Thursday, December 27, 2012

Austrian Mint Release Final Gold Coin In "Crowns of the Habsburg Empire" Series

14 November 2012 – The Austrian Mint will issue today the fifth and final coin of the “Crowns of the House of Habsburg” gold coin series. The new coin features the majestic Imperial Crown of Austria. This distinctive crown became widely recognized throughout Europe during the very long reign of the Habsburgs.

Austria 2012 100€ Imperial Crown of Austria Gold Proof

The obverse depicts the intricate details of the crown. It is made up of three parts: a circle, a high arch and a mitre. From the base or the circle are 8 lilies, an important reflection of the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire which is made of 8 panels. The high arch of the Imperial Austrian Crown also mirrors the high arch of the Holy Roman Empire Crown.

The base of the Austrian Imperial crown is very intricately crafted and set with many precious stones such as zircons and pearls. The mitre consists of two halves, which are intricately engraved and decorated with fine enameled bands of birds and plants. The two halves are delicately engraved with four different scenes representing key moments in the life of Rudolf II. From the halves and in the middle of the crown the high arch rises, set with 8 diamonds and an emerald at the top to symbolize heaven.

Also located on this side of the coin are the country of issue “Republik Oesterreich” (Republic of Austria), the face value of 100 euros, the year of issue 2012 and the words “Die Oesterreichische Kaiserkrone” Austrian Imperial Crown. A ring of tiny pearls along the outer edge encircles both sides of the coin. This side of the coin was designed by the Austrian Mint’s chief engraver Thomas Pesendorfer. Thomas states that he spent well over 40 hours to painstakingly carve the minute details of the elaborate crown into the plaster model.

The reverse of the coin features a depiction of Emperor Francis Joseph I in the imperial robes of the Austrian Empire. The image is based on a painting by Julius Viktor Berger, which currently hangs in the Vienna Supreme Court of Justice. The Emperor is depicted with the richly embroidered robe, and over his shoulders is the mantle of the Austrian Empire made of white silk, red velvet and ermine. On the left side of the mantle are four elaborately decorated orders of the House of Habsburg. From the heavy gold chain across his chest hangs the Order of the Golden Fleece. He is holding the Imperial spectre which, similar to the Imperial crown, is decorated with enamel and set with precious stones and pearls. The Imperial crown rests on a lush cushion in the lower right side of the coin design field, while in the background is the double-headed eagle insignia of the Austrian Imperial dynasty.

This reverse was engraved by mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger. Helmut did give the Emperor a slightly more friendly look in the coin portrait than in the original painting. Helmut found it “very challenging” to carry out the very lengthy engraving work and execute the significant number of very fine details to eventually be included on a coin that has a diameter of only 30 mm.

The Habsburg dynasty, which lasted over 800 years, did not believe that coronations were necessary because it was a hereditary right. The Imperial Crown and the robes were used for the ceremonial investiture rather than a coronation.

The Imperial crown of Austria was originally the personal crown of Rudolf II and crafted in 1602. It is considered one of the best European examples of the art of goldsmithing of this time. Jan Vermeyen of Antwerp was summoned to Prague to craft this very elaborate pure gold crown. Fortunately, this spectacular crown was not dismantled after the death of Rudolf II but succeeded to exist in regal splendour to this day. It is kept in the Imperial Treasury or Schatzkammer located in the Imperial Palace in the center of the city of Vienna.

The order of the Golden Fleece is one of the most prestigious orders of Europe, (the other being England’s Order of the Garter) founded by Duke Philip and Princess Isabella of Portugal on the occasion of their marriage in 1430. The order still exists today and the current head is Karl Habsburg-Lothringen. Other members today include fellow royals from Europe.

The Order of the Golden Fleece was restricted to a limited number of knights. The power of the Order of the Golden Fleece was mighty with the king, who was also the sovereign head of the order, consulting with the members of the order before going to war, and deciding on most corner stone strategic moves of a kingdom. As well, performance of members was also critically reviewed by fellow knights, and punishment was meted out when deemed necessary and signed off on by 6 fellow knights.

The new 100 Euro gold coin is struck in proof quality (reverse frosting) with a maximum mintage of 30,000 pieces. It has a diameter of 30 mm., contains 16 grams of gold and is .986 fine. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in a box with a numbered certificate of authenticity.

A unique lapel pin plated with gold and bearing a miniature version of the Imperial Crown of Austria also accompanies each gold coin.

This coin is available through Euro Collections International

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Coin Featuring Mother of Pearl Dedicated To The Zeppelin

A breathtaking work of precious metal minting, highlighted by a core of lustrous, genuine Mother of Pearl, ECI is delighted to have received an allocation of this imposing, exclusive tribute to aeronautical pioneer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917) and his creation of the rigid airship – universally known as 'the Zeppelin'.

Cook Islands 2013 $50 Mother Of Pearl Zeppelin 5oz Silver Proof

Inspired by hot-air balloons whilst serving as a volunteer for the Union Army during the 1861-65 American Civil War, von Zeppelin spent several decades refining his vision of a rigid airship until, in 1900, the first successful airship was launched – the Zeppelin LZ1. Used for both military and civilian transport, von Zeppelin's important invention had safely transported over 34,000 passengers on more than 1,600 flights by 1914. Unique, dramatic and imposing, this exclusive legal tender coin forms an inspiring, innovative celebration of a truly Golden Age in the history of aviation.

Struck to the height of Proof quality from a massive FIVE TROY OUNCES of .999 fine silver, and measuring a gargantuan 65mm in diameter, this spellbinding legal tender $50 coin is perhaps most notable for the large, authentic Mother of Pearl insert. Glistening with iridescent beauty, the Mother of Pearl carries a stunning design, with one of the most famous German airships, the Graf Zeppelin, portrayed above New York as it completed the first trans-Atlantic commercial passenger flight in 1928.

As with its predecessor, the stunning 2012 $50 Titanic Mother of Pearl 5oz Silver Proof, the tiny worldwide mintage of the 2013 $50 Zeppelin 5oz Silver Proof was instantly devastated by demand. With our allocation strictly limited, and no chance of securing more stock, this pioneering precious metal Proof will be available for a short time only. Do not miss this exclusive opportunity!

- Supreme example of the latest in modern minting – features a genuine Mother of Pearl insert!
- Struck to flawless Proof quality from a whopping FIVE TROY OUNCES of pure, prestigious .999 silver! Over 155 grams!
- The worldwide mintage has been restricted to a mere 500 coins! Already sold out!
- An official legal tender issue – measures an expansive 65mm in diameter!
-Presented within a distinctive oval timber case, complete with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Austrian Mint Issue First of their 2013 Releases - The 5 Euro Viennese Waltz!

December 12, 2012 – The Austrian Mint will issue today a 5 euro silver coin celebrating one of the best-known dances of all time, the Waltz.

Austria 2013 5€ Viennese Waltz Silver BU
The reverse of the coin depicts a delightful couple in full swing, dancing the graceful waltz. Dressed in elegant full ballroom dress, the lady’s full skirt and scarf-trimmed arms emphasize the swish of their move to the music. Perfectly in step with her, the gentleman is shown in full tux and tails with the swing of the tails also highlighting their movement. It is easy to imagine being there in person as the couple gracefully waltzes by in three quarter time. In the background are the twinkling stars and fireworks, all adding to the festive atmosphere of a waltz. Also on this side of the coin are the words “Wiener Walzer”, or “Viennese Waltz” engraved into the design in a lyrical style. This side of the coin was designed and engraved by the Mint’s chief engraver Thomas Pesendorfer.

The obverse of the 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 obverse.

Early mentions of dance movements relating to the waltz date back as far as the 16th century. But it was not until the late 17th century in the imperial court of Vienna that an early form of the waltz really took hold. Starting out as a simple 2 beat step it evolved into the more complicated but very graceful ¾ time. In the 18th century in southern Germany and Tyrol the less graceful but probably more fun dance called the Laendler that swooped couples around the dance floor was very popular. In the late 18th century the two forms of dance merged and the nobles dropped the more sedate minuet in favour of the early form of the waltz. The stately imperial court succumbed to the scandalous requirement of the closed position with your partner in order to waltz together, which was simply not done during a dance in earlier years. The Viennese Waltz, with its light and fast in style, made it more fun to participate in a stately and reserved environments, helping to spread its popularity in the late 18th century all over Europe. Huge dance halls that could hold thousands of dancers at a time were constructed and some social commentators even consider the Viennese Waltz to be the most important ever development in the history of dancing. Thanks to the recent renaissance in ballroom dancing around the globe, though more than 200 years old, the dance is still very much alive and well today.

Austria is of course also famous for Johann Strauss known as the “Waltz King.” He composed several hundred waltzes at a time when the waltz was very popular. Most famous is probably the Blue Danube Waltz, known the world-over as the encore finale performed every New Year’s eve during the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Eve worldwide concert. Within Austria this waltz is played at the stroke of midnight on radio stations and television channels to ring in the New Year. In some ways it has become Austria’s unofficial national anthem.

The 5 euro silver coin has a diameter of 28.5 mm, contains 8 grams of fine silver, a total weight of 10 grams and has a fineness of 800. The coin is available only in special uncirculated quality and will have a maximum mintage of 50,000. Of this total mintage, and for the first time ever, 5,000 coins will be available in an English-only package. The remaining 45,000 will be available in a German-only folder. Each of these coins is vacuum-packed in a colorful, informative and winter-themed blister pack.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Austrian Mint Release Their Coin Program For 2013!

We are pleased to announce that the Austrian Mint has released their official coin program for 2013! Please see the information about the program below as supplied by the Austrian Mint. Euro Collections Internation, as official distributor for the Austrian Mint, is very excited about the coins on offer next year and we look forward to offering them to you.

From The Austrian Mint:
Our new programme traditionally gets underway with a 5 euro New Year coin. Celebrating the Viennese Waltz, the 2013 coin will be issued on 12 December 2012, together with the 2013 Euro Coin Set and the 2013 Baby Euro Coin Set – both in Special Uncirculated quality.

The first piece actually issued in 2013 will be the 25 euro silver niobium coin. The subject of the coin is Tunnelling, which is illustrated in brilliant ice blue niobium.

The programme continues in February in the shape of the The Expectation, the second edition of our Klimt and his Women 50 euro gold coin series, which features a scene from the famous Stoclet Frieze.

The theme of the 2013 European Silver programme is European Writers. Available from March, the Austrian 20 euro silver coin celebrates the great writer Stefan Zweig and his famous Chess Story.

A brand new series awaits us in April. Entitled Prehistoric Life, the five-coin series, which continues until 2015, will bring to life the ancient landmass that once made up modern-day Austria. Each coin will be inspired by a geological period and its typical life forms, such as Trias depicting life in the water in April, and Jura depicting life in the air in September.

Also dedicated to water, a 5 euro coin will be issued in June celebrating Austria as a Land of Water, in conjunction with the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation and the International Decade for Action, “Water - Source of Life”.

Our 10 euro Federal Provinces series continues with a Lower Austria coin in May and a Vorarlberg coin in October; the former is the country’s largest province, the latter its most westerly. Our Proof quality Euro Coin Set is also on our schedule in October.

The first coin in our new five-part Austrian Wildlife series of 100 euro gold coins, which pays homage to Austria’s native flora and fauna, marks the end of our 2013 programme.

As you can see 2013 is going to be an exciting year at the mint and for collectors. Stay tuned to ECI through our Facebook page, Twitter or here at Numismatters for up-to-date information as each new coin is released!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Austrian Mint Release Second Silver Coin in "Austria By Its Children" Series!

The Austrian Mint has issued the second coin in the delightful silver coin series, “Austria by Its Children.” This coin series continues to celebrate what Austrian children are excited by, and proud to speak about, when they speak of their home. The other side of the coin features a UNESCO world heritage site located in the home province of the child from which the design was selected. The series will feature all 9 provinces and a tenth coin as the finale, which will celebrate Austria as a nation.

Austria 2012 10€ Carinthia Silver Coin

This second coin of the series honours the southern province of Carinthia and bears the winning design by ten year old Philip Ogris on its reverse. Philip included many of the well-known sites of Carinthia. In the foreground is the lovely and popular summer destination, the Woerthersee. Sailboats and fish are floating in the clear green/blue waters of the lake. The lake is correctly depicted south of the snow-covered Alps, more specifically the mountain of Grossglockner, with a brilliant sun shining in the background, which brings to this area some of the warmest and sunniest weather in Austria and warms the waters of the lake. Between the lake and the Alps the ever popular Lindworm of Klagenfurt is depicted. A luscious forest and striking ibexes stand proudly on the mountainside. Carinthia shares it southern border with the country of Slovenia and thus many of its citizens speak Slovenian as well as German. Because of this Philip decided to include the name of the province in both the German and Slovenian languages along the bottom inside edge of the coin’s design.

The obverse features Carinthia's cultural heritage of falconry. This side of the coin was designed and engraved by the mint’s chief engraver Thomas Pesendorfer. Thomas depicted the falconer wearing the very thick leather falconer’s glove, raising his hand as the flacon takes off for full flight. The outfit worn by the falconer is a blend of traditional and contemporary falconry clothing. In the background are the ruins of the castle of Landskron located north-east of the city of Villach in Carinthia. Even today regular falconry events occur on the castle grounds. The castle has been known in a variety of forms since 1351.

Also located on this obverse side of each coin is the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich” Republic of Austria, the year of issue 2012, the face value of 10 euros and the German word for Falconry, “Falknerei”. This commemorative coin is legal tender in Austria.

Philip Ogris design was selected from about 1,200 designs submitted by 9 and 10 year old children living in the province of Carinthia. The selection committee reviewing all the anonymous submissions included officials and coin experts from Carinthia. They particularly liked the ibexes and all the layers of the province so delightfully depicted, as well as the inclusion of the second language of the area.

The castle of Landskron is one of the most spectacular sites of Austria with breath-taking views for miles and miles around. The castle is easily accessed by car and is located in a popular hiking region.

The silver Carinthia coin will be available in two finishes, Proof and Uncirculated, with a maximum mintage of 30,000 and 40,000 respectively. The proof coins come encapsulated in a presentation case with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The certificate includes all the technical details as well as background information about the series. The special uncirculated coins are available in a blister pack with an impressive Carinthia design on the sleeve.

The coin will also be available in Austria only in the regular circulation finish and struck in copper. The copper coins have a rilled edge whereas the silver coins have a smooth edge.

For the BU series there is a frosted plastic box bearing the series logo. The proof case is made from a heavy card stock and includes a small booklet detailing the whole series.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Downies ECI Doing Their Part For The Conservation of Tasmanian Devil

To a lot of people outside of Australia, particularly in the US, the name "Tasmanian Devil" most likely conjeurs up images of the Bugs Bunny Show, where a cartoon tornado would whirl into view and out would pop a growling, snarling, crazy beast! The real-life Tasmanian Devil is native to the island of Tasmania off the Australian South-East coast. Like it's cartoon cousin it also has a reputation for being snarly and cantankerous (although this is more myth than anything else and Devils will sooner flee than attack humans), but due to a rare form of facial tumour that is contagious amongst the Devil population, this small but fearsome native animal is quickly becoming endangered.

First seen in 1996, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has ravaged Tasmania's wild devils, and estimates of the impact range from 20% to as much as a 50% decline in the devil population, with over 65% of the state affected. The disease is an example of a transmissible cancer, which means that it is contagious and passed from one animal to another.

The Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian devil Sanctuary focuses on Tasmania's three carnivorous marsupials, concentrating primarily on the Tasmanian devil but including both the Eastern and Spotted - tail Quoll. The Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary breeding program is vital to the long term conservation of the Tasmanian Devil which is now threatened by Facial Tumour Disease. This allows for sustainable breeding with the intention of release into the wild. For further information, see

Downies/ECI is the proud sponsor of "Mortimer", a young Tasmanian Devil at the Devils @ Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary. We encourgage our valued clients to visit the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary website and take part in this worthwhile conservation program.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Perth Mint Unveil Their September New Releases!

September 4, 2012 - The Perth Mint has released a stunning array of new issues to excited collectors this month. At the top of everyone's wish list are the 2013 Lunar Snake Silver & Gold coins - the silver of which sold out at ECI within 10 minutes! Below is a showcase of some of the other amazing products on offer this month.

Australia 2012 $1 High Relief Koala 1oz Silver Proof

A sparkling celebration of Australia's internationally renowned bush icon, and a potent illustration of the unparalleled precious metal expertise of the Perth Mint, Downies is delighted to be able to unveil Australia's very first $1 Koala High Relief Silver Proof!

A massive 50% thicker than a standard Silver Proof, with this chunky coin measuring 6mm in width, the 2012 $1 Koala High Relief 1oz Silver Proof is, like all Perth Mint High Relief coinage, most notable for the exquisite depth and detail in the designs. Struck on concave surfaces to guarantee that the most advantageous flow of the pure .999 silver is achieved by the strike of the die, the enchanting one-year-only 'sleepy koala' design looks truly amazing when crafted to this impeccable standard.

Australia 2013 50c Birds of Australia - Black Cockatoo 1/2oz Silver Proof

A sensational start to what is sure to prove yet another major global hit for Australia's own Perth Mint, we are delighted to unveil the brand new 2013 50c Birds of Australia Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo 1/2oz Silver Proof!

