The Austrian Mint launched the Colorful Creatures series of three-euro glow-in-the-dark collector coins in October 2016 and will release a new coin about every three months until July of 2019. Colorful Creatures is the first series of three-euro coins produced by the Austrian Mint; they are legal tender only in Austria but as collector coins they are not intended for general circulation.
Each entry in the 12-coin program showcases a different animal from around the world, engraved and colored to photorealistic effect. All come in the Austrian Mint’s Special Uncirculated finish – essentially a “first strike”-quality coin that is individually handled and inspected.
The fourth issue in the series–2017’s The Kingfisher–was released September 6. Few sights in nature are as spectacular as the contrasting electric blue and orange flash of a kingfisher flying low and fast over water. The bird’s markings are brought to life in vivid detail in our superb 12-piece glow-in-the-dark Colourful Creatures series, which explores the wonderful world of wildlife.
The Austrian Mint’s “Colorful Creatures” Coin Program: The Bat (2016) | The Tiger – The Crocodile – The Kingfisher – The Wolf (2017) | The Parrot – The Shark – The Owl – The Frog (2018) | The Turtle – The Otter – The Crayfish (2019)
A small, squat bird with a large head and beak, the kingfisher may not look like the super-efficient predator that it actually is, but the bird’s eyesight is so good that kingfishers can perceive life under water and their torpedo-shaped body enables them to dive with lightning speed. They hunt fish and aquatic insects from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the surface of the water. Relatively widespread across Europe, the kingfisher’s vulnerability to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses make its conservation status unfavourable.
The reverse of the 3 euro coin shows a kingfisher on just such a perch, its eye on a leaping trout. The German word for kingfisher (EISVOGEL) and the date 2017 are also featured.
A group of animals is at the center of the obverse; naturally enough, these are the animals featured in the “Colorful Creatures” series. Animals that fly are placed at the top, animals that move about on land are in the middle, and creatures of the sea are on the bottom of the grouping. Starting with the bat and moving clockwise, we get an owl, a pine or fir tree, a crescent moon, a howling wolf, an African savannah tree, an otter, a crayfish, a turtle, a shark, a tiger and a parrot. A kingfisher, a frog and a crocodile form an inner ring, and a small patch of wild grass is at the very heart of the design. Flowers and stars are intermingled among the land animals, while dots and circles representing bubbles are dispersed among the sea creatures.
None are rendered in great detail. Instead, a sort of pointillistic effect is used.
The inscription REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH wraps around the left side of the rim, while a large numeral “3” and the word EURO denote the denomination of the coin along the bottom. The sans serif font appears to be a thicker version of that found on the reverse. Between the two phrases is a paw print.
Engraver Anna Rastl is new to the Mint, working primarily in the medals department.
With the retirement of Thomas Pesendorfer in 2016, Helmut Andexlinger is now the Chief Engraver of the Austrian Mint. His innovative work with computer technology has resulted in many award-winning coins for the Mint and places him at the forefront of a younger generation of coin designers (View Designer’s Profile).
Both artists studied at the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr, Austria.
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Watch the video below to see how the Austrian Mint makes the glow-in-the-dark coins of the Colorful Creatures series.
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