The Lindworm of Klagenfurt

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May 12, 2011 – On May 4, 2011 the Austrian Mint issued the fifth silver coin in the series “Tales and Legends in Austria”. The new coin recounts the legend of the Lindworm of Klagenfurt, which used to hinder trade in the Klagenfurt area of Carinthia in southern Austria.

Austria. 10 Euro – 925 AR – 32 mm – 17,3 g – Austrian Mint – Design: Th. Pesendorfer / H. Andexlinger – special uncirculated: 30.000 – proof: 40.000.

The obverse of the coin depicts the Lindworm fountain and the statue of Hercules in the central square of the “Neuer Platz” in Klagenfurt. The Hercules statue represents the strength of the men who slew the Lindworm. To the left of the Lindworm fountain in the background are two towers, which are located on the provincial administration building of the province of Carinthia. In between the fountain and the Hercules statue is another tower, which is part of a hotel located on this square. The country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich” Republic of Austria, is located in a semi-circle in the upper left quadrant and the face value of 10 euros is in the lower half integrated into the base of the fountain. The scroll above the design has the words “Lindwurm” or Lindworm located in it. The mint’s chief engraver Thomas Pesendorfer designed this side of the coin.

The reverse of the coin depicts the capture of the Lindworm. On the left hand side is the tower built to capture the Lindworm. Behind the solid stonewall two men protect themselves, while through the small window a heavy chain is stretched and the hooked barb is entangled in the mouth of the angry Lindworm. Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger designed the reverse.

The Lindworm fountain in Klagenfurt. Photo: Franzfoto / Wikipedia.

During the middle ages, in a scruffy dark wooded and somewhat swampy area in the region of Carinthia, lived a Lindworm (a small dragon with tiny wings.) The dragon used to terrorize the region as it searched for food. Cattle and sheep would mysteriously disappear. A curious young herder went looking for his missing cow in the woods and was never seen again. The fear of the villagers grew to such a level that trade was seriously hindered, as the story of the sinister Lindworm spread throughout the land.

This frustrated and angered the Duke of the region and so he offered a handsome reward to anyone who could capture the Lindworm. On the edge of the swampy area he had a large round tower built of stone. To whoever killed the Lindworm the Duke offered that they would receive the tower, all the surrounding land, and become a free person, regardless of their station in life (even a serf was eligible).

A courageous group of men came forward and decided they would try this daring feat. They brought with them an enormous steer and a heavy chain. They tied the steer to a chain. They then suspended the steer with the chain to the tower. From this chain there also huge a huge barbed hook that the village blacksmith had made for them. When the steer was suspended its angry mooing and grunts were heard far and wide. Meanwhile the clever chaps stayed inside the tower and could watch in all directions looking for the Lindworm to appear from the swamp. Soon the Lindworm appeared from the steamy foggy swampy area. The friends in the tower were almost overcome with fear, as the terrifying Lindworm got closer. The sight of the Lindworm was unbelievable, covered with scales and a long tail, with protruding dark glazed eyes and flaring nostrils that blew black steam. The Lindworm attacked the steer with its massive jaws and bit away a part of its hind end. It swung around with lightening speed and opened its huge mouth and bit down hard on the head area of the steer. A horrifying howl emanated from its jaws because the barbed hook sank deep into the tender jaw and head of the Lindworm. Its tail swished back and forth slinging the drooling slime from its jaw up into the sky. The group of friends barely recovered from their fright and knew that they had to react fast before the Lindworm could free itself from the hook. So they climbed out over the top edge of the tower and clubbed the Lindworm to death with their iron clubs.

The Duke was relieved and very happy and in celebration he even had a fortress built for the courageous men on their new property. It was not long until trade was restored. The new proud landowners saw a small village blossom on the ground where the Lindworm made its last stand. The happy villagers helped to drain the land and rid the area of the scruffy bush and soon farmers were tilling the fruitful area. The village flourished and continued to grow because of the successful trade and the bounty of the land, and so the village of Klagenfurt came to be. The memory of the Lindworm lives on today with the fountain in the center of the city, in the “Neuer Platz” and in the city’s coat of arms that has the Lindworm integrated into it.

The 10 euro silver coin is struck in 925 fine, or sterling silver, and is available in either of two finishes: proof with a maximum mintage of 40,000 pieces, or in special uncirculated finish, with a maximum mintage of 30,000 coins. The proof version comes in an attractive box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The special uncirculated coin is sold in a colorful and informative bilingual (German and English) blister pack.

A collector album resembling a “classic” book of tales is also available for separate purchase. It is designed to accommodate the complete “Legends and Tales of Austria” series. The interior of the album will hold all six proof coins in capsules on the right side and the certificates of authenticity as well as the promotional brochure on the left.

The series, “Tales and Legends in Austria”, will the final coin of the series in October of this year remembering the song of “ Der Liebe Augustin” or Dear Augustin.

The Austrian Mint you will find here.

Lindworm and modern art – another way of looking at the little dragon you will spot here.