Large, loud and found right across Australia, the internationally renowned Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo forms an ideal subject for the Perth Mint's wondrous full-colour minting techniques. Contrasting beautifully against the shimmering silver surface of the near crown-sized 36.60mm flan, the distinctive black and red plumage of this Australian native parrot has been perfectly recreated by the craftsmen at the Perth Mint.

Australia 2012 $1 Young Collectors - Rhinoceros Beetle BU

Official, affordable and, with a mere 7,500 coins struck, extremely exclusive for a BU coin, this Australian legal tender release from the Perth Mint forms a fine tribute to the Rhinoceros Beetle – one of the world's great weightlifting wonders!

A must-have for any Australian coin collector, the 2012 $1 Rhinoceros Beetle Al-Br BU carries an eye-catching design upon its 30.60mm flan, with a fully struck-up appreciation of this fierce fighter set against a vivid full-colour backdrop. Presented within an official Perth Mint card, packed with illustrations and information about the Rhino Beetle, the Official Issue Price has been set at a mere A$14.95 – outstanding value-for-money for a full-colour Australian legal tender coin!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Deadly and Dangerous Silver Coin Creeping In Soon...Here's The Teaser

As you can see by the teaser banner there is a new Deadly and Dangerous silver coin set for release on July 3rd! By the looks of it this will be another arachnid, similar to the insanely sought-after Red Back Spider. Only time will tell if it manages to create similar demand!

Euro Collections will, of course, have this coin available for order on July 3, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Austrian Mint Releases Sixth and Final Coin in the "Rome on the Danube" Silver Series!

June 13, 2012 - The Austrian Mint has issued “Brigantium”, the sixth and final silver coin in the historic “Rome on the Danube” series.

Austria 2012 20€ Rome on the Danube Brigantium Silver Proof

The Roman Empire was certainly very powerful and influential in many regions of Europe; today’s Austria was no exception. Much of this was because of the interconnected complex of rivers and lakes found in this area of Europe. One of the most efficient and effective transportation networks for centuries.

The obverse of the coin, designed by Mint engraver Herbert Waehner depicts a powerful portrait of the Emperor Valentinian I looking over the harbor of Brigantium. Depicted in the foreground is the golden hand of Brigantium holding a lotus flower. In the background are some of the warehouses that were used for storage and shipbuilding as well as repairs to naval ships of the Roman Empire. This side also has along the outer edge the country of issue “Republik Oesterreich,” (Republic of Austria), the name of the emperor “Valentinian I”, as well as the 20 euro face value. The name of the settlement Brigantium and the year of issue 2012, are in the left central area of the design field.

The reverse of the coin depicts a pair of Roman fast moving war ships, or navis lusoria on Lake Constance. One of these ships is being propelled forward by a troop of Roman soldiers, while two centurions look on from a protected arch along the shore. In the background of both sides of the coin can be seen part of the Alps located just south in this region. This side of the coin was designed by mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger.

Brigantium (today known as Bregenz) was built in the twilight years of the Roman Empire on the eastern shore of Lake Constance. The port of Brigantium is a fitting subject with which to conclude the historic “Rome on the Danube” series. The naval prowess of the Romans may not be the first thing one thinks of but the Romans covered all aspects of logistics and transportation to maintain the wealth and strength of their Empire for a long time.

It was not until the second half of the fourth century that the port was constructed by Emperor Valentinian I. Valentinian was born in Croatia in AD 321 and was emperor for just over a decade until his death in AD 375, Valentinian was the last Roman emperor to engage in military campaigns across the Rhine and Danube rivers.

In order to provide protection to its borders it is believed that he built the harbor at Brigantium and equipped it with navis lusoria, or “dancing ships”, the streamlined troop carrying vessels typical of the late Roman Empire. These ships were small, fast and easy to manoeuver in the waters. The ancient harbor was only discovered and excavated some 40 years ago. The dating of the harbor was found to be back to 370 AD, the time of Valentinian.

The golden hand of Brigantium or Bregenz is the left hand of a female form. It is made of gold plated bronze. Based on this fragment the statue must have been about twice the size of a human being, in other words it is one of the colossus statues that were often located in key Roman cities.

The new silver coin has a face value of 20 euros, is struck in proof quality only and a maximum mintage of 50,000 pieces. The coins are struck in 900 fine silver and contain 18 grams of pure silver. Each coin has a diameter of 34 mm, is encapsulated and comes in box with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. A wooden case for the whole collection of six coins, decorated on the top with a facsimile of a Roman sestertius (Germ.: Sesterz) coin with a portrait of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.) is available as well.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Austrian Mint Issue First in New "Austria, by its Children" Silver Coin Program

April 25, Vienna – The Austrian Mint will issue today the first of a new 10 coin series “Austria, by its Children.” The coin series celebrates Austria through its children, what children are proud of and speak about when they speak of their home.  The Austrian Mint invited the junior citizens of the country to draw their home province. Over the next five years the winning design for each province will be immortalized on the reverse of each of the 10 euro silver coins celebrating the nine provinces of Austria, while the final tenth coin will celebrate the country of Austria as a whole.

Austria 2012 10€ Styria Silver Proof

The other side of each coin will feature a UNESCO world heritage site located in the respective province.  The first coin of the series honors the federal province of Styria, located in the center of Austria.

The reverse of the first 2 coins to be issued this year coin were designed by 10 year olds Ms. Viktoria Reicht and Philip Ogris.   Their designs were anonymously selected from the thousands submitted through a competition in which all children aged 9 and 10 were invited to submit a design about their home province of Styria.

Viktoria’s delightful design for the reverse features first and foremost the mountains of her home and the "green” heart in the center of it all.  Of course, the many forests, trees, apples and the fields of sunflowers that she associates with Styria are prominent in her design as well.  The design is completed with a couple of pumpkins which Styria is well known for and from which the famous pumpkin seed oil is produced.   Finally, the fresh streams that run throughout the region also “run” along the bottom edge of her design.  Viktoria became somewhat of a celebrity in her hometown of Kirchbach and province upon winning this competition.

