It was two years ago back in October 2013 that the Austrian Mint, launched a new six-year series of ½oz gold coins entitled ‘Wildlife in our Sights’. The first coin depicted the magnificent Red Deer, one that went on to win last years Most Artistic Coin at the Coin of the Year awards. The 2014 coin, pictured further down, featured the maniac Wild Boar. Each depicts an animal of the region and benefit greatly from the fact that most Euro coins have unique artwork on both the obverse and reverse faces. The Austrian Mint has certainly taken full advantage of this, with both faces being unique pieces rather than one side carrying national symbolism.

This series keeps up the beautifully detailed artwork and remains free of superfluous inscriptions, carrying just the date, issuer and denomination on one side; the bare minimum in fact. This new 2015 coin takes the Capercaillie as its subject, and despite it looking like a glorified turkey, the mints star designer team of Thomas Pesendorfer and Mag. Helmut Andexlinger have done another fantastic job. The level of detail struck into this coin belies its diameter of just 30mm, especially on the inscription side.

Collectors of this series should not be disappointed by this coin at all and we can picture this being a superb set when completed. Priced at €645.00, it’s obviously not for everybody, but those that can afford and like nature coins will be wise to check these out. As usual, the coin ships in one of the small and neat red boxes that the Austrian Mint has standardised on, but an elegant wooden collectors box is also available for the whole set, but it is a relatively hefty €90. Available now.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The largest member of the grouse family, the capercaillie is known for its spectacular courtship display during the mating season. Containing half an ounce of gold and minted to the very highest standards in Proof quality only, the third coin in the Austrian Mint’s Wildlife in our Sights series is equally spectacular.

Less widespread than the other animals in the series, the capercaillie lives in coniferous, mixed and deciduous woodland where it spends the night roosting in trees. The habitat of the capercaillie is disappearing and this most striking of birds is now extinct in a number of European countries. Austria is, however, one of the last countries where the capercaillie, though rare, still exists in relatively large numbers.

The coin’s obverse shows the bird in its natural habitat, with its head held high and fan-like tail upright, performing its long and distinctive mating call. The male’s increased testosterone levels mean that it can be particularly aggressive during the mating season, but the coin’s reverse shows this large bird’s softer side as it nestles alongside its much smaller mate. The upland woodland in which the capercaillie dwells is represented in the shape of conifers and a rocky outcrop.

Below left is the standard coin packaging and the optional collection box. The other images are both sides of the 2014 coin.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
€100 EURO 0.986 GOLD 16.23 g 30.00 mm PROOF 30,000 YES / YES
AUSTRIAN MINT