Austria 50 Euro Gold Coin 2011 The Bicentenary of the Joanneum at Graz

Austria 50 Euro gold coin 2011 200 years Joanneum Universal Museum Graz

Austria 50 Euro Gold Coin 2011 Bicentenary of the Joanneum at Graz
Austria 50 Euro Gold Coin 2011 The Bicentenary of the Joanneum at Graz
26 January 2011, Vienna Austria – The Austrian Mint issued a gold coin celebrating the 200 th anniversary of the founding of the Joanneum Museum in Graz, in the province of Styria, Austria. The museum collection covers many centuries and many disciplines so that it is known as the “Universal Museum.”

The obverse of the coin depicts a collage of the classical façade of the main entrance to the museum, with the very modern and organic roof of the art gallery in the background. On the left side of the obverse, part of the perfectly trimmed landscape can be seen in the luscious round tree with part of a hedge at its base. Tucked into the hedge is the year of issue 2011 and below it is the word “Kunsthaus” or Art Gallery. Also on this side appear the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich” or Republic of Austria, and the face value of 50 euros. The obverse of the coin was designed by mint engraver Herbert Waehner.

The reverse of this gold coin depicts the ornately embossed armour made by Michael Wit the Younger in Innsbruck circa 1550. To the right-hand side is part of the armoury collection, located in the “Landeszeughaus Graz” or Styrian Armoury, and is part of the Joanneum. The roof in which this part of the armoury collection is maintained has a classic coffered ceiling, as seen in the beams in the top right quadrant of the design. The reverse of the coin was designed by mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger.

The Joanneum was originally founded by the Habsburg Archduke Johann in 1811 as a public museum to pursue enlightenment for all. Initially the Joanneum was an educational institution focusing on nature and technology. Over the years a museum was established because of the continually growing donations and collections. The museum complex now includes seemingly everything, from scientific and technical materials, to modern and older arts and crafts, coins, sculpture, hunting, agriculture, cultural history and so on, spanning the centuries from Roman times to modern day.

The very modern and flowing organic building now housing the art collection was completed in 2003 to coincide with the designation of Graz as the cultural city of Europe. The building was designed by Peter Cook and Colin Fouriner of  London, who affectionately think of their design in Graz as the “Friendly Alien.” A Berlin design firm founded by brothers Jan and Tim Edler enhanced this alien look by adding a sophisticated computer-controlled lighting system called BIX that seemingly makes the whole building glow, somewhat like a “display- skin” enveloping the building. This system has become the international benchmark for the fusion of architecture, art and media. The BIX system developed by the Edler firm has now also become part of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) recognizing its breakthrough development fusing such diverse elements into one medium of human communication.

The elaborate suit of three-quarter parade armour made by Michael Witz the Younger from Innsbruck for a nobleman as seen on the reverse of the coin is part of the Styrian Armoury which is the largest historic armoury collection in the world and today contains about 30,000 pieces of armour. The armour, made from iron with embossed scrollwork and leather straps, is from 1550. Michael Witz, the Younger was one of the most important armour makers in the middle of the 16th century.

The new coin is struck in .986 fine gold (10 g) with a maximum mintage of 50,000 pieces in proof quality only. In contrast to the previous 50 Euro gold coins from the Austrian Mint, these coins have a highly polished background and frosted relief. Each coin contains 10 grams of fine gold and has a diameter of 22 mm.