The latest design for a gold coin series from Austria honoring
artist Gustav Klimt reveals much about Klimt’s famous fascination with females.
It’s also a bit revealing in another sense.
The obverse of the 2014 gold €50 coin depicts a portion of Klimt’s
early painting Nuda Veritas (or “Naked Truth”). The reverse shows the
upper section of a painting simply known as Judith II.
The new .986 fine coin, which becomes available Feb. 19, is the
third in a five-year series honoring the famous Austrian artist.
Several of Klimt’s works have commanded record prices in the art
market over the past decade.
Each coin in the series includes a letter of Klimt’s last name on
the reverse, and so this, the third coin, shows I, the third letter.
Nuda Veritas, on the obverse of the coin, was completed in 1899.
In the portion seen on the coin, flowing locks of hair frame the
woman’s face and cover her torso. She holds a mirror in her right hand.
Scrolls and flowers fill the background, with the nation’s name in
German and the denomination complementing the scene, in a design
engraved by Mint engraver Herbert Waehner.
According to the Austrian Mint, Klimt based this painting on a
quote by German philosopher Friedrich Schiller, where Schiller
suggested that good art should please only a few.
The reverse depicts Judith II (Salome), a painting based on the
story of Judith, who seduced Nebuchadnezzar’s general, Holofernes, who
was eventually beheaded.
Klimt shows women as the savior of Israelites through this
painting, “as Judith used her charms and feminine ways to distract and
kill the invading Holofernes,” according to the Austrian Mint.
Klimt muse Adele Bloch Bauer was the model for the painting; the
design on the coin was engraved by Helmut Andexlinger.
The coin weighs 10.13 grams, measures 22 millimeters in diameter
and has a mintage limit of 30,000 pieces.
Each coin is packed in a box with a numbered certificate of
authenticity. A wooden collection case for the whole series may be
The final two coins of the series are Hygieia for 2015, from the
faculty painting Medicine, and in 2016, The Kiss.
Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the 2014
coin for $895 U.S., from Downies. Telephone the firm toll free at
1-877-897-7696, or visit its website, www.downies.com.