The Austrian Mint has released its latest annual Easter-themed coin, originally launched in 2002. This year’s motif selected for Easter is the hard-working and invaluable honeybee. Vital to the planet’s eco-system, these flying insects not only provide needed pollination of foods and crops, but they are also among the most important and prolific pollinators. Their work is literally worth its weight in gold. Bees also aid in the cultivation of flowers and, of course, produce the coveted sweet golden nectar known to us all as honey. The world of the honey bee came to the attention of a prominent Austrian personality whose unusual behaviour, to his mind, deserved some attention and explanation. In the early 20th century, the curious behaviour of honeybees piqued the interest of Karl von Frisch (1886–1982) from Vienna, who would become an eminent behavioural scientist of his day. He was intrigued by how the insects sometimes move in circles and perform a figure-of-eight “wiggle dance.” Over time, von Frisch discovered this behaviour wasn’t just some kind of mating ritual but in fact, bees are communicating, using this dance language to the other members of their hive to show them where they can find pollen and nectar. Von Frisch hypothesised the specific “round dance,” in which bees move in a circle, turn around, then follow the same circle path in the opposite direction, communicates to other bees that there are flowers with pollen in the immediate vicinity of the hive. When the food source is further away, the wiggle dance tells the watching bees how far it is and in which direction they can find it. Although originally disputed by other scientists, von Frisch’s theory and years of study eventually earned him the Nobel Prize in 1973.
Designed by Helmut Andexlinger, Herbert Wähner, and Rebecca Wilding, the obverse side of these nine-sided coins, minted both in silver and copper, depicts a representation of the wiggle dance performed by a single honey bee. Behind a bee in flight and above is a decorative honeycomb design. To the right is a stylised representation of a honeybee and hive. Below the primary design is the year of minting, 2023. The coin’s reverse shows the coats of arms of all nine of the provinces of Austria, along with the denomination of 5 EURO with the numeral centred.
|8.9 g||28.5 mm||Uncirculated||
|7.7 g||28.5 mm||Brilliant Unc.||
Available from the 8th March, each selected Uncirculated silver coin is presented in a blister-type folder with illustrations and text describing the coin’s motif. The Uncirculated copper coins are sold without packaging and are available for their face value. For more details, please visit the website of the Austrian Mint here for the silver coin or here for the copper coin.
Also available is a gift set that includes a special blend and label of honey which has direct connections to the Austrian Mint. Almost 100,000 bees live in their own colony behind the site of the mint’s historic headquarters on Heumarkt, central Vienna, and their number is growing all the time. From there, the honeybees take advantage of all the fantastic flowers and plants in the surrounding parks and gardens, such as the Stadtpark, just across the street. The mint’s bees, known as Carinthian bees, are a naturally evolved sub-species of the western honeybee (Apis mellifera). Simply called “carnica” by beekeepers, they are considered docile and very productive. As such, the mint’s bees produce substantial quantities of honey, which is known as “liquid gold from Heumarkt” that is cultivated, prepared, and packed at Gernot Gangl’s apiary in the leafy outskirts of Vienna. The Austrian Mint’s own label of honey is available (only for customers in Austria) both in 1.6-ounce(50 g) and 8-ounce (250 g) jars here.