The Austrian Mint is releasing a new series of innovative animal themed coins that, apart from having the Austrian Mint's usually high design standards, have an interesting feature – they glow in the dark.
Yes you read that right, glow in the dark coins. While this isn't exactly new anymore, several coins from the Royal Canadian Mint come to mind, it is a first for the Austrian Mint. The series appears to be aimed at enticing newer collectors into the hobby as well as fostering a greater sense of appreciation and conservation of the natural world.
The first coin in this new series, which is entitled the Colourful Creatures Series, is the bat. The reverse design features a single bat, which has been colour treated, in full flight with wings spread making for a rather impressive depiction of the nocturnal animal. The background is a more typical of the Austrian Mint's usual style, with finely detailed sculpted image of a rural village to the right and trees to the left. Above the main colourised bat are the silhouettes of two more bats and the full moon seemingly keeping watch over the midnight scene. The only inscriptions that appear on the reverse is the date of issue, “21016”, and the word “FLEDERMAUS”(German for Bat) at the very bottom.
A fairly attractive coin in it's own right, and the mint could easily have left things there and still have had a successful series on their hands. However, the really interesting thing comes when you turn off the lights and it becomes clear that the coin was partially treated with a phosphorescent compound to cause select parts of the design to glow in the dark. In this case the details on the colour treated bat, the two bat silhouettes and the moon all glow in the dark.
The obverse side has a more muted design in comparison, and although the mint has not specifically stated so I suspect that this will be the uniform obverse design for the entire series. The centre of the coin is taken up by silhouette images of the twelve animals that will make up the series. The obverse legend appears along the rim and reads “REPUBLIK OSTERREICH” and “3 EURO” with a paw print appearing to the far right.
While the Austrian mint is known for richly detailed coins with expertly sculpted designs, it is unusual to see a colour treated coin from them. There is naturally their series of silver and niobium coins but that is still the use of two types of precious metal to produce a coin is different colours. I stand to be corrected, bu I cant think of another colour treated coin ever coming from the Austrian mint. So a number of firsts here then, a colourised coin, the glow in the dark treatment and the first time that the Austrian Mint has issued a 3 Euro denominated coin series.
The series will only be available in a special uncirculated finish and is struck in cupro-nickel. Each of the 34mm coins will weigh 16grams. The mint plans to issue twelve coins in the series over the next three years at apace of one coin very three months. Each coin will feature a new animal and the completed series will include the turtle, lobster, otter, shark, crocodile, tiger, kingfisher, parrot, bat, owl, wolf and frog upon completion.
The bat coin can be ordered directly from the Austrian mint or contact your trusted international coin dealer to obtain the series for you. The coins look set to retail for around €9.90 each. In addition to the coin the mint is also making available a collectors album with additional details of every animal covered by the series. These can be ordered for €15.40 at the moment.