The Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT), in association with the Real Casa de la Moneda, have issued (18th April) the second series in the current Europa Star programme, which is entitled “Ages of Europe—Iron and Glass.” The Europa Star coin program is an ongoing annual initiative that was begun in 2004. The program is dedicated to the issuance of collector-oriented legal-tender coins in precious metals to celebrate European identity. The issuing authorities of EU member countries voluntarily contribute coins to the Europa coin program. Last year, the Europa programme launched a five-year-long series that focuses on various ages or noteworthy eras within Europe. The theme for last year’s series was “The Modern 20th Century.”
The Spanish gold and silver examples share the same reverse designs, collectively depicting the following:
- A portrait of poet Rosalía de Castro (1837–1885), an important figure of the Galician romantic movement. She is considered the most outstanding modern writer in the Galician language, with work of both regional and universal significance. In 1958 Castro was married to the historian Manuel Murguía (1833–1923), himself a champion of the Galician renaissance. Although Castro was the author of a number of novels, she is best known for her poetry, contained in Cantares Gallegos (Galician Songs), 1863, and Follas Novas (New Medleys), 1880, both written in her native Galician. Her 1884 work En las orillas del Sar (Beside the River Sar) was written in Castilian. Castro was portrayed for the first time on Spanish currency in 1979, when her image was included on the 500-peseta banknote.
- The Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), a beautiful glass structure situated in the heart of Retiro Park in Madrid. It was built in 1887 by the Spanish architect Ricardo Velasquez Bosco (1843–1923) and was primarily designed to display a beautiful collection of tropical plants from the Philippine islands, which at that time was still a Spanish colony. The Palacio de Cristal was inspired by Sir Joseph Paxton, an English gardener and the architect who designed London’s Crystal Palace as well as the Palm House in Kew Gardens. Ricardo Velasquez took just five months to design and construct his project, which is considered one of the finest examples of iron-and-glass architecture in Spain.
- An image of the first locomotive in service in the Iberian Peninsula. Built by the Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima, the first steam locomotive was put into service in 1848 with the construction of a railway line between Barcelona and Mataró. In 1852, Spain’s first narrow-gauge line was built, and by in 1863, the line reached the Portuguese border.
The common obverse design for the second Europa series is the work of artisans from the Monnaie de Paris and features a large, off-centre star in the background. In the case of the Spanish example, a profile portrait of HM King Felipe VI is centred along with his legend, which is placed around his portrait. The text EDAD DE HIERRO Y CRISTAL (Age of Iron and Glass) is placed along the border and above the king’s legend. The actual Europa Star logo is prominently featured on the obverse side, just under the king’s portrait.
|€10||.925 silver||27 g||40 mm||Proof with applied colour||7,500|
|€200||.999 gold||13.5 g||30 mm||Proof||2,500|
This year, nine countries have already confirmed their participation in the second issue of the five-year joint program “Ages of Europe”: Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain. The Spanish coins are referred to in their traditional Spanish denominations of 8 reales (silver) and 4 escudos (gold), and are available separately or as a set of two coins. Please visit the website of the Real Casa de la Moneda for additional information on these and other coins offered by the mint. ❑