Philip Ogris’ design was selected to celebrate the province of Carinthia (Kaernten) and is the second coin in the series that will be issued on September 26, 2012.  Philip, who has ten cats and would one day like to be a veterinarian, drew “ibexes” (the legendary Lindwurm of Klagenfurt), the crystal clear waters of the Wörthersee, and the shinning sun to depict his southern home province of Carinthia - all in just 15 minutes! Philip attends a bilingual primary school near the Austrian border with Slovenia, which is why he has captured the name of his province in both German and Slovenian.   Philip hopes his success will make him famous all over Austria.

The Mint’s Chief Engraver Thomas Pesendorfer carefully engraved Viktoria’s reverse design for the coin, staying true to her design and enhancing it with the fine 3 dimensional details that Austrian’s coins are so well known for.  Some of the elements for which Viktoria originally used color to highlight have been carefully engraved to highlight their prominence.  For example, the heart shape in which the word “Steiermark” or Styria is located was a green color to represent Styria, the green heart of Austria.

The obverse of the Styria coin features the old center of the city of Graz, the capital of the province of Styria. Near the top of the design one notes the famous clock tower.  Progressing to the front of the design the coin captures: the town hall (the provincial building of Styria), the baroque cathedral, and in right foreground is the Palace of Eggenberg.  The old core of the city is lovingly maintained by its citizens and is has been honored as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Also located on this obverse side of each coin is the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich” Republic of Austria, the year of issue 2012 and the face value of 10 euros.  This commemorative coin is legal tender in Austria.

The Styria coin will be available in two finishes, Proof and Uncirculated, with a maximum mintage of 30,000 and 40,000 respectively.  The proof coins come encapsulated in a presentation case with a numbered certificate of authenticity.  The special uncirculated are available in the blister pack with a definite Styrian design on the sleeve. The coin will also be available in Austria only in the regular circulation finish and struck in copper.  The copper coins have a rilled edge whereas the silver coins have a smooth edge.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Austrian Mint Release Europa Star Silver Coin Dedicated to Egon Schiele

March 14, Vienna – The Austrian Mint will issue today a new 20 euro silver coin celebrating world-renowned artist Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918). The coin is Austria’s contribution to the European Union’s collaborative coin program in which 14 countries are participating this year. The common theme chosen for the European silver program is “Artists.”

Austria 2012 20€ Egon Schiele Silver Proof

The obverse of the coin is a careful reproduction of one of the many existing of Egon Schiele. This particular portrait of Schiele, taken by photographer Anton Tricka in 1914 was selected by the mint engraver who worked on this side of the coin, Helmut Andexlinger, “because it includes Schiele’s hands which were so important to his artistic profession.” In the background in the upper left quadrant of the coin is a reproduction of a chalk drawing down by Schiele in 1918 known as “Die Kauernde,” or “The Croucher.” The lower relief used here seems to make the Croucher a bit more distant, in a way the image of the lady appears to come from the imagination of Schiele, which is very appropriate giving Schiele’s career of working with so many female models. The font style selected for this side was very much in keeping with the period.

The obverse side of the coin also bears of the privy mark of the European silver program, under the year of issue 2012. As well the obverse depicts the country of issue “Republik Oesterreich”, Republic of Austria, the face value of 20 euros. This side of the coin was designed by the mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger.

The Europa Star Program is a joint endeavor of several member mints of the European Union, which have agreed to issue coins celebrating common aspects of European identity. The issuing of coins is not restricted to countries that issue euros but the participating countries must be European Union members. The distinguishing features of the Europa Star series is that the coins must be at least 900 fine, crown size and bear the privy mark “Europa Star”, a star surrounded by an “E” to represent the European Union. The privy mark should be a clearly distinguishable mark of the coin’s design.

The reverse of the coin depicts his world famous painting titled “Portrait of Wally,” completed in 1912, one hundred years ago. Wally’s full name was Walerie or Valerie Neuzil. Her larger than normal eyes, tenderly but with a somewhat melancholy look, take in her lover and painter who so gently captured the moment. Her piercing blue eyes and bright red lips are carefully captured by the Mint engraver in a way that one can almost see these bright colors on the silver coin. Her collar is made of a soft flowing cloth. The abstract forms behind her head resemble a halo indicative of just how important Wally was to him. Some wonder if “Wally’s” look captured here foresaw the end of their long-term relationship, in just over two years. Which must also mean that Schiele himself had a sense that this would end because he painted this portrait.

The left side of the coin also painstakingly reproduces the signature of Egon Schiele and the date of the painting, 1912. On the right side is a portion of several leaves of a plant done in an expressionist form. The mint’s chief engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer lovingly created this side.

Egon Schiele was a total free spirit without any cares who was an astounding draftsman at a very young age. He became a protégé of Gustav Klimt and was known for his intense and prolific painting. Many of his nudes often had twisted shapes. He was recognized early for his expressionism.

The Austrian Schiele coin is 900 fine silver, has a face value of 20 euros, legal tender in Austria, contains 18 grams of pure silver and has a diameter of 34 mm. The maximum mintage of this proof coin is 50,000 pieces. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in box with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

Additional Background Information

Schiele had no interest in academia but his family saw his artistic talent very early on. He was sent to the School of Arts and Crafts, but the professors there saw his talent much more in the field of painting rather than applied arts and therefore they insisted that he attend the classical painting school in Vienna’s Academia of the Bildenden Kuenste. There he studied painting and drawing for three years but he searched for a freer approach to hone his skill. In 1907 he approached Gustav Klimt to be his mentor.

Klimt recognized the greatness in Schiele’s talent and was more than willing to support Schiele by supplying models, introducing Schiele to potential patrons and even buying some of Schiele’s paintings. Klimt also introduced Schiele to the Wiener Werkstaette and the Secession art movement of Vienna. The many famous Secessionist artists of the time included: Josef Hoffman, Rudolf von Alt, Koloman Moser, Joseph Maria Olbrich and of course Gustav Klimt, to name but a few. Their art included sculpture, painting, and architects, all breaking away from the strong conservatism of the time.

