The ultra-popular Austrian Niobium 25-Euro Center’s second issue celebrates one of the 19th century’s most breathtaking engineering feats, the opening of Semmering Railway. Designed by Carlo Ghega, the Semmering Railway took 20,000 workers six years to construct. One thousand of them lost their lives in the process.
The first large scale mountain railway in the world, the Semmering Railway connected the mountain hamlet of Gloggnitz to the Styrian town of Mürzzuschlag. The scenic 41-kilometer track made the region accessible for industries such as mining and tourism.
In 1998, more than a hundred years after its completion, the Semmering Railway was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its continued use and ability to awe and inspire is a testament to Ghega and the will of the Austrian Empire to achieve what was thought to be technologically impossible.
Legal tender in Austria, the 2004 150 Years of the Semmering Railway Silver-Niobium 25-euro coin depicts the mountainous railway and celebrates its locomotive engines, then and now. The coin measures 34 mm, weighs 17.15 grams and is made of an outer ring of 0.900 fine silver with a Niobium inner center.
The coin was carefully struck in a special uncirculated finish. A total of 50,000 pieces were struck. In its original packaging, each coin comes in a plastic coin capsule that fits snugly inside a burgundy box. A serial-numbered certificate of authenticity was also included.
Composition: 7.15g Niobium Center, 10g .900 Silver annular outer | Weight: 17.15 grams | Size: 34mm
Designer: Thomas Pesendorfer.
Two locomotives face to the right. At the top, a Siemens-built Eursprinter ES 64 U. On its side the initials ÖBB, which stand for Österreichische Bundesbahnen (Austrian Railway). Beneath it, the locomotive Rapellen, which entered into service on the Semmering Railway in 1853. To the rear is located the train’s engine number: 618. The focal point of the coin’s design is located within the green niobium inner disc; the design continues without interruption, however, on the coin’s annular silver outer portion. The inscription: REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH arches around the top rim of the coin, canted to the right. The space below the bottom train’s track forms the exergue. In the niobium portion is located the date 2004. Wrapping around the bottom in the silver ring is the denomination 25 EURO. The designer’s initials “TP” are located at the 7 o’clock position, behind the rear wheel of the Rapellen.
Designer: Helmut Andexlinger.
A 19th-century steam locomotive and its load of six passenger cars cross over one of Semmering’s famous arched viaducts. A tunnel opening is visible in the distance. The train is almost entirely positioned in the green niobium center. Portions of the design carry over to the outer ring. The design cuts away at the top and the bottom of the coin (canted to the left) for the inscriptions: 150 JAHRE (top) and SEMMERINGBAHN (bottom).
Coin Distribution and Market Value