Sunday, February 27, 2011

Germany Issue First Silver Coin for 2011 - Dedicated to Composer Franz Liszt

February 3, 2011 - The German Mint at Karlsruhe (G) has issued the first in the country's 10 euro commemorative silver coin programme for 2011, with it's dedication to Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt and the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Germany 2011 10€ Franz Liszt Silver Proof

Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886) was a 19th century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist and teacher. Liszt became renowned throughout Europe during the 19th century for his great skill as a performer. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age and perhaps the greatest pianist of all time. He was also an important and influential composer, a notable piano teacher, a conductor who contributed significantly to the modern development of the art, and a benefactor to other composers and performers, notably Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg and Alexander Borodin.

As a composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the "Neudeutsche Schule" ("New German School"). He left behind an extensive and diverse body of work, in which he influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated some 20th-century ideas and trends. Some of his most notable contributions were the invention of the symphonic poem, developing the concept of thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form and making radical departures in harmony.

In February 1847, Liszt played in Kiev. There he met the Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who dominated most of the rest of his life. The following year, Liszt took up a long-standing invitation of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia to settle at Weimar, where he had been appointed Kapellmeister Extraordinaire in 1842, remaining there until 1861. During this period he acted as conductor at court concerts and on special occasions at the theatre. He gave lessons to a number of pianists, including the great virtuoso Hans von Bülow, who married Liszt's daughter Cosima in 1857 (years later, she would marry Richard Wagner). He also wrote articles championing Berlioz and Wagner. Finally, Liszt had ample time to compose and during the next 12 years revised or produced those orchestral and choral pieces upon which his reputation as a composer mainly rests. His efforts on behalf of Wagner, who was then an exile in Switzerland, culminated in the first performance of Lohengrin in 1850.

The reverse design features a stylised portrait of Franz Liszt with his signature below and the silhouette of a piano in the background. Around the top of the coin is the inscription for the commemoration, with the years of Liszt's life at the bottom.

The obverse carries the Eagle motif, State Emblem of the German Republic, fashioned in a style complimentary to the obverse design. Inscriptions for the denomination, country and year of issue, as well as the "G" mintmark signifying the coin being struck at the Karlsruhe Mint in Germany, are also found on this side.

Each silver coin is struck in .625 silver (as are all the 2011 German silver commemoratives due to the global increase in silver prices) and is available in both proof and Brilliant Uncirculated quality. As of writing this article Euro Collections International currently stocks the Proof version only.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Austrian Mint Release Imperial Botanist Nikolaus Jacquin Silver Coin

February 23, 2011 - The Austrian Mint has issued a 20-euro silver coin celebrating the life of explorer and Imperial Botanist Nicholas von Jacquin. This coin is part of the European series, which includes eight countries that are issuing a coin this year as part of the Europa Star program.

Austria 2011 20€ Nicholas von Jacquin Silver Proof

Jacquin was born in Leiden, in the Netherlands, in 1727. On the recommendation of his personal physician Gerard van Sweiten, also a Dutchman, he was invited by Emperor Franz I, husband of Empress Maria Theresa, to come to the Habsburg Empire and work as a botanist.

One of the earliest expeditions overseas of the Imperial Navy took place during 1755 to 1759, and carried Jacquin to the Caribbean, the Antilles, Venezuela and Columbia on the instructions of Emperor Franz. Jacquin brought back animals and plants for the zoo and botanic gardens at the Imperial palace of Schönbrunn.

In 1768 Jacquin was appointed professor of botany and chemistry and became director of the botanical gardens at the University of Vienna. Under the generous patronage of Francis I and the direction of Jacquin, the gardens of Schönbrunn grew to be the most celebrated in all of Europe during this era. In 1774 he was knighted for his comprehensive contributions.

The obverse of the coin depicts a three-quarter portrait of Jacquin in the upper left half of the design field, along with a detailed depiction of the plant, iris variegata, one of his many discoveries, to the right. Beneath the name of the botanist “Jacquin,” is the privy mark of the Europa Star program. This side of the coin also depicts the country of issue “Republik Oesterreich,” Republic of Austria, the face value of 20 euros, as well as the year of issue “2011.” The obverse was designed by mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger.

The reverse of the coin shows Jacquin on a tropical island in the Caribbean. Large banana leaves and a parrot are seen on the left side of the design. A tall-masted sailing ship can be seen at anchor in the background. Jacquin is depicted writing his notes on some of the many plant species he identified, some of which no longer exist today. Chief mint engraver Thomas Pesendorfer designed the reverse of the coin.

Each silver coin is encapsulated and presented in official Austrian Mint box packaging with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Samson & Delilah Silver Coin Issued As Part Of "Famous Love Stories" Series

Mennica Polska have released the second in their endearing silver coin series dedicated to Famous Love Stories. The series, which kicked off with the most classic love story of all, that of Romeo and Juliet, moves to the Bible, and a tale of love and betrayal in the tragic coupling of Samson and Delilah.

Niue 2010 $1 Samson And Delilah Silver Proof

The story of Samson and Delilah comes from the Old Testament, Book of Judges, and tells the story of Samson, a Herculean figure granted tremendous strength by God to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats unachievable by ordinary humans. Naturally this brought him many enemies, who would stop at nothing to get the secret to his power. As the story tells it, Samson meets Delilah and falls in love with her, but Samson's enemies entice Delilah with a horde of silver coins to discover the secret of his great strength. Delilah quizzes Samson, who at first gives playful, confounding answers, but his trust of Delilah gets the better of him and eventually he tells her that it is his hair that holds the key to his power. Delilah then gets a servant to cut all Samson's hair while he sleeps, which takes away his strength, allowing him to be captured.

This beautifully struck silver proof features a stylised design of Samson with head shaved, and Delilah beside him. The obverse carries the common design for the series.

Available now from Euro Collections International, the Samson & Delilah silver coin is supplied in a capsule with Certificate of Authenticity.