Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Austrian Mint Issue Glossglockner High Alpine Road 5 Euro Silver Commemorative!

June 16, 2010: The Austrian Mint continues it's high standard series of distinctive commemorative 5 euro coinage with the release of the Grossglockner-High Alpine Road Brilliant Uncirculated Silver anniversary issue.

Austria 2010 5€ 75th Anniversary Grossglockner-Alpine Road Silver BU

The Grossglockner High Alpine road was constructed between 1930 and 1935 as a way of crossing from the province of Salzburg to Carinthia in the south by motorcar, bus, motorbike or even bicycle. Originally thought of as a pipe dream, the road was built over a period of 26 months, with 870,000 cubic meters of earth and rock being moved, 115,750 cubic meters of retaining wall constructed and 67 bridges erected. A total of 3,200 men laboured with the simple tools of the day, completing it all in record time. The road itself was and still remains an engineering marvel, rising to a height of 7,770 feet. It is 30 miles long, has 36 hairpin turns and many more curves, and has 2 tunnels.

On the reverse of the coin is an image of 2 switch-back curves winding up the Grossglockner pass. The car on the left is an Audi Roadster from 1935 while the second car; on the right going up the road is a modern convertible car. The two cars represent the 75 years of motoring on this mountain pass. The roadbed also reflects this span of time as the Mint’s Chief Engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer, chose to include some of the original cobblestones as well as reflect the modern paved sections on this side of the coin. Along the outer edge of the road is a wall made of thousands of bricks and topped with a guardrail. Soaring above the car is an eagle gliding on the updrafts. In the top right quadrant are the words "Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse" or Grossglockner High Alpine Road, as well as the dates 1935-2010.
The obverse of the distinctive nine-sided coin is the standard 5 euro design, with the denomination encircled by the shields of the nine federal provinces of Austria. In the center is the face value of 5 euros. Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger designed the reverse.

Each 5 euro coin is struck from 8 grams of 80% fine silver on a 28.50mm flan in brilliant uncirculated quality. The coin is presented in an official vacuum-sealed informative (English and German) coin pack.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Introducing The World's First Cannabis Commemorative Coin!

Issued with the authority of the Republic of Benin, the first release in the "Famous Plants and Herbs of the World" series of silver-plated commemorative coins is dedicated to Cannabis Sativa, otherwise known as Marijuana.

Benin 2010 100 Francs Cannabis Sativa Coloured Silver-Plated Proof

Already creating quite a "buzz" across the internet amongst collectors and non-collectors alike, the Cannabis Sativa silver-plated coin is the world's first coin honouring this controversial herb. Cannabis Sativa belongs to the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants, which contains around 170 species grouped in nine to fifteen genera. Of those there are three well-known genera; the aforementioned Cannabis (hemp), Humulus (hops) and Celtis (hackberries).

Cannabis is considered a herb and can be cultivated as hemp, having a wide variety of uses such as paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, fuel and clothing. Along with these practical applications Cannabis is also cultivated as a recreational or medicinal drug, of which the plant has gained most of it's notoriety.

Featured on the reverse side of this commemorative coin is a design featuring a number of Cannabis leaves, with one prominent leaf at the forefront, enhanced with vibrant green. This central coloured leaf also contains the innovative "rub and smell" feature, giving off the synthesized fragrance of Marijuana when the area is rubbed. This feature is a rarity amongst collector coins, with only a few world coin issues featuring this unique technology available worldwide. The use of "rub and smell" usually lasts for around 40 times before the smell is no longer noticeable.

On the obverse is the coat of arms of the Republic of Benin, the country in West Africa where the coin's legal tender status has been authorised. Benin borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. It currently has a population of around 8,500,000 people within a space of 110,000km2 (Roughly the size of Louisiana which has a population about half that of Benin).

Each coin is made from copper-nickel (cupro-nickel) and then plated with 92.5% sterling silver. It is supplied within a protective plastic capsule and accompanied with a Certificate of Authenticity which confirms the exclusive mintage of just 2,500 coins released worldwide. The coin is currently available to order through Euro Collections International.