In 2019, the Austrian Mint in Vienna is celebrating its 825th year anniversary. That institutional longevity is remarkable considering the vast changes that have occurred throughout both Europe and the world during that time span. The story of how the Austrian Mint was founded is tied closely to the little known but extremely interesting story of Duke Leopold V and his daring gamble to extort a fortune of silver from the crown of Great Britain.
The Austrian Mint has created two complimentary series this year that together present these dramatic events of medieval political intrigue as well as the greater historical context in which they took place. The first series is the 825th Anniversary of the Vienna Mint (as the Austrian Mint was originally called). The second series is the Knights’ Tales. We break down each series below and show how they work together to recount the story of the founding of the Austrian Mint and to celebrate the men who dedicated their lives to the ideals of chivalry!
The 825th Anniversary Series
In honor of their 825th anniversary, the Austrian Mint proudly presents a limited edition three-coin series detailing its fascinating story. It was the year 1191. The third crusade was raging in the Middle East, and a royal feud between Duke Leopold V of Austria and Richard “The Lionheart” of England was intensifying. Later, in 1192, as King Richard was returning from the Holy Land to his English home, Duke Leopold’s men captured and imprisoned him in the Castle of Durnstein in Österreich (as Austria was known at the time).
For King Richard to be released, Leopold forced him to pay a ransom of 35 tons of silver (wow!), accomplished through extreme taxation of his people. Duke Leopold then used this ransom in 1193-94 to build the Wiener Neustadt castle and the surrounding fortified city. It also enabled him to establish the original Mint of Vienna, which struck the country’s first silver coins.
The heavy taxation required to raise the ransom funds to pay off Leopold and release Richard gave birth to the enduring legends of Robin Hood who stole the taxed wealth and gave it back to the people.
This series will consist of three incredible designs: the first featuring Duke Leopold V, the second depicting the castle Wiener Neustadt and the third Robin Hood (release Fall 2019). Each bullion coin will be 1 oz of .999 fine Silver and produced to the usual high standards of the Austrian Mint. Only 100,000 of each will be minted for world-wide release. As of this writing, the Leopold and Neustadt coins are SOLD OUT at the mint!
The Knights Tales Series
The events celebrated in the 825th Anniversary series took place during the Middle Ages of Europe when knights epitomized the concept of honorable warriors. Men of noble birth would swear to serve their sovereign rulers and to uphold codes of conduct that defined how they not only fought on the battle field but also how they lived their everyday lives. Dove-tailing with the 825th Anniversary series, the Austrian Mint has created another very exciting and unique complimentary series called Knights’ Tales.
There will be a total of five designs in the Knights’ Tales series and each design will be released in three formats, all legal tender with a face value of 10 euros. The first format is .5 Troy oz of .925 fine Silver Proof. The second format is .5 Troy oz of .925 fine Silver Special Uncirculated. The final format is 15 gram Copper Uncirculated. It should be noted that while the Silver coins are minted with .925 Sterling Silver, each coin contains a full 1/2 Troy ounce of Silver, meaning that the physical weight of each will be somewhat higher than 1/2 oz. Each of the five designs will represent one of 5 key characteristics of knighthood, the first being CHIVALRY. The details of each format are outlined below along with the special Collectible Packaging options produced by the mint.
- Knights’ Tales .5 oz Silver Proof Coins: Each coin will come in a handsome red Austrian Mint box with a Certificate of Authenticity. The coat of arms on the obverse of the Proof is colorized. Only 30,000 of each Proof release will be minted.
- Knights’ Tales .5 oz Silver Special Uncirculated: Each coin will come in an collectible illustrated blister pack with graphics and text featuring information about the release in both English and German. Only 30,000 of each Special Uncirculated release will be minted.
- Knights’ Tales 15 gram Copper Uncirculated: Each coin will feature the same obverse and reverse designs as the Silver versions and will come in a protective flip. The real attraction of this format is the special Collector Album that is designed for it.
We have mentioned that both series are designed to compliment each other. This is true not only of their themes but also of their packaging options. The Austrian Mint has produced two very impressive options for collectors of the series: a multi-page illustrated Album and a wooden Case.
- Knights’ Tales Collector Album: The album is designed to hold all three of the 1 oz Silver 825th Anniversary coins plus all five of the 15 gram Copper Knights’ Tales coins. The graphics are stunning and the information, while presented in German, is rigorously researched and historically accurate. It ties together the story of Leopold’s successful ransom of Richard, common life experiences in the Middle Ages and the importance of knights in the medieval world. This is a truly impressive way to store and display your coins from these two amazing series.
- Knights’ Tales Proof Collector Case: The wooden case is designed to hold all five of the .5 ounce Silver Proof Knights’ Tales coins. While it is true that each Proof coin will come in its own mint storage box, the case will allow all five coins to be stored and displayed together as a set. The illustrated slip-cover matches the graphic theme of the Album and allows the case to be stored either flat or upright on a shelf.
Together, the Album and Case will hold all the releases in the two series except for the Special Uncirculated Silver coins. As mentioned above, those come in their own illustrated blister packs. We really can not recommend these items highly enough. If you have an interest in the Middle Ages, knights, medieval history and political intrigue, swords, armor, jousting or Robin Hood this collection has it ALL! Each of the releases are low mintage and by the time Robin Hood is released in the Fall of 2019, the earlier coins will be much harder to source. So we encourage you to get your order in soon!
Special Editions: Golden Ring
Finally, while not an official release by the Austrian Mint, we do have two incredible special editions of the 825th Leopold V and Wiener Neustadt 1 oz Silver coins that have been ennobled with black ruthenium and yellow gold. These are part of a larger collection featuring popular Silver bullion coins from around the world called the Golden Ring collection. Produced by the same talented team responsible for the highly popular Space Blue and Space Red Germania Silver rounds, these Golden Ring editions bring a completely different perspective to the designs of these two coins. Only 500 of each design have been produced and our inventory of them is limited. We do encourage all collectors of the 825th Anniversary and Knights Tales series to consider adding the Golden Ring editions to their collections. With only 500 of each in existence, it will make your personal collection even more rare and valuable!