One of Vienna’s most famous exports is Spanish.
The Austrian Mint announced Jan. 12 that a 2015 commemorative coin,
due for release Feb. 18, will honor the Lipizzaner stallions and the place where they
train, the Spanish
The Spanish Riding School, headquartered in Vienna and located in
the Imperial Palace complex in the heart of the city, was founded 450
years ago during the Renaissance period. The Riding School is the
oldest institution of its kind in the world.
To mark the anniversary, the school and its pupils are honored on a
Special Uncirculated .900 fine silver €20 coin.
The obverse of the coin depicts a pair of Lipizzaner stallions and
their riders performing a pas de deux, which requires very high levels
of concentration and coordination.
A portion of the winter riding school of the Imperial Palace complex
is shown in the background, including details of the classic baroque
building designed by Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach and built
between 1729 and 1735.
Above one of the hall’s windows, sculptured in wood and plaster, is
the Imperial Crown of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, recognizable from
the double-headed eagle looking east and west, holding ribbons in its beak.
Thomas Pesendorfer, the Austrian Mint’s master engraver, designed
and engraved the obverse.
The reverse depicts a stallion and rider executing a levade, one of
the school’s equestrian inventions, in which the stallion puts its
entire weight on its hind legs and raises its front legs no more than
45 degrees. The ceiling of the performance hall and some of the
columns and railings are also visible.
The words 450 JAHRE SPANISCHE HOFREITSCHULE, translating to
"450 years of the Spanish Riding School," are superimposed
over the earth floor of the performing hall.
The reverse was designed and engraved by mint engraver Herbert Waehner.
The iconic whitish-grey Lipizzaner stallions and their riders
perform in 70 classical performances every year and regularly tour in
European cities such Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels, among others.
The Hapsburg Imperial family developed the Lipizzaner breed during
the Renaissance period to meet the military's need for agile light horses.
Lipizzaners are the result of a Spanish horse being crossed with
Iberian mares, reflecting a time when the Hapsburgs controlled Austria
as well as Spain.
The Lipizzaners are born with dark colored coats that become light
grey by the time the horses reach the ages of 6 to 10 years.
Some 70 Lipizzaner stallions serve in the riding school, along with
20 riders, of which only two have the “chief rider” designation. Each
year some 300,000 visitors attend their performances.
The legal tender coin weighs 20 grams and has a diameter of 34 millimeters.
The coin is limited to a mintage of 50,000 pieces. Each coin is
encapsulated and boxed with a sleeve and an individually numbered
certificate of authenticity.
Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the
Lipizzaner coin directly from the Austrian
Mint or from coin dealers worldwide. The issue price has not been announced.
Metals Exchange is an official distributor for the Austrian
Mint, as is Downies.
COIN WORLD COVERAGE OF OTHER RECENT AUSTRIAN COINS:
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tackles universe origins
Austria honors 25th
anniversary of the Berlin Wall's fall with new silver 20-euro coin