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2011 Austria Silver €20 Brigantium Proof

2011 Austria Silver €20 Brigantium Proof

Built as it was in the twilight years of the Roman Empire, the port of Brigantium is a fitting subject with which to conclude our historic Rome on the Danube series. Rome’s naval prowess is illustrated splendidly on this coin. Mintage of just 50,000 coins (ASW 0.5209 oz)!
Superbly struck in Proof quality with a maximum mintage of 50,000 pieces, each coin comes in a protective transparent acrylic capsule and a presentation box containing a numbered certificate of authenticity.

While the Roman camp of Brigantium, on the eastern shore of Lake Constance, had been a municipality since AD 50, it was not until the second half of the fourth century that the port was constructed by Emperor Valentinian I, who features on the coin’s obverse. Born in Croatia in AD 321 and emperor for just over a decade until his death in AD 375, Valentinian was the last Roman emperor to engage in military campaigns across the Rhine and Danube rivers. In order to provide protection to those natural borders it is believed that he built the harbour at Brigantium (present-day Bregenz) and equipped it with navis lusoria, the fast and streamlined troop carrying vessels typical of the late Roman Empire, which feature on the coin’s reverse. Only discovered and excavated some 40 years ago, the ancient harbour can be seen in reconstruction in the background.

For those keen to complete the whole six-coin collection a superb wooden case is also available for purchase.

In 1194, Richard the Lionheart paid 12 tons of Silver to Duke Leopold V of Austria to secure his freedom from a year of incarceration. This act unintentionally laid the foundation for the Austrian Mint, as Duke Leopold had coins struck from Richard the Lionheart’s ransom. In doing so, Leopold set in motion more than 800 years of minting history in Vienna, though it would be another 200 years before the Vienna Mint was mentioned in historical documents.

The Vienna Mint was originally situated near Hoher Merkt and later at various locations in Vienna. Since the first half of the 19th century, the mint has been housed in Heumarkt in central Vienna, where coins are still struck to this day. Minting facilities opened throughout Austria until 1918 when the Republic of Austria was formed and the Vienna Principal Mint became the singular minting facility. In 1989, the name officially changed to the Austrian Mint and became a subsidiary of the Austrian National Bank.

One of the Austrian Mint’s most recognized coins is the Maria Teresa Thaler, which is not simply a famous Silver coin, but one that boasts the greatest number minted. Another prime example of the mint’s international success is the Gold Philharmonic, one of the most popular Gold bullion coins worldwide. The Gold Philharmonic has played a vital role in developing the Austrian Mint into a highly successful company. The Austrian Mint’s beautifully crafted coins are minted in the heart of Vienna and are sought after by investors and collectors around the world.

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