In 2013, the Austrian Mint inaugurated its “Wildlife in Our Sights” series of gold Proof coins. 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 .986 fine (98.6% pure) gold. Maximum mintage for the issue is 30,000 pieces. Each coin comes with a deluxe wooden collector case and a numbered certificate of authenticity. Last year’s coin, “The Capercaillie“, was the winner of CoinWeek’s first annual Coin of the Year award.
The 2016 entry in the Austrian Mint’s Wildlife series honors the fox, a member of the Canine family that inhabits much of the Northern Hemisphere.
The obverse features a European red fox (Vulpes vulpes crucigera) sitting in a patch of wild grasses, looking serenely into the distance to the right. At least five different types of grass are distinguishable. Cradling the central design along the bottom right is a grouping of occasionally interlocking ornamental scrolls and raised dots; the scrolling resembles the young shoots of a climbing vine or some such plant. The scrolling, the grass, and the lines of the fox’s body provide a multilayered, visually pleasing contrast.
Balancing out the design along the upper left rim of the coin is the underlined legend REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH and the year 2016. The face value of 100 EURO is inscribed in large letters between the fox’s forehead and the date.
The reverse features a scene of familial tranquility, with an adult fox watching over two younger fox cubs. Foxes tend to live in small family groups, so one presumes that the older fox is the cubs’ mother. This also suggests that the fox on the obverse is the father, since foxes often form mated pairs. The trio rests beneath a tree in a small clearing while a wood mouse peaks out of the grass beneath the middle fox. The cubs, the mouse and most of the grass occupy the lower half of the side. The tree, its leaves and the mature fox occupy the upper half, though the tree more clearly takes up the left quarter and the fox takes up the right.
The overall mood is one of gentle calm and repose.
Designer(s): The recently retired Thomas Pesendorfer was the Chief Engraver of the Austrian Mint. His award-winning design for the Vienna Philharmonic bullion coin is known all over the world (View Designer’s Profile). Herbert Wähner is a designer and engraver at the Austrian Mint. Both men studied at the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr, Austria.
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|OBV Designer||Thomas Pesendorfer | Herbert Wähner|
|REV Designer||Thomas Pesendorfer | Herbert Wähner|
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