Schiele left the Art Academy in 1909 and founded the Neukunstgruppe, (new Art Group) along with several other unhappy classmates. Once completely freed from more conservative art approaches, he began to explore human forms, completing many works that were seen as disturbing to a large percentage of the population because of their rather grotesque shapes, twists, and raw honesty. Schiele was not shy to paint what he saw with brutal clarity, including emaciated human nudes and death.

Egon Schiele met Walerie or Valerie Neuzil, known as Wally, when Klimt introduced her to him as a model. They soon moved in together and led a very bohemian lifestyle, which was not accepted but basically ignored in Vienna. The two decided to move to what they hoped would be a freer world, to a village located in Bohemia (today in the Czech Republic) where his mother was born. This small village did not receive their lifestyle at all, nor did the villagers appreciate his rumoured use of young village girls as nude models. So Wally and Schiele moved to a pastoral area about 35 kms outside of Vienna to an inexpensive studio where this “unacceptable” lifestyle continued.

In 1912 he was arrested for seducing an under aged teenager. During his arrest the police also seized about a hundred drawings, which they considered pornographic. He spent some 21 days in jail awaiting his trial. Wally brought him an orange when she visited him in jail. He declared that the orange was his light. Schiele produced a series of 13 watercolor paintings based on his prison experience, including one of oranges. The judge eventually threw out the charges of seduction and abduction. However, he dramatically burned one of the “pornographic” paintings in the courtroom and charged Schiele with making erotic paintings readily available to children.

Much to the surprise of Wally, after they moved back to Vienna – since they definitely could not stay in the village of the scandal and arrest – Schiele decided in 1915 to take up with Edith Harms, a protestant from a middle class family. Schiele was determined to marry, but only for advantage to a more socially acceptable woman. The Harms family just happened to live right across from the studio Schiele had moved into in Vienna. He had hoped to keep his relationship with Wally, but upon his marriage decision, a devastated Wally left and they never saw each other again.

World War I loomed on the horizon and three days after his marriage to Edith, Schiele was stationed in Prague. He never saw any fighting, nor the Russian front, because the officers of his corps recognized his talent and allowed him to continue drawing and painting. By 1917 he was back in Vienna performing light duties at the military supply depot. A new maturity was noted in his numerous paintings. He entered and had some 50 paintings accepted and exhibited in the 49th Secessionist Exhibit. He also had shows during these years in numerous cities including: Dresden, Cologne, Munich, Prague and Zurich, as well as a solo exhibit in Paris in 1914. Schiele’s art began to command higher prices.

In 1918, Gustav Klimt suddenly died and Schiele was now the most recognized artist of Vienna. During the same year the Spanish flu swept across Europe and claimed more than 20,000,000 lives including his six-month-pregnant wife Edith and then three days later Schiele himself at the age of 28. The last paintings he completed during these three days were of his wife.

A wealthy Viennese art patron Dr. Rudolph Leopold bought the “Wally” painting in 1954. Dr. Leopold, an ophthalmologist, amassed a collection of some 5,000 paintings of early 20th century art, one of the most significant collections of the period in the world. The government of Austria bought the collection and the majority of it may be viewed in the Leopold Museum in Vienna.

Dr. Leopold’s collection focused particularly on Austrian painters and had many paintings by Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka. He even wrote several books on Schiele.

In the 1990’s as happened to many European museums, the Leopold Museum had to deal with several questions of provenance. The main question was the painting in question taken from European Jews when they were forced to flee. The questions of the provenance were first asked of the “Portrait of Wally” which was seized during this process.

In the 1990’s several of the Leopold paintings were on display in New York when these questions arose, and hence this “Portrait of Wally” was held in New York. The painting was in limbo for 12 years. To purchase it the Leopold Museum finally paid 19 million dollars in 2012 to the descendants of Lea Bondi Jaray, a Jewish art dealer. The value of Schiele paintings climbed steadily because of the controversy this painting as well as others caused; the value of the paintings and their provenance was frequently covered in world news. Had the painting been bought back by the Museum when it was originally seized it would only have cost 2 million. The Leopold Museum and foundation have paid for the repatriation of some of these paintings by selling other works of art.

Schiele’s life was sadly very short but the Austrian expressionist painter had a very productive life (1890-1918.). His genius is plain to see in the several hundred oil paintings, drawings and erotic sketches that still seem contemporary a century after they were created.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Austrian Mint Issue 2012 Silver & Niobium Coin Dedicated to "Bionics"

February 22, 2012 - The Austrian Mint has issued the tenth coin in the silver niobium bimetallic series featuring Bionics. Bionics is the complex interdisciplinary field in which biological systems and evolution are applied in solving engineering problems and developing modern technology.

Austria 2012 25€ Bionic Silver & Niobium BU
The obverse of the coin is dominated by a cross section of the complex nautilus shell, often used as a model for leading edge modern design buildings. Above the nautilus an eagle flies – symbolizing the inspiration for an aircraft. The aircraft also has a special finish on the outer shell, which was based on sharkskin, that reduces friction and thereby allowing the aircraft to fly more efficiently. The lotus flower shown in the left centre of the silver ring gave rise to repellents. The obverse of the coin was deigned by the Mint’s chief engraver Thomas Pesendorfer.

Also on the obverse of the coin and located in the silver ring is the country of issue “Republik Oesterreich,” Republic of Austria and the year of issue 2012. The face value of the coin, 25 euros, is located in the right quadrant of the pure niobium design field.

The reverse side of the coin shows an interior view of the Munich Olympic stadium, the roof of which was designed based on findings in the bionic world based on radiolarian shells. A highly magnified radiolarian shell is shown in the foreground. These shells normally have a size of .1 to .2 mm. Mint engraver Helmut Waehner designed the reverse of this coin.

