World Coins

Austria’s annual niobium issue celebrates soil

Austria’s 2024 issue in the long-running ringed-bimetallic silver and niobium coin series honors the edaphon, or living soil.

Images courtesy of the Royal Scandinavian Mint.

Austria’s annual niobium and silver coin series, which debuted in 2003, continues in 2024 with a €25 celebrating the edaphon, or living soil.

This coin series offers a ringed bimetallic issue, with coins composed of a colored niobium core surrounded by a ring of silver. These coins are dedicated to topics related to science and research.

The color of the niobium core is not applied but is created by precisely controlled oxidation, generating oxide layers a few nanometers thick on the surface. This technique is called “anodic oxidation.”

The 2024 coin ingeniously illustrates the vibrant world of the soil that forms the foundation of our existence. Healthy soil is a key to the planet’s future.

The obverse of the edaphon coin, by Helmut Andexlinger, shows the five factors that contribute to the development of soil: time, mineral material, climate, soil organisms (displayed in the niobium core) and the relief of the landscape (shown on the outer silver ring).

The center shows the roots of a plant, its leaves protruding into the silver ring.

The coin’s reverse design, by Herbert Wähner, in the silver outer ring features a mole at the top, an earthworm on the left, a snail at the bottom and an ant at the right.

The niobium core shows a leaf near the top and three other important soil organisms below: a fungal mycelium at left, a beetle at lower right and an earthworm above it.

Specifications, pricing

The Brilliant Uncirculated coin weighs 7.15 grams and measures 34 millimeters in diameter. It comes in a case complete with a numbered certificate of authenticity and protective slipcase. It has a mintage limit of 65,000, which distributor Royal Scandinavian Mint offers for $82.50 each. To order or learn more, visit

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