By Austrian Mint ……
Alpine Treasures – Wild Waters
The dramatic beauty of the Alps stems not only from the vertiginous peaks themselves but also from the rivers that traverse them. Nowhere is this truer than in Austria’s Gesäuse National Park, where the River Enns has cut its way through the Northern Limestone Alps, leaving steep, rugged summits towering over its banks. The small but perfectly formed national park features on Wild Waters, the third and final coin in the Alpine Treasures series, which showcases the multifaceted nature of the Austria’s alpine landscape.
Founded in 2002, Gesäuse is the most recent of Austria’s six national parks to be established. Here nature has been left to its own devices, creating a true spectacle for the visitor. Some 195 endemic animal species dwell in this wonderful winding valley. Of particular interest is the alpine salamander, a non-aquatic reptile recognizable by the intense yellow stripes on its back. In Austria it is considered an endangered species and placed under strict protection.
As well as its varied animal life, Gesäuse is also home to 30 endemic plant varieties – a record for Austria. Most notable is the pink, whose wonderful blooms are native to Gesäuse, thanks to the national park’s unique combination of well-watered scree, calcareous grass, and dolomite rock.
The plant features on the obverse its Latin name DIANTHUS PLUMARIUS BLANDUS inscribed on the lower right-hand side. The reverse depicts the gateway to the Gesäuse: an immense natural panorama framed by forest with the River Enns flowing beneath the imposing 2,335 meters of the Großer Ödstein. In the foreground, an alpine salamander crawls across the coin.
The coin is struck in .986 fine gold in Proof quality to a maximum mintage of 20,000 and comes in a case complete with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The gold content of this gold coin is one-quarter of an ounce.
- Austrian Mint recommended retail price: € 498.00
Supersaurs – Microraptor gui
Like all animal groups, dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes. Weighing just one kilogram and no larger than a chicken, Microraptor gui was the smallest of them all. Despite having wings and feathers, the subject of the 10th coin in the spectacular Supersaurs series was not a bird but rather a true dinosaur dating from the early Cretaceous period some 120 million years ago.
We know this because numerous well-preserved Microraptor fossil specimens have been found in lakebed deposits in China’s Liaoning province. Preserved in mud, the dinosaur’s remains were protected from oxygen and scavengers and thus provided paleontologists with a rare and fascinating glimpse of prehistoric life. Even the dinosaur’s feathers were clearly visible, forming a fringe around the skull, along the neck before merging into long wing feathers. The elongated long tail also culminated in a fan of feathers, two of which were particularly long. Microraptor gui is also one of the few dinosaurs of which the color of the feathers can be gauged. Although it was not a bird, the Microraptor does, however, provide important evidence about the evolutionary relationship between birds and early dinosaurs.
On the right of the coin’s reverse, a color-printed Microraptor gui is shown in a forest landscape, clawing at a tree trunk; on the left, a flying Microraptor chases a dragonfly. The coin’s obverse features all 12 prehistoric animals in the Supersaurs series in silhouette. All of the 3 euro coins in the series are legal tender in Austria.
SPECIFICATIONS: Face Value 3 Euro; Diameter 34 mm; Copper alloy; Weight 16 g; Mintage 50,000; Glow-in-the-Dark color print
- Austrian Mint recommended retail price: € 10.50 (excl. VAT)