The Austrian Mint has recently unveiled the coming year’s niobium and silver coin which carries a theme of cosmology. Following the format of last year’s issue, the niobium core features two different shades of color.
While last year’s Evolution themed coin used the colors green and blue, this year’s coin features the much more contrasting colors of yellow and blue. The colors are attained through selective oxidation of the niobium core as opposed to the application of artificial color, which is more typically encountered on world coin releases.
The obverse design of the 2015 Cosmology Silver Niobium Coin features an illustration of the universe within the niobium core, which includes the ringed planet Saturn, the Rosetta space probe, and an array of stars. The outer silver ring includes mathematical calculations and the inscriptions “Republic Österreich”, the “2015” date, and the denomination of “25 Euro”.
The reverse design illustrates the European Extremely Large Telescope, which is currently under construction by the European Southern Observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile with completion expected in 2022. The planets are shown in orbit around the telescope highlighted in yellow color. The outer silver ring shows how the telescope will enable us to look deeper than ever into the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe.
The outer ring of each coin is composed of 90% silver with a fine weight of 9.00 grams from a total weight of 16.50 grams. The inner core is composed of niobium with the different colors created through anodized oxidation whereby a thin oxide layer is produced to enable different colors to arise. The coins carry a special uncirculated finish.
A maximum mintage of 65,000 pieces has been indicated with a release date of January 21, 2015.
The product page on the Austrian Mint website can be found here. These coins will also likely be widely available from world coin dealers.