Mint of Austria: Silver Coin Land of the Forests

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June 16, 2011 – June 15, 2011 the Austrian Mint issues the next 5-euro silver coin in honor of the 2011 United Nations Declaration, the “Year of the Forests.”

Austria – 5 Euro “Land of the Forests” – 8 g – 28,5 mm – 800 Ag – Designer: Helmut Andexlinger – Mintage: 50.000 “special uncirculated” – Austrian Mint.

The obverse of the coin features a forest scene including both the flora and fauna of the woods and is dominated by a large red buck deer in the center of the design. To the left is a pheasant and in the foreground one can note a badger – all animals commonly found in Austria’s extensive forests. The animals are depicted in a clearing along a river’s edge that is reminiscent of the Danube’s river edge. The design offers beautiful perspective by incorporating elements both near and far. The forest depiction consists of deciduous trees, meadow flowers, and mushrooms commonly found in Austria. This side of the coin also has the words “Land der Waelder” (Land of Forests) engraved at the top of the design and the year of issue, 2011. Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger created the design.
The obverse of the nine-sided coin is the standard 5-euro design, with the denomination encircled by the shields of the nine federal provinces of Austria. In the center is the face value of 5 euros.

The United Nations declared 2011 the International Year of the Forest, “to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.”  Forests are the lungs of the world, clearing out carbon dioxide and replenishing oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Forests also are a key factor contributing to the weather cycle and reducing soil erosion, while providing shelter to many animals and birds. In addition, of course, there are all the economic benefits that are generated by forests.

As stated by the UN, “Forests are an issue with essential links to livelihoods, addressing climate change and other environmental challenges… forests represent many things to many people including spiritual, aesthetic and cultural dimensions that are, in many ways, priceless. But they are also cornerstones of our economies, whose real value has all too often been invisible in national accounts of profit and loss.”

Forests are endangered as humans continue to clear cut large swaths of land for modern development. The UN’s official year of the Forests is an initiative to make us all ecologically sensitive citizens preserving, maintaining and managing the forest for the social and economic benefit of humankind for centuries to come. The FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, puts it very precisely: “forest management encompasses the administrative, legal, technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the conservation and use of forests. It implies various degrees of deliberate human intervention, ranging from actions aimed at safeguarding and maintaining the forest ecosystem and its functions, to favoring specific socially or economically valuable species or groups of species for the improved production of goods and services.”

The 5-euro face value coin has a diameter of 28.5 mm, contains 8 grams of fine silver and has a fineness of 800.

The coin is available only in special uncirculated quality and will have a maximum mintage of 50,000. Each of these coins is vacuum-sealed in a colourful and informative blister pack, with bilingual text in English and German. The blister pack comes with a sleeve that may be personalized with a greeting when presenting this coin as a gift. The sleeve is a beige colour to reflect the wood of the forests and has the words “Ein Stueck Oesterreich,” a piece of Austria, printed on it.

The 350,000 pieces normally struck by the Austrian Mint for circulation in Austria will not be issued in 2011 because of the high silver price. Therefore, very high demand is anticipated for this coin.

If you want to visit the Austrian Mint, click here.