The Mint of Austria have made available (22nd February) the latest coin in their series of base-metal strikes that highlights some of man’s most familiar animals, either by reputation or by interaction between themselves and humans. The first coin in the “Colourful Creatures” series depicted the “fledermaus” (or bat; these coins are sold out but can be picked up from third-party retailers, including on ebay—some links are shown below the specifications table). This second coin in the features the tiger. Known for their ferociousness, tigers are admired around the world for their sheer beauty and feared by man due to their deadly encounters. The habitat of the tiger at one time included territory from the Caucasus to Siberia and everywhere in between; today, they can be found in other parts of Asia from India to Indonesia. It is often believed that tigers once inhabited parts of Africa indigenously, but this is incorrect, as they have never lived in the wild on that continent.
For many years, little was known about the life of the tiger, since they are somewhat solitary creatures. It was only recently discovered that tigers not only can swim but seem very adept in the water. Hidden wildlife cameras have caught them enjoying a dip in the lake or even swamp. In the wild, tigers are also one of the more diverse in terms of sub-species and size. The species includes the Siberian and Bengal sub-species, with the now-extinct Caspian tiger having been the largest in overall size. Their markings can range from the very rare white coat to black, but ordinarily, they are marked with brown, white, and black stripes against a reddish-brown-coloured fur. In the wild, the tiger has no known predator with the exception of man, who continues to hunt many of the communities of tigers almost to the brink of extinction. In Asia, mostly in China and Vietnam, the tiger is hunted for the harvesting of their body parts in the production of certain medicinal potions that are believed in the West to be wholly ineffective. Tigers, like all feline creatures, are especially adept to a nocturnal existence; with intensely sensitive eyes, they can easily navigate their way in total darkness and it is believed they prefer the dark to daylight.
Designed by Anna Rastl, the obverse depicts a seated tiger, which is enhanced in full colour against a background of its natural habitat, with a lake or body of water to its right, emphasising their affinity for water. The tropical plants also suggest the locations where tigers are to be found, as does a python peering over the shoulder of the tiger from a branch hanging over the lake. The word TIGER is superimposed over the body of water with the year of issue, 2017, placed just below the animal. To highlight the life of the tiger in the dark, the design incorporates elements of glow-in-the-dark properties which further enhance the tiger’s stripes.
The reverse incorporates all 12 animals that will be included in this series, encircled by the legend REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH and denomination 3 EURO.
|€3||Cupro-nickel||16 g||34 mm||Select BU with applied colour||50,000|
When completed, the series will consist of 12 coins, with one issued each quarter over a three-year period (four per year in 2017 and 2018, and the final three in 2019). The base-metal series is aimed at a younger collector, but the Austrian Mint expects animal lovers to of all ages to gravitate to this series, and in fact, the Tiger coins have already sold out from the mint’s retail sales department. The coins can be ordered from third-party vendors, including Coin Update sponsor APMEX. (As of February 22, they’re listed as unavailable on the APMEX website, but a customer-service rep confirmed that their shipment will be arriving soon.)
For more information on this and other coins offered by the Austrian Mint, please visit their website. An album to house all 12 coins is also available. The schedule of issue for the rest of the series is as follows: in 2017, the Crocodile, Kingfisher, and Wolf coins; in 2018, the Parrot, Shark, Owl, and Frog coins; and in 2019, the Turtle, Otter, and Crayfish coins.