Jack Steele coined the word “bionics” in 1958. Steele was from Illinois and worked for the US Air Force in the Aerospace Research lab and had studied neurology, psychiatry and anatomy. The word comes form the Greek “bion” meaning unit of life. Many think of the “Bionic Woman” and the “Six Million Dollar Man” from the 1970’s and understand the field of bionics to be biology and electronics. In fact, that only covers a part of the broad and complex field. It is the transfer of lessons from nature into the human world. This coin includes many examples of this.

The shell is a perfect example of nature acting as a prototype for modern technology, or bionics. The nautilus shell is the ultimate in terms of influencing architectural symmetry. The logarithmic perfection of shells leads to three fundamental styles: 1) A circular shape which is found in the winding style of a shell, 2) The spiral which is seen when a shell is viewed from the top and 3) The pyramid, which is seen when a shell is viewed from the side. Three perfect geometric balances all in one compact natural existence. The shell has often been used as inspiration for architecture. The most obvious one is the Sydney Australia Opera House. Complex and able to withstand anything that nature has thus far thrown its way. The entire building flows together.

The skin of a shark is very soft and is made of thousands of teeth-like scales arranged in parallel with the swimming direction. The overlapping teeth-like structure strengthened by riblets in turn reduces drag. This has been known for several decades and has been used to reduce drag on aircraft, ships and even vehicles. Most amazing has been the application of this technology to non-hard surfaces such as swimsuits. The most recent summer Olympic Games held in 2008 in Beijing China resulted in phenomenal results and many new world records were set because of this bionic technology.

One of the oldest and best-known transfers from nature to modern technology is the lotus plant. The leaves In particular have a repellent effect on dirt and water. The leaves are rough, microscopically speaking, and do not allow dirt or water to adhere to them; rather they repel dirt, and it is automatically channelled by water off the leaf. This technology based on a natural process has been applied to everything from dirt repellent paints to self-cleaning windows.

Finally, the coin also commemorates the highly valuable understanding of radiolarian structures. These structures have a skeleton that remains very strong despite the many breaks that may occur in the panels that fill-in the skeleton. The complex hexagonal filigree structures of a radiolarian skeleton allow for relatively light weight structures with great strength. Many modern structures and even vehicles from numerous airports such as Shanghai and Denver and even passenger cars such as the Smart Car use radiolarian sophistication to build solid structures.

The new 25-euro coin is issued with a maximum mintage of 65,000 pieces and is struck in special uncirculated quality only. It has a diameter of 34 mm and contains 9 grams of 900 fine silver in the outer ring. The core consists of 7.15 grams of 998 pure niobium and has a striking bright pink color. Each coin is encapsulated, boxed and accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Introducing The 2012 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof Coin

Following on from the sell-out success of the 2011 Tasmanian Tiger 1oz Gold Proof, it gives me the greatest pleasure to provide you with what is set to be one of the most exclusive off ers of the year - the 2012 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof.

Niue 2012 $100 Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle 1oz Gold Proof

Comprised of an entire Troy ounce of .9999 pure gold, the 2012 Wedge Tailed Eagle Gold Proof will be a luxury for just a select few. Restricted to a miniscule mintage of just 150 coins worldwide, this flawless masterpiece of modern minting is sure to disappear before the market even stirs! Struck to the highest of Proof standards, each legal tender issue is distinguished by individual edge-numbering, matching that of the accompanying Certifi cate of Authenticity.

Beautifully capturing the essence of gold minting, the reverse of this coin depicts the distinctive stance of Australia’s iconic Wedge-Tailed Eagle, in full colour. Crafted to fully struck up high relief, this superb example of the world’s favourite precious metal is destined to command the attention of collectors and investors across the globe.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Austrian Mint Issues First in New Gustav Klimt Gold Coin Series

January 25, 2012 - The Austrian Mint will issue today the first gold coin of a new 5 part gold coin series celebrating one of the leading luminaries of the art nouveau movement, Gustav Klimt, and his primary subject, women. The series commencing this year also marks the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth.

Austria 2012 50€ Adele Bloch-Bauer Gold Proof

The obverse of the coin bears a portrait of Klimt based on a photograph by Moriz Naehr from about 1917/1918, framed in a square, that brings to mind the canvas of a painting. The use of the square is also to highlight one of the most common shapes repeatedly used by Klimt in his paintings. In the bottom right corner of the square is Gustav Klimt’s signature based on his signature that he used on his many paintings. To the right of the square is a spiral, much like Klimt used, to ornament the coin. Also on this side appears the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich” or Republic of Austria, and the face value of 50 euros and year of issue, 2012. The Mint’s chief engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer, engraved the obverse.

The reverse shows a portion of the famous painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. The many complex mosaic-like details surround her somewhat sad but serene face. Her beautiful long neck is highlighted with the lovely elaborate choker encircling it. In the bottom left of the design field is the letter “K", the first letter of Klimt’s last name. Mint engraver Herbert Waehner completed the engraving of the reverse. Mr. Waehner found the engraving of this side both easy and difficult at the same time. “One of the key elements of painting is color, and of course this is not present in this coin. Therefore, the very detailed engraving of the miniscule differences in relief heights of the complex mosaic-like ornamentation in the plaster model was very challenging.”

Klimt was born in Austria in 1862 and very early on his artistic gift became evident. He was classically trained, and began his career by painting murals and ceilings in large public buildings. His great love and primary subject, however, was the female form.

Gustav Klimt was one of the founding members of the Vienna Secession, “Ver Sacrum”, art movement that officially existed from 1897 - 1905 – a movement funded by the government that presented young non-conventional artists. Many very well known artists were also members of this group such as Otto Wagner, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Egon Schiele, to name but a few.

The last public commission completed by Klimt was for three murals for the University of Vienna, featuring Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence. Done in very much his radical style of thought-provoking eroticism, these paintings, when revealed to the public, generated an outcry that was exceptionally strong. With many people having labelled them “pornographic”, these paintings were never used for their original intent in the Great Hall of the University. Sadly, they were destroyed at the end of the Second World War.

