Thursday, April 21, 2011

Austrian Mint Issue "Monstrous" Silver Coin for Tales & Legends Program

May 4, 2011: The Austrian Mint has issued the penultimate silver coin in their popular series entitled "Tales and Legends of Austria". The six-coin program, issued between 2009 and 2011, sees Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof quality silver coins released to celebrate various tales of folklore throughout Austria's rich history. Previous issues have been dedicated to The Basilisk, Charlemagne In The Untersburg, King Richard I Lionheart and Discovery Of Erzberg. This latest silver coin in the series tells of the legend of The Lindwurm in Klagenfurt!

Austria 2011 10€ The Lindwurm in Klagenfurt Silver Proof

Legend has it that the town of Klagenfurt was founded after a couple of brave men had slain the abominable "Lindwurm", a winged dragon in the moors adjoining the lake, the staple diet of which is said to have been virgins, but which did not spurn the fat bull on a chain that the men had mounted on a strong tower. The feat is commemorated by a grandiose 9-ton Renaissance monument in the city centre.

The coin shows the Lindwurm fountain on Neuer Platz in Klagenfurt and the statue of Hercules in front of it. The other side of the coin depicts the fight with the monster. On the left-hand side is the tower built as a defense against the Lindwurm. Behind its gate, two labourers barricade themselves in, while through the window a chain is stretched and the barb is entangled in the mouth of the raging monster.

The "Lindwurm" is only issued in "brilliant uncirculated" (max. 30,000 pieces) and "proof" (max. 40,000 pieces) quality since, due to the high price of silver, circulation pieces will not be issued at face value. The coins in "brilliant uncirculated" quality come in an informative blister pack, while those in "proof" quality are packed in an attractive box with a numbered certificate of authenticity, which provides technical information about the quality and design of the coin.


During the middle ages, in a scruffy dark wooded and somewhat swampy area in the region of Carinthia, lived a Lindworm (a small dragon with tiny wings.) The dragon used to terrorize the region as it searched for food. Cattle and sheep would mysteriously disappear. A curious young herder went looking for his missing cow in the woods and was never seen again. The fear of the villagers grew to such a level that trade was seriously hindered, as the story of the sinister Lindworm spread throughout the land.

This frustrated and angered the Duke of the region and so he offered a handsome reward to anyone who could capture the Lindworm. On the edge of the swampy area he had a large round tower built of stone. To whoever killed the Lindworm the Duke offered that they would receive the tower, all the surrounding land, and become a free person, regardless of their station in life (even a serf was eligible).

A courageous group of men came forward and decided they would try this daring feat. They brought with them an enormous steer and a heavy chain. They tied the steer to a chain. They then suspended the steer with the chain to the tower. From this chain there also huge a huge barbed hook that the village blacksmith had made for them. When the steer was suspended its angry mooing and grunts were heard far and wide. Meanwhile the clever chaps stayed inside the tower and could watch in all directions looking for the Lindworm to appear from the swamp. Soon the Lindworm appeared from the steamy foggy swampy area. The friends in the tower were almost overcome with fear, as the terrifying Lindworm got closer. The sight of the Lindworm was unbelievable, covered with scales and a long tail, with protruding dark glazed eyes and flaring nostrils that blew black steam. The Lindworm attacked the steer with its massive jaws and bit away a part of its hind end. It swung around with lightening speed and opened its huge mouth and bit down hard on the head area of the steer. A horrifying howl emanated from its jaws because the barbed hook sank deep into the tender jaw and head of the Lindworm. Its tail swished back and forth slinging the drooling slime from its jaw up into the sky. The group of friends barely recovered from their fright and knew that they had to react fast before the Lindworm could free itself from the hook. So they climbed out over the top edge of the tower and clubbed the Lindworm to death with their iron clubs.

The Duke was relieved and very happy and in celebration he even had a fortress built for the courageous men on their new property. It was not long until trade was restored. The new proud landowners saw a small village blossom on the ground where the Lindworm made its last stand. The happy villagers helped to drain the land and rid the area of the scruffy bush and soon farmers were tilling the fruitful area. The village flourished and continued to grow because of the successful trade and the bounty of the land, and so the village of Klagenfurt came to be. The memory of the Lindworm lives on today with the fountain in the center of the city, in the “Neuer Platz” and in the city’s coat of arms that has the Lindworm integrated into it.

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