We don’t cover much in the way of base metal coins here, with usually just a little nod to a version of a silver coin, like those from the Royal Mint, but our love of a good dinosaur coin outweighs our apprehension. With sales of this coin series being pretty explosive, there’s clearly interest, so here we are, if a little late…
Supersaurs is the spiritual successor to the Austrian Mint’s hugely popular Colourful Animals set of 12 coins, and will follow exactly the same format – half-ounce of copper alloy utilising a common obverse and a coloured reverse face with a UV ink application. The very first coin we covered at AgAuNEWS was an Austrian Mint prehistoric themed coin, and the backgrounds to these issues have a very similar artistic style, if not to the same level of detail.
The colour on these is limited to the beastie, and incorporates glow-in-the-dark ink that highlights the edge of the animal. It’s a shame it isn’t a skeleton, but we have to remember these are uncirculated quality, sub-€13 base metal coins, and not some 2oz proof silver issue ten times more expensive. The third coin, depicting the pterasaur, Arambourgiania, a veritable giant, has just gone up for sale. Remarkably, and despite a huge 65,000 mintage, it’s already sold out, although we don’t doubt you can get one on the aftermarket easily enough.
Really nice designs, the Spinosaurus (recently revised in appearance again, following a new fossil tail find) and a Mosasaur have already sold out, with upcoming coins Ankylosaurus Magniventris and Tyrannosaurus Rex (2020), Therizinosaurus, Deinonychus, Styracosaurus and Argentinosaurus (2021), Microraptor, Pachycephalosaurus and Orthomimus (2022). An excellent book packed with information is available for under €20, although in German only. Good to see coins like this generating huge interest and bringing new collectors into the hobby, especially at the low price these are set at. People are much more liable to dip their toes into the water with something like this, than with a €300 silver masterpiece, no matter how good. The next coin is due on 9 September, with the T-Rex hitting on 4 November.
Widespread short-tailed flying reptiles that died out at the end of the Cretaceous period some 66 million years ago, Arambourgiania were enormous creatures. Researchers estimate that the largest species had a 3-metre-long neck, a 13-metre wingspan and stood 5 metres tall.
The earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight, pterosaurs are often referred to as “flying dinosaurs”. While that is not the case, they were more closely related to dinosaurs than to contemporary reptiles such as the crocodile.
The largest marine reptile, which hunted in the seas of the late Cretaceous period before dying out some 66 million years ago. Descended from land-dwelling monitor lizards, though equipped with flippers, Mosasaurus was a carnivorous sea-dwelling reptile found in Western Europe and North America, and possibly in Japan and New Zealand.
Mosasaurus means ‘Meuse lizard’, as the first specimen was found near the River Meuse in the Netherlands. The giant reptile comprised almost 40 different genera with numerous species, the largest known, M. hoffmanni, reaching lengths of up to 17 metres. Experts believe that Mosasaurus lived near the surface of the water, where it preyed on fish, turtles, birds, pterosaurs and plesiosaurs. Despite its ability to do so, it is believed that Mosasaurus did not dive into deeper waters.
The heyday of prehistoric reptiles began around 230 million years ago and they ruled the Earth for more than 160 million years. More than 1,000 different types of these extinct giants have already been found. The largest and most impressive animals to have ever lived, dinosaurs colonised all the continents and came in a huge variety of shapes and sizes.
WHEN A DINOSAUR IS NOT A DINOSAUR
Not every dinosaur is actually a dinosaur. In the Mesozoic period, what we commonly refer to as ‘dinosaurs’ took over virtually all types of habitat on the planet. Large marine dinosaurs crossed the seas. Horned, armour-plated and equipped with razor-sharp claws and teeth, terrestrial dinosaurs roamed the land, while flying dinosaurs with wing spans of over 10 metres dominated the skies. However, these three groups were not related to each other, developed independently and can be clearly differentiated from each other. Indeed, only the dominant vertebrates that lived on land during the Mesozoic period can actually be classed as dinosaurs. The animals that lived in the sea during the age of the dinosaurs were marine reptiles, not dinosaurs, and flying reptiles, such as the pterodactyl, are not considered dinosaurs either. However, as the majority of the Supersaurs that feature in our coin series and its Collector album are attributed to the dinosaur group, we allow ourselves to use the generic term ‘dinosaur’ even though they are not all scientifically classified as dinosaurs.
IN THE TRACKS OF THE SUPERSAURS
Since the discovery of the existence of the dinosaurs around 200 years ago, our concept of the prehistoric creatures has continued to evolve. Thanks to the work of prehistoric researchers, also known as palaeontologists, our knowledge of the world of dinosaurs has improved enormously. New information is constantly coming to light; for example, the discovery of feathered dinosaurs was a scientific sensation.
At 18 metres in length and weighing a whopping 9 tons, the Spinosaurus was the largest carnivore to have ever walked the Earth, even outranking that most iconic of prehistoric predators, the Tyrannosaurus rex. Meaning ‘spine lizard’, Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus lived some 100 million years ago in what is now known as North Africa, where Spinosaurus remains were discovered for the first time in Egypt in 1912.
The head and jaws of the dinosaur were long and narrow, not unlike those of the contemporary crocodile, and like that semiaquatic reptile, the Spinosaurus is thought to have been at home both on land and in water, and to have existed on a diet of both land and marine animals. One major difference between the Spinosaurus and the contemporary crocodile, other than size, was the presence of distinctive 1.65-metre long spines on the dinosaur’s back. There is some debate about whether they were covered in fat and formed a hump or were joined by skin and formed a sail-like protrusion, not to mention the actual function of the appendage, be it temperature control or simply display.
Obverse and album
Which dinosaur was the most sophisticated predator? Which had the longest claws, the most powerful bite, the strongest armour. Which was the most intelligent, the smallest, the most dangerous, the most unusual? The special characteristics of the prehistoric creatures featured make them all fascinating.
The Collector album includes lots of lifelike yet imaginative illustrations as well as fascinating information about the super talents of the dinosaurs featured. Packed with huge personalities and crazy characters, the album is the perfect way for dinosaur fans of all ages to get up close and personal with their extinct friends.
The coin features all 12 of the extreme prehistoric animals in the Supersaurs series in silhouette on its obverse.
|DENOMINATION||€3 Euro (Austria)|
|COMPOSITION||Copper alloy (CuNi25)|
|MODIFICATIONS||Colour and glow-in-the-dark|
|MINTAGE||65,000 per design|
|BOX / C.O.A.||Optional book / No|
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