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2013 Austria Silver €20 Stefan Zweig Proof

2013 Austria Silver €20 Stefan Zweig Proof

One of the world’s most popular writers between the two world wars, Austrian Stefan Zweig was also one of the thinkers who helped define the 20th century. This coin a maximum mintage of 50,000 in .900 fine (ASW 0.5209 oz) Silver Proof quality. As a devout believer in an integrated Europe, Stefan Zweig makes the ideal subject for a coin celebrating common aspects of European identity, as the 20 euro Silver coins from all the 14 countries participating in the European Silver Programme are designed to do. Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna in 1881, he published his first book of poetry at the age of 19 before going on to find international fame with a series of novellas, including Chess. Set on a passenger steamer bound for Buenos Aires from New York – hence the depiction of a ship on the coin’s reverse bearing the book’s title in German on its prow – the disturbing story about obsession focuses on a chess game between the world champion and the other passengers. The book was published posthumously after Zweig took his own life in Brazil in 1942. He had tried in vain to settle there with his young wife, who committed suicide with him, after fleeing the advance of the Nazis in his beloved but devastated Europe.

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800 years of minting history in Vienna, though it would be another 200 years before the Vienna Mint was mentioned in historical documents.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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