The series, "Tales and Legends in Austria", will continue in October of this year with a coin marking the capture of Charlemagne in Salzburg, who according to legend slept for several centuries under a mountain near Salzburg.

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