The Kremnica Mint have issued the first silver collectors coins for the Republic of Slovakia for 2017. The coins form part of the UNESCO World Heritage collection and represent the Caves of the Slovak Karst.
The Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst were inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1995, and was subsequently expanded in 2000 to include the Dobšinská Ice Cave situated in the Slovenský Raj(Slovak Paradise) National Park.
In total there are 712 caves across 138 000 acres(55 800ha) mainly situated along the border between Hungary and Slovakia. Some of the more renowned caves in the Slovak Karst include the Domica Cave famous for it's flowstone formations, the Ochtinská Aragonite Cave and the Gombasecká Cave that shelters unique straw stalactites that reach three meters(almost 10 ft) long.
The obverse of the coin features mix of elements that are distinctive to different caves. These include stalagmites from Domica Cave, vertical stalactites and straw stalagmites from Gombasecká Cave. The re is also a aragonite formation from Ochtinská Aragonite Cave depicted to the lower right. To the background the artist chose to symbolise the value and grandeur of the Slovak Karst caves, with concealed pointed arches typical of gothic cathedrals. To the far right is the denomination of “10 EURO”, with the coat of arms of the Republic of Slovakia just below. Finally the country and date of issue are noted in two lines at the bottom : “SLOVENSKO” and “2017”.
The reverse of this commemorative coin features the dripstone formation from the Krásnohorská Cave, in addition to several animals species endemic to the Slovak Karst caves. These are include a springtail, the freshwater niphargus to the left and a bat in flight to the right. The coin's legend is inscribed in two lines along the top rim and reads : “JASKYNE SLOVENSKÉHO KRASU” (SLOVAK KARST CAVES) as well as “SVETOVÉ PRÍRODNÉ DEDIČSTVO” (WORLD NATURAL HERITAGE). The mintmark of the Kremnica Mint and the artists initials appear to the bottom right.
The design for the coin was chosen as a part of a public design competition first announced by the National Bank of Slovakia in January 2016. In total seventeen designs were submitted for final consideration by the Committee for the Assessment of Commemorative and Collector Coin Designs. The final design chosen was submitted by artist Branislav Ronai who has been responsible for the designs of several coins from Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The coin is struck from .900 fineness silver and tips the scales at 18gram(0.634 oz). The coin is available in both proof and brilliant uncirculated finishes and measures 34mm(1.33 inch) in diameter.
Coins are available to order directly from the Kremnica Mint website. The proof coin has a total mintage figure of 5700 coins and is currently selling for around €35.00(US$37). The brilliant uncirculated coin in turn has a mintage of 3100 coins and a price of €22.00(US$23.50) each. The uncirculated coin is shipped encapsulated while the proof coin arrives in a blue clamshell presentation box.
A €100 gold coin, also designed to celebrate the Caves of Slovak Karst, is expected to be released around November of 2017. World Numismatic News will be sure to keep you informed as soon more details are revealed.