Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Austrian Mint Issues Final Coin In "Celebrated Physicians" Gold Series

May 26, 2010 - The Austrian Mint releases the last in the quality 50 euro gold series entitled "Celebrated Physicians of Austria". The 4-coin series which began in 2007 saw a new issue released each year, with this final coin honouring Baron Clemens von Pirquet.

Austria 2010 50€ Clemens von Pirquet Gold Proof

About Celemens von Pirquet:
Clemens von Pirquet was born in 1874 in Vienna to a family of Austrian nobles with the title of Baron. He contemplated studying theology as well as philosophy before finally becoming a doctor of medicine, specializing in pediatrics. He is best known for his study of bacteriology and immunology. Pirquet introduced a number of progressive reforms in the hospital and nursing procedures. Among other things he established an open-air ward on the roof of the Children's Hospital, for children suffering from tuberculosis, and he required trainee doctors in his clinic to undergo a practical course in nursing.

Dr. Pirquet noted that some patients had more severe reactions to the smallpox vaccination than others. Along with fellow physician Bela Schick they developed the word 'allergy' to describe this hypersensitivity, by using the Greek word “allos” meaning other and “ergon” meaning reaction.

Pirquet was very active in the socio-political arena for the children and was accordingly so respected that he was even considered as a possible candidate for the Austrian presidency in 1928. However, after a life full of service and great medical achievements, Pirquet tragically ended his own life together with that of his beloved but incurably sick wife on February, 28, 1929. Austria and the world had lost a great physician and a wonderfully humane man.

The obverse of the coin, designed by Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger, shows a head and shoulder portrait of Von Pirquet facing to the left, as well as the Aesculapius, symbol of the profession of medicine. Also included on this side of the coin is the face value of 50 euros, the year of issue 2010 and the country of issue “Republic Oesterreich”(Republic of Austria). On the upper right rim is his name "Clemens von Pirquet", as well as the years of his life 1874-1929.

The reverse of the coin depicts the fa├žade of the Children’s Clinic of the university in Vienna as it was in 1920. In the left foreground is a nurse standing behind a child lying in a hospital bed. In the right cameo Dr. Pirquet is seen making notes while working at his microscope. The words “begruender der Allergielehre”(founder of the study of allergies), are inscribed to the lower left.

The 50-Euro commemorative coin is struck in 986 fine gold, with a maximum worldwide mintage of 50,000 pieces. Each coin contains 10 grams of fine gold and has a diameter of 22 mm. The coin is struck in proof quality so that the background provides a distinctive frosted contrast to the shiny relief. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in a case with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

Other issues in the "Celebrated Physicians of Austria" Gold Proof series include: