Space-themed coins have always had very strong appeal for modern coin collectors, and well-designed coins that depict themes dealing with outer space typically sell well. This is probably partly because many collectors first became interested in coins when they were children, a period when many people also become interested in space exploration and astronomy.
ModernCoinMart (MCM) will soon begin selling three major space-themed coins that feature designs depicted in color – one is the Austrian Mint’s stunning Cosmology coin, and the other two are the first coins in an exciting new series from the Perth Mint, the first to honor the original Star Trek television series.
On January 21 the Austrian Mint released the 13th coin in its annual 25 euro niobium and silver series that is one of the most widely collected modern European coin series. The 2015 issue is dedicated to the theme of cosmology, or the study of the origin and development of the universe, a topic that is endlessly fascinating even to those who are not scientists or astronomers.
For the first time since the niobium series began in 2003 the latest issue sold out from the Austrian Mint in less than a month of its entire 65,000 coin mintage. As a result, the coin has become difficult to locate recently and retail prices for the coin have already increased. The early sell-out is expected to support higher prices for the coin going forward.
Typically, the niobium coins are available from the Austrian Mint and retail coin dealers well after their release at issue prices. The 2014 evolution coin was the first one to sell out before the end of the year it was issued, and late last year prices for that coin began to increase substantially.
The coins in this series have an inner ring that is made of 6.5 grams of .998 fine niobium and an outer ring that has nine grams of .900 fine silver. They are especially popular because of their highly intricate and distinctive designs, and several issues, including the 2013 tunnel construction coin, have received or been nominated for Coin of the Year awards from Krause Publications.
Each niobium coin features a different theme within the broad area of science and technology, and each also uses different colors in its design. Unlike other world coins that apply color to the coin, the coins in this series oxidize the niobium (by refracting light on a thin, transparent oxide layer) to achieve the colors shown on the particular coin. Each issue achieves this process in a way that produces a different color combination.
The 2015 cosmology coin uses yellow and blue -- yellow for the main design elements on the obverse, which provides a strong contrast against a midnight blue background, while the reverse shows the main design elements in blue and the planets and stars in yellow. It was designed by Austrian Mint engraver, Helmut Andexlinger, who has designed several other coins in this series.
The obverse of the cosmology coin depicts an illustration of the universe within the niobium core of the coin. It shows the ringed planet, Saturn, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe that recently landed on a comet, and an array of stars. The outer silver ring of the obverse shows mathematical calculations and the inscriptions, 2015, 25 Euro, and Austrian Republic in Austrian.
The coin’s reverse shows the European Extremely Large Telescope, which is being constructed by the European Southern Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile. This will be by far the largest telescope ever built when it is completed, which is expected to be in 2022. The telescope will allow humans to look farther than ever into the galaxy and search for new planets, extraterrestrial life, and even parallel universes. The niobium portion of the reverse shows the telescope and planets orbiting around it.
The cosmology coin is already a big hit with collectors all over the world because of its beautiful and inspiring design, and its use of the specific color combination of blue and yellow that really brings the design to life. It is sure to remain in great demand with coin collectors and space enthusiasts.
MCM will be carrying this coin in its original government packaging as well as in NGC-graded examples, and the coin is expected to be available later in February.
In January the Perth Mint in Australia announced that in February it would release the first two coins in a new series focused on the iconic Star Trek television series that debuted in 1966. The original series, created by Gene Rodenberry, ran until 1969, and in the years since then it has continued as a very successful television series and movie franchise. Perth’s media officer Makeila Ellis said that the series will run for two years. The coins, which are the world’s first numismatic issues to officially license the original Star Trek series, were created because the Perth Mint wanted to honor the series as its 50th anniversary in 2016 nears.
The original Star Trek series was centered mainly around its main character, Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, who commanded the Constitution-class U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 interstellar spacecraft as it explored the galaxy during the 23rd century. It is thus highly appropriate that one coin depicts Capt. Kirk while the other features the spaceship he commanded, and each design is rendered beautifully in full color. It will be a ten-coin series with five coins depicting captains, and five depicting starships or spaceships from the various television series that succeeded
the original series.
Although the coins will be officially released by Perth on February 16, they were unveiled with great fanfare at the recent World Money Fair in Berlin, which is the most important and largest coin show of the year in Europe, where major world Mints showcase their coins and their plans for upcoming issues.
Shatner, who became a household name in the 1960s as a result of this show, recently tweeted his approval of the coins, saying “Gotta love it” and “Hope I’m getting one.”
Each coin contains one ounce of 99.9% pure silver, and each carries a one dollar denomination and is issued under the legal authority of Tuvalu. Each also carries the traditional “P” mintmark for the Perth Mint.
The obverse of both coins carries, as always with Perth coins, the Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverses, as mentioned, depict for the first coin Capt. Kirk in color in his characteristic Starfleet Command uniform against a silver background of the U.S.S. Enterprise and carries the inscription, “Captain James T. Kirk.” The second coin’s reverse is characteristic of the United Federation of Planets logo and portrays a color image of the Enterprise flying through space and carries the inscription, “Star Trek the Original Series U.S. Enterprise NCC-1701,” and the coin’s weight and fineness.
“Beam me up, Scottie”
In addition to sporting great designs, the Star Trek coins also feature highly innovative packaging that further adds to their allure. They are being sold both as individual coins with a mintage of 5,000, and in a special two-coin set limited to 1,500 units.
The individual coins are packaged in round-shaped boxes, while the two-coin set’s packaging is designed to resemble the famous transporter seen on the show that allowed people to be beamed from the starship to various locations and back to the starship. The Capt. Kirk coin sits inside the case and when the door of the transporter is opened a light comes on to make it appear is if Kirk is being teleported. The Enterprise coin sits on top of the case in its own compartment, which also lights up.
The Star Trek coins are expected to be very popular with coin collectors as well as Star Trek and science fiction fans. They have the kind of strong crossover appeal that several other recent issues like the Batman and Superman coins have, which substantially widens their potential customer base well beyond the coin collecting community.
The combination of a limited mintage and broad appeal is likely to make the coins big sellers. Plus, they are the first issues of the series; they are expected to be a big hit.
The Perth Mint has not revealed any other details regarding the series apart from the fact that it will run for two years. I would anticipate that in 2016 two more coins will be released.
MCM will carry all these coins in their original packaging and in NGC-graded examples in PF-69 and 70.
Click on the product below to sign up for pre-order request so that you will be notified as soon as these coins are available for purchase.
Canadian Space Agency
Collectors interested in space coins may also want to consider an innovative coin from the Royal Canadian Mint issued last year that honors the Canadian Space Agency. The coin uses an achromatic hologram to create the illusion of a 3-D image of a Canadian astronaut flying weightlessly in space.
MCM has a small quantity of these coins left that have been graded PF-69 and 70 by NGC.
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|