The Austrian Mint has released the first coin in a new series “Rome on the Danube”, which will commemorate the towns located in Austria along the River Danube that were established during the time of the Roman Empire. The first 20 Euro coin of the series features the city of Virunum.
The province of Noricum covered about two thirds of modern day Austria. It was taken over by the Romans under Emperor Cladius in about 15 BC in a peaceful occupation. Thirty years later, Emperor Claudius converted Noricum into a regular Roman province and established Virunum as its capital.
The obverse of the new 20 Euro silver coin feautres a profile portrait of Emperor Claudius with a Roman wagon drawn by a pair of horses in the background. This background image comes from a grave stone from Virunum, which is currently affixed to the wall of a church in neighboring Maria-Saal.
The reverse of the coin features an imaginary street scene from Virunum. In the foreground a blacksmith hammers Noric iron into swords for the Roman legions. The background shows a wagon dirving past the portico of a temple before the high walls and roof of a grand basilica.
First available on May 1, 2010, the coins will have a maximum mintage of 50,000. The coins have a composition of 90% silver and are struck in proof quality. Each coin has a diameter of 34 mm and contains 18 grams of silver.
The complete “Rome on the Danube” series will include six coins. The second coin of the series featuring “Vindonoa” or Vienna will be released in September.