By CoinWeek News Staff….
Every year since 2003, the Austrian Mint (Münze Österreich AG) has released a new bimetallic, silver-niobium collector’s coin honoring science, engineering and technology.
This year’s coin, available now on the Austrian Mint’s website (http://www.muenzeoesterreich.at/eng/produkte/cosmology), features a design based on the theme of “Cosmology”. Delivery started Wednesday, January 21.
The outer ring is made of .900 fine silver and takes up 9.00g of the coin’s 16.50g total weight. The niobium center (or “pill”) weighs 7.50g. Together, the coin has a diameter of 34mm (~1.34 inches).
It comes in Special Uncirculated condition, which, according to the Austrian Mint, means that each coin is an early strike from a new die and is individually packed immediately after minting.
“Cosmology” is the second coin in the series (after 2014’s “Evolution”) to feature two different colors of niobium, in this case blue and gold. Unlike many coins that feature colorization, the two colors aren’t applied to the surface but are instead the result of a special oxidation process.
The obverse features several planets or planetoids (including a recognizable Saturn), four-point stars and the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe–the first spacecraft to orbit a comet–all in yellow. Empty space, along with some stars, are colored blue. The word KOSMOLOGIE is inscribed on the “pill”, while REPUBLIK OSTERREICH, 25 EURO and 2015 are inscribed on the silver ring. Various scientific symbols, equations and graphs are in the background.
On the reverse, planets and their orbits (in yellow) arc over the European Extremely Large Telescope (in blue). The E-ELT has been called the “world’s biggest eye on the sky.” One of the key objectives of the E-ELT is to find other earth-like planets. It will also study the formation and demise of stars, planetary systems and the planets themselves. The telescope is located in the Amazonas region of the Atacama Desert in Chile, at an altitude of 3000 meters or almost 10,000 feet. Construction on the E-ELT began in early 2014 and is expected to end sometime in 2022. The entire project is estimated to cost more than one billion euros.
The reverse also features the inscriptions MULTIVERSUM, UNIVERSUM, GALAXIE and SONNENSYSTEM, which mean “multiverse”, “universe”, “galaxy” and “solar system”, respectively.
Both sides of the coin were designed and engraved by Helmut Andexlinger, the youngest engraver at the Austrian Mint. Mr. Andexlinger has been involved with the silver-niobium coin program from the beginning, having designed the 2005 entry “50 Years of Television”, 2010’s “Renewable Energy” and last year’s “Evolution”. He also co-designed the first entry in the series, 2003’s “700 Years of Hall in Tyro”, as well as 2004’s “150th Anniversary of the Semmering Railway” and 2011’s “Robotik”.
He designed the 2012 circulating 2 euro cent, as well.
“Cosmology” has a mintage limit of 65,000. Each coin is encapsulated, packed in a red case with a handsome grey slipcover, and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Cost is €58 (US$67.23) plus 10% VAT (value-added tax).
At the time of writing, €1 (EUR) trades for approximately $1.16 (USD).
NOTE: CoinWeek has a collectors summary of all the Austrian Mint Niobium coins in the Updated Article “Coin Analyst: A Guide to the Austrian Mint’s 25 Euro Niobium and Silver Coin Series”
Also, be sure to visit the Austrian Mint Premium Content page on CoinWeek.