The Central Bank of Ireland have unveiled their design for the Europa Star coin series—a multinational program of collector coins issued within the European Union (though not necessarily within the Eurozone). Ireland’s contribution for 2016 honors architect and designer Eileen Gray (1878–1976). Born in Enniscorthy, the second-largest town in County Wexford, Ireland, Gray is considered by many in the world of art as a true visionary. She lived the majority of her life in France and became a preeminent figure within the Modernist art movement, in which she was initially acclaimed for her work with lacquer. Her notable later works include E.1027, a modernist villa she designed and built from 1926 to 1929 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. Her futuristic armchair “Fauteuil aux dragons,” a design structured out of wood and containing two dragon’s heads carved in the armrests, sold at auction in 2009 for an astounding €22 million. Gray’s designs were often praised for their functionality in addition to their aesthetic form. She lived to see a resurgence of interest in her work in the 1970s, and her famous “Brick Screen” has become an icon of modernist design.
The obverse of the silver Proof coin was designed by Sandra Deiana. The coin depicts Gray in profile placed on the right side and facing to the left in front of a representation of the Brick Screen, an elaborate masterpiece of hand craftsmanship in lacquer and wood designed by Gray between 1922 and 1925. The screen cleverly incorporates the coin’s denomination, 10 EURO; the text EILEEN GRAY appears at its left in both vertical and horizontal directions.
The reverse incorporates Ireland’s national symbol, the Harp, into the Europa common reverse design. Created for the 2016 series by artisans from the Monnaie de Paris, the common reverse features a large, off-center star in the background. The Europa star logo appears below the Harp, with “éire” and the date, 2016, to the right.
|10 €uro||.925 silver||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Proof||6,000|
The 2016-series €10 silver Proof coin is the first in a new five-year Europa Star silver coin program commemorating the “Ages of Europe.” The 2016 theme is “Modern 20th-Century Europe,” and is inspired by the architectural designs as featured on the €500 banknote. This coin is also the Central Bank of Ireland’s first collector coin to commemorate the achievements of an Irish woman. (The program was launched in 2004; Michael Alexander has covered it extensively for Coin Update. More Europa Star silver coins from 2004 to date can be viewed here.)
Each Proof coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom box with a certificate of authenticity. The issue date for the coin has not yet been announced. For further information on this and other coins offered by the Central Bank of Ireland, please visit their website. International sales dispatched where applicable.