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Austria 2015 Wildlife in Our Sights: The Capercaillie 100 Euro Proof Gold Coin


From the Austrian Mint:

The capercaillie lives in coniferous, mixed and deciduous woodland, where it spends the night roosting in trees. The habitat of the capercaillie is disappearing and this most striking of birds is now extinct in a number of European countries. Their typical habitat is a mature mixed forest with lots of sun. The mature forest is important as they are active during daylight hours and sleep on horizontal branches during the night. Austria is one of the last countries where the Capercaillie, though rare, still exists in relatively large numbers.

The Capercaillie, is the largest species of the Grouse family well known for is spectacular mating dance and call, a ritual that begins in spring which may last into June. Most of the time the mating rituals are largely their way of claiming a territory. The hens only participate towards the end of these many dances and calls.

The capercaillie’s diet consists of mostly of berries, leaves and grasses. In winter it lives by eating predominantly pine needles. The young chicks need more protein and therefore insects are added to its diet that they seek on their own. However, the down-covered chicks need to be warmed regularly, especially at night, when the female sits on them. At the age of about 6 weeks the chicks are able to maintain their own body heat.

On October 28, 2015, the Austrian Mint will release the third gold coin in its “Wildlife in Our Sights” program. The six-coin series celebrates the diversity of Europe’s native wildlife as well as the sustainable management of their habitats. The intricately-designed coin is the work of award-winning Austrian Mint coin designers Thomas Pesendorfer and Helmut Andexlinger.

Each coin in the series carries a face value of 100 euro and is legal tender in Austria. Struck in Proof quality, the coin measures 30 mm and contains 16 grams of gold (.986 fine). Maximum mintage for the issue is 30,000 pieces. Each coin comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Coin comes in a deluxe wooden collector case.

Wildlife in Our Sights Coin Program: The Red Deer (2013) | The Wild Boar (2014) | The Capercaillie (2015) | The Fox (2016) | The Alpine Ibex (2017) | The Mallard (2018)

Upon release, collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the “Capercaillie” coin by contacting either the Austrian Mint or through the Austrian Mint’s U.S. Distributors APMEX and Modern Coin Mart.


Thomas Pesendorfer’s obverse design depicts a male Capercaillie, a wild European woodland grouse, in full courting pose. Its tail feathers are fanned out, its wings somewhat drooped to the ground, and its head and beak pointed skywards, singing out the bird’s distinctive mating call. The bird is situated amidst an array of pine boughs, pine cones, and a tree stump. These features represent the bird’s natural habitat. Ornamental scrolls wrap around the coin’s right and right-bottom area, adjacent to the rim. Wrapping around the top of the design is the legend REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH and the date 2015. The denomination, “100 EURO” is indicated to the left of the grouse.


The coin’s reverse depicts both a male and female Capercaillie sitting on the branch of a pine tree. The birds are rendered to scale, and the male bird, which is usually double the size of the female, dwarfs over her. A rugged natural setting fills in the background, along with the detailed bark of a pine tree. At the base of the coin is a pine cone and pine boughs. Text is absent.

Designer(s): Austrian Mint designer Thomas Pesendorfer’s coin designs continue to capture the spirit and culture of Austria. To learn more about him: View Designer’s Profile. Additional details about Austrian Mint designer Helmut Andexlinger’s coin designs can be found here:  View Designer’s Profile.

Coin Specifications:

Country:  Austria
Year Of Issue:  2015
Denomination:  100 Euro
Mint Mark:
Mintage:  30,000
Alloy:  .986 Gold
Weight:  16.22 grams
Diameter:  30 mm
OBV Designer  Thomas Pesendorfer
REV Designer  Helmut Andexlinger
Quality:  Proof

Keep up with all the latest coin releases from the world mints by clicking on CoinWeek’s World Coin Profiles Page.

CoinWeek IQ
CoinWeek IQ
With CoinWeek IQ, the editors and writers of CoinWeek dig deeper than the usual numismatic article. CoinWeek IQ provides collectors and numismatists with in-depth information, pedigree histories, and market analysis of U.S. coins and currency.

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