Austria Takes Home “Best Circulating Coin” for 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Austrian Republic
The Mint of Austria won the “best circulating coin” category at the 2020 COTY Awards for its 2 Euro commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Austrian Republic. The bi-metallic coin, dated 2018, celebrates the Austrian Republic centenary, which took place during waning days of the First World War.
The coin marks both the creation of the Austrian Republic and the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, which had ruled Austria-Hungary since 1276. As described by the Austrian Mint, on November 11, 1918, Charles Ier of Habsbourg-Lorraine, under pressure by Austria’s Provisional National Assembly, declared that he would “renounce participation” in state affairs. One day later, the National Assembly announced the creation of a united German Austria Republic.
The allied nations prohibited unification under the Versailles Treaty and the Saint-Germain en Laye Treaty but did ratify the creation of the independent Austrian Republic. Karl Josef Seitz, a member of the Imperial Council, president of the National Council, and former mayor of Vienna, replaced the emperor as Head of the Austrian State, becoming president of the first Austrian Republic. The social democrat Karl Renner was named chancellor (prime minister).
As with previous award-winning coins from the Mint of Austria, the 2 Euro commemorative coin was designed by Mag. Helmut Andexlinger and Herbert Wähner. The obverse depicts the statue of Pallas Athena that stands in front of the neoclassical Parliament building in Vienna. The goddess of wisdom wears an Attic helmet decorated with a sphinx. Both the Parliament (completed in 1883) and the Pallas Athena fountain (1902) were based on designs by Theophil von Hansen. According to the Austrian Mint, the Pallas Athena serves as a symbol of Austrian parliamentarianism and signifies knowledge, reason and strategic ability. The design of the reverse side is that seen on the standard Euro-zone circulation coin of this denomination.
The coin measures 25.75 mm in diameter and weighs 8.5 grams. Mintage is limited to 10,000 proof coins and 50,000 special uncirculated coins.