On October 28, the Austrian Mint will issue the third gold coin in the “Wildlife in Our Sights” program. The six coin series celebrates the diversity of Europe’s native wildlife as well as the sustainable management of their habitats.
The obverse was designed and engraved by the mint’s master engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer (View Designer’s Profile), and depicts the male Capercaillie, a wild European woodland grouse, in full courting pose; tail feathers fanned out, wings somewhat drooped to the ground and head and beak pointed skywards singing out its distinctive and long mating call. Around the bird are pine boughs, pinecones and a tree stump, representative of the natural habitat where it lives. Distinctive decorative ornamental scrolls complete the design and give this series its distinctive character.
The obverse also bears the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich”, the 2015 year of issue and the face value 100 euros.
The reverse of the coin was designed and engraved by mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger (View Designer’s Profile). It depicts both male and female Capercaillie sitting on the branch of a pine tree. The male bird is usually double the size of the delicate female as can be seen in this depiction. The design is completed with a depiction of a pinecone, the detailed bark of a coniferous tree along the right side of the coin, as well as a few more pine tree trunks in the background. The rocky crag in the left background completes the design.
The capercaillie lives in coniferous, mixed and deciduous woodland, where it spends the night roosting in trees. The habitat of the capercaillie is disappearing and this most striking of birds is now extinct in a number of European countries. Their typical habitat is a mature mixed forest with lots of sun. The mature forest is important as they are active during daylight hours and sleep on horizontal branches during the night. Austria is one of the last countries where the Capercaillie, though rare, still exists in relatively large numbers.
The Capercaillie, is the largest species of the Grouse family well known for is spectacular mating dance and call, a ritual that begins in spring which may last into June. Most of the time the mating rituals are largely their way of claiming a territory. The hens only participate towards the end of these many dances and calls.
The capercaillie’s diet consists of mostly of berries, leaves and grasses. In winter it lives by eating predominantly pine needles. The young chicks need more protein and therefore insects are added to its diet that they seek on their own. However, the down-covered chicks need to be warmed regularly, especially at night, when the female sits on them. At the age of about six weeks the chicks are able to maintain their own body heat.
The series “Wildlife in Our Sights” will consist of the following coins in gold:
- 2013 The Red Deer
- 2014 The Wild Boar
- 2015 The Capercaillie
- 2016 The Fox
- 2017 The Alpine Ibex
- 2018 The Mallard
The new 100 Euro gold coin is struck in proof quality with a maximum mintage of 30,000 pieces. It has a diameter of 30 mm., contains 16 grams of gold and is .986 fine. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in a box with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
A wooden collector case with a rustic elegant design is available for the series. The case is adorned with a delicately minted shield designed and crafted by the mint’s in-house engravers.
Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the “Capercaillie” coin by visiting the Austrian Mint’s website (www.austrian-mint.at)
Or through these fine dealers:
- • APMEX toll-free at 1 800 375 9006 or ordering online at www.apmex.com;
- • Downies toll-free at 1 877 897 7696 or ordering online at www.downies.com;
- • ModernCoinMart toll-free at 1 800 362 9004 or ordering online at www.moderncoinmart.com.