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.

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