World Coins

Austrian Mint’s 2015 niobium coin tackles universe, its origins

The universe and its origins are the subject of the Austrian Mint’s 2015 ringed-bimetallic silver-niobium €25 coin.

Images courtesy of the Austrian Mint.

For its 2015 ringed-bimetallic niobium and silver coin, the Austrian Mint tackles the largest topic possible — the universe.

Cosmology, or the science of the origin and development of the universe, is the subject for the forthcoming Special Uncirculated €25 coin, which is set to be released Jan. 21.

For the second year in a row, the annual silver-ringed and niobium-centered coin will feature two colors. Blue and gold, created through the refraction of light on an extremely thin, transparent oxide layer on the niobium portion of the coin, accent the Cosmology coin.

Cosmology atempts to connect all the parts of the universe as a whole, and follow the evolution of it from beginning to end.

The obverse illustrates the all-encompassing field of cosmology, i.e. the whole galaxy: planets, stars, satellites, deep space and everything therein. 

This side of the coin also bears the country of issue REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH (Republic of Austria), the face value of 25 euros and the year of issue 2015.

The reverse of the coin features the “European Extremely Large Telescope” or E-ELT that is scheduled for completion in 2022. This will be the largest telescope ever, anywhere in the world, and will feature a 39 meter (almost 130 foot) mirror at its base. 

It will be four times as large as the largest telescope currently in use. The details of the telescope on the coin overlap from the outer silver ring into the blue niobium core.  Some of the planets known to us such as Jupiter are detailed in the design. A view of the earth focused on Europe is also detailed on the coin.

Both sides of this coin were designed and engraved by Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger.  

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, while also looking at the formation and demise of stars, planetary systems and planets. It is planned to be located in the Amazonas region of the Atacama Desert at an altitude of 3,000 metres, or almost 10,000 feet. 

Its very large mirror will capture more than 15 times more light than the previous largest telescopes, which will allow for the imaging of rocky structures or exoplanets as well as their atmospheres. Construction of the E-ELT began early in 2014 and is estimated to cost more than €1 billion (about $1.24 billion U.S. dollars).

The silver-niobium coin contains nine grams of .900 fine silver in the outer ring and 6.5 grams of .998 fine niobium in the center. Its diameter is 34 millimeters and it is limited to a maximum mintage of 65,000 pieces.

Each coin is encapsulated, boxed and accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity.

The price is not yet announced.

Collectors may purchase the Cosmology coin directly from the Austrian Mint via its website.

Two distributors in the United States will also stock the coin. 

To order from American Precious Metals Exchange, telephone the firm toll free at 1-800-375-9006, or visit it online.

To order from Downies, telephone it toll free at 1-877-897-7696 or visit its website.

This is the 13th issue in the series of silver-niobium coins, which began in 2003. All of the issues from 2003 to 2010 have sold out their mintages, but 2011 to present coins remain available from the Austrian Mint and may be available from distributors. 

Previous issues in the series are detailed at a dedicated page on the Austrian Mint’s website.

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