Angels figure in the myths and legends of countless cultures around the world. They are especially significant in the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The angel Michael is common to all three.
Michael, or Saint Michael in the Catholic Church, is a protector of the Jewish people in the Old Testament and the leader of God’s army of angels in the Book of Revelations in the Christian New Testament. As one of the chief angels, or archangels, of the heavenly host, Michael’s special protection is frequently sought by the faithful.
He also served as the patron saint of the Holy Roman Empire, of which the state of Austria was an integral part.
Being first and foremost among the angels, Michael is the logical choice for the inaugural issue in the four-coin Guardian Angel series from the Austrian Mint. It was designed and adapted by Helmut Andexlinger and Herbert Wähner.
The obverse features a set of scales imposed over a wavy-bladed sword. Among the symbols common to Saint Michael, the items are above and inside a stylized letter “M” that looks as though it were copied from a medieval manuscript. On the silver Proof version, the grapevine and leaves that surround the central motif are colored a rich, almost royal, blue.
A ring of closely placed dots or beads partitions the design from the outer ring of inscriptions. REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH (technically, R * E * P * U * B * L * I * K Ö * S * T * E * R * R * E * I * C * H) is inscribed clockwise along the top three-quarters of the rim. The denomination of 10 EURO (1 * 0 E * U * R * O) is found at the bottom. The date, 2017, is located beneath the scales and the letter “M”, forming the bottom point of the design’s rounded heart shape.
The reverse features an adaption of a famous 13th-century painting of Saint Michael slaying a dragon. The detail used for the coin was found on an altar in the Church of Saint Miquel de Soriguerola in Spain; it is now located in the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) in Barcelona.
In the design, Michael is seen driving a spear with a cross at the end of it into the mouth of a dragon. His wings are prominently displayed and a halo surrounds his head. Small, eight-pointed stars are found within the negative space. The archangel stands beneath a trefoil arch held up by historiated columns, one of which is fully visible on the right. Above the archway are a smattering of buildings that look vaguely classical in nature though they lack detail. Multiple serpent or dragon heads are found branching off from the dragon’s tail. A ring of dots or beads encircles the design, which extends almost to the edge of the coin. There are no inscriptions.
The edges of both the silver and copper 2017 Michael – The Protecting Angel coins are smooth.
Designer(s): Austrian Mint designer Helmut Andexlinger is one of the world’s leading coin designers. He has created a number of prize-winning coin designs (View Designer’s Profile). Herbert Wähner is a designer and engraver at the Austrian Mint. He studied at the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr, Austria.
|Year Of Issue:||2017|
|Mintage:||Silver: 60,000; Copper: 130,000|
|Alloy:||.925 Silver; Copper|
|Weight:||Silver: 16.82g; Copper: 15.00g|
|OBV Designer||Helmut Andexlinger / Herbert Wähner|
|REV Designer||Helmut Andexlinger / Herbert Wähner|
|Quality:||Proof & Special Uncirculated (Silver); Uncirculated (Copper)|
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