The annual trip to Niobiumland by the Austrian Mint is here again and for 2020 it’s a timely look at the world of surveillance, with ‘Big Data’. As with all of the coins in this series, it’s a clever take on the subject and a cool implementation. Nothing says ‘Big Brother’ more than the all-seeing eye, once an iconic symbol of the Freemasons, but now repurposed for the digital age, one the likes of George Orwell barely scratched the surface of.
The obverse features a group of people being watched by a digital camera, their every move catalogued for future recall. Both of these images are confined to the signature feature of the coins in this range – the central niobium pill. Niobium can hold colour through a process called ‘anodized oxidation’, so what you’re seeing isn’t a colour application done after the strike. The Austrian Mint was the first to employ the innovative technique, moving from the use of a single colour to two colours in 2014. They’re still one of the only mints to employ it.
The outer ring of the coin is formed in nine grams of 0.900 silver and carries a design that complements the niobium section, giving it some context – a camera lens on the reverse and a video camera on the obverse. All told, we think this is a fine entrant in the series. although outdone by a couple of other recent issues, particularly 2019’s superb Artificial Intelligence.
Now eighteen coins old, Niobium Series remains popular despite the healthy 65,000 mintage and it’s easy to see why. A unique look and a distinctive style have led to it picking up multiple awards since 2003. We see no reason that popularity shouldn’t continue based on this outing. You can read more and see more in our Coin Series Profile to the range, to which this one has been added. It’s an older guide, so we’re looking to revise it shortly. The coin is available now for €76.80 and has a 3 pieces per order limit.