The Austrian Mint has released its final coin, which is part of an ongoing five-coin series entitled “Eyes of the World.” The focal point or theme features an animal from every inhabited continent with a special characteristic for which it was praised in the myths of previous cultures. The last coin highlights the Americas — and the healing power of the bear. For the indigenous peoples of North America, a bear was not just a bear, and humans were merely one type of being among other beings. The bear also possessed a soul and was considered a supernatural being that was viewed with a mixture of awe and fear. According to Native American mythology, great strength and healing powers were attributed to the bear. In some legends, bears steered humans in search of medicine to particular herbs and plants. There are even popular stories in which bears change their shape to live unrecognised among humans. From brown bears, to polar bears in the extreme arctic regions of North America, to the Andean bear in the northern half of South America, these exceptional creatures have held an extraordinary place in the folklore of many peoples and cultures for thousands of years. To many of these people, they are to be treasured, protected, and revered.
Designed by Austrian Mint artisans Helmut Andexlinger and Anna Rastl, the 2023-dated coin’s obverse depicts a snarling bear standing upright against a forest background. The bear’s image is framed by an ornament reminiscent of Native American beaded handicrafts, which also incorporates the text REPUBLIK OSTERREICH. To the left of the bear is the denomination 20 EURO and below, the year of issue, 2023. The reverse features a stylised bear head in close-up looking directly at the viewer through emerald-green eyes made of crystals by Swarovski. The calmness, self-assurance, and imposing presence are highlighted in the gaze of the bear and crystals.
|22.4 g||34 mm||Proof||
Available from the 18th January, each Proof-quality silver coin is encapsulated and presented in a heavy-gauge card case complete with a numbered certificate of authenticity and protective slipcase. For additional information, please click here.