Klimt tended to work from his home, enjoying a relaxed lifestyle wearing robes and sandals, devoted to his art and life style. His life companion was Emilie Floege whom he met in 1890. Klimt’s love of the female form was not exclusive to his art but to the many relationships he enjoyed. He is known to have fathered 14 children. He died in 1918, at the age of 56, from a heart attack.

From about 1885 onward Klimt enjoyed his “Golden Phase”, reflecting his critical success and acclaim, as well as his regular use of gold leaf in his paintings. His fame brought many patrons to him and he was able to be selective about the commissions he accepted. Klimt received the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Francis Josef I in 1888, for the murals he painted in the Palace Theatre. Klimt’s painting entitled “Philosophy” won gold at the Paris Exhibitions of 1900, and “Death and Life” received first prize at the world exhibition in Rome in 1915. Several of Klimt’s paintings have brought some of the highest prices ever paid for art in the world.

The first coin of the series features one of the paintings from this very successful period. It features a painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Adele’s husband, Ferdinand Bloch- Bauer, a wealthy industrialist and great supporter of Klimt, commissioned the painting. Ferdinand’s wife was the only woman Klimt painted twice. Thus, this painting is known as Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Adele married Ferdinand at a young age. The couple remained childless; sadly three pregnancies resulted in either stillbirths or the death of the child soon after birth. Adele was a strong and independent lady who was also a somewhat quiet and dark person who socialized in intellectual circles and eventually met Klimt. She was only 26 the first time that Klimt painted her. The many rumours about their relationship and whether or not it was romantic have never been confirmed or denied. Adele died at the age of 43, and her niece Maria Altmann claims she never saw her laugh but rather that she was always very serious.

The painting of Adele is less risqué than many of his others. Klimt painted the first portrait of Adele in a regal pose with a sad look and luscious red lips. The oil painting also features some of his other trade marks using a lot of gold and silver leaf and the multitude of complex painted mosaics that when viewed together become the body of Adele and her lovely flowing robe. The painting took four years to complete.

The ownership of Adele Bloch-Bauer I was for some time hotly disputed and much wrangling occurred to establish clear title to it. The sole surviving heir, Maria Altmann of Los Angeles, claimed it for many years and finally won ownership of this painting as well as four others by Klimt that were once owned by Bloch-Bauer. Once the courts awarded ownership of the paintings to her – she simply sold all of them for huge sums of money. The painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer I was bought by Ronald Lauder, owner of the Neue Galerie in New York, for a reported $135 million in 2006. This painting is a key cornerstone of the Galerie’s collection. The wish of the childless Bloch-Bauer’s that these paintings should be available to all in public galleries was sadly therefore not possible.

The other coins of the series will continue to illustrate the important women in this art nouveau artist's life. The coins will present his work in a manner similar to an exhibition. As well, each of the coins will have another letter of his name K-L-I-M-T worked into the design – so that once the series is complete his last name will become part of the signature of the 5 coin series.

The new coin is struck in 986 fine gold to a maximum mintage of 30,000 pieces in proof quality only. The diameter of the coin is 22mm and it contains 10 grams of fine gold. Each coin is packed in an attractive box with a numbered certificate of authenticity, which is six pages in length and provides detailed background and technical information about the quality and design of the coin.

A beautiful wooden collection case for the whole series, “Klimt and his Women”, may be purchased separately. It contains a booklet explaining the whole series.

eci The next four coins of the series are: 2013: Expectation from Stoclet Frieze; 2014: Judith II; 2015: Hygieia from the faculty painting Medicine; 2016: The Kiss.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Silver Coin Marks 50th Anniversary of Australian Involvement in Vietnam

Representing the nation with great pride, tremendous determination and redoubtable courage, Australian armed forces served in the Vietnam War for more than a decade – from 1962 until 1972.

Niue 2012 $5 Vietnam 5oz Silver Proof

The conflict began in the late 1950s as a civil war in the south between the communist-backed National Liberation Front and US-backed South Vietnam. The war intensified in the early 60s resulting in Australia responding to a request from South Vietnam and dispatching Army training advisers in August of 1962 to assist local forces. With the situation worsening in the mid 60s, Australia's role in the conflict expanded following America's proposal to increase its military presence. The 1RAR was deployed in May of 1965, and when it was relieved, some 12 months later, Australia's contribution to the war increased once more.

Over the next few years, Australian personnel served with distinction in an extensive variety of roles from jungle patrolling to village search operations, and were involved in several major operations to win back key bases from the determined forces of the communist North. The peak of Australian involvement arrived in 1969, with over 7,000 Army personnel in Vietnam, but by this stage, the USA and Australia were already preparing for withdrawal. From late 1970, Australian forces were progressively withdrawn, before the Australian Governor-General announced the cessation of hostilities on 11 January 1973.

Operating under extremely difficult conditions, and helping to both preserve and pass on the Anzac Spirit of courage, mateship, determination and sacrifice, over 50,000 members of the Australian Army, Air Force and Navy served in Vietnam, suffering over 3,500 casualties, with more than 400 personnel killed in action.


Struck from a massive FIVE TROY OUNCES of .999 fine silver, and spanning an expansive 65mm in diameter, this imposing, official legal tender coin forms a commanding tribute to the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Australian involvement in the Vietnam War.

Contrasting beautifully against the silver Proof backdrop, the depiction of an Australian Special Forces soldier with an Australian soldier and Iroquois helicopter in the background looks superb rendered in colour.

An ideal opportunity for collectors to honour the often unheralded efforts of Aussie diggers who did the country proud during the nation's long, controversial engagement in the Vietnam War – but you will have to be quick.

With the worldwide mintage restricted to an incredibly low 400 coins, and demand for Australian military commemoratives always so strong, a rapidfire sell-out of this poignant precious metal Proof is all but assured. Secure your coin now at the Official Issue Price!