The Austrian Mint will issue today (14th March) a new 20 euro silver coin celebrating word-renowned artist Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918). The coin is Austria’s contribution to the European Union’s collaborative EUROPA silver star coin program, in which 14 countries are participating this year. The common theme chosen for the European silver program is “European Artists.”
The obverse of the coin is a careful reproduction of one of the many existing photographs of Egon Schiele. This particular portrait of Schiele, taken by photographer Anton Tricka in 1914 was selected by Helmut Andexlinger, the mint engraver who worked on this side of the coin. In the background in the upper left half of the coin is a reproduction of a chalk drawing drawn by Schiele in 1918 known as “The Croucher.” The lower relief used here seems to make the Croucher a bit more of a distant image of the lady as from the imagination of Schiele, which is very appropriate giving Schiele’s career of working with so many female models. The font style selected for this side was very much in keeping with the period. The obverse side of the coin also bears of the privy mark of the European silver star program, under the year of issue 2012. The text “REPUBLIK OESTERREICH” (Republic of Austria) and the face value of 20 euros can be seen to the left of the primary design.
The reverse design depicts Schiele’s world famous painting titled “Portrait of Wally,” completed in 1912, one hundred years ago. Wally’s full name was Walerie or Valerie Neuzil. Her larger than normal eyes and smiling lips are carefully captured by Mint engraver Thomas Pesendorfer. The abstract forms behind her head resemble a halo indicative of just how important Wally was to Schiele. To the left side of the primary design, the engraver has painstakingly reproduced the signature of Egon Schiele and the date of the painting, 1912. On the right side is a portion of several leaves of a plant depicted in an expressionist form.
The coin is struck in .900 fine silver with a weight of 18 grams and a diameter of 34 mm. The maximum mintage of this proof coin is 50,000 pieces. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in a presentation box with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.
For more information on this and other coins offered by the Austrian Mint, please visit their website at: https://www.muenzeoesterreich.at/Menu/Sammeln