May 8th, 2014

New from the Austrian Mint

1_Packaging Berlin Wall“Freedom” – The Fall of the Berlin Wall

June 25, 2014 will mark a significant milestone in global history, as it was 25 years ago that the Berlin Wall began to crumble.  The Austrian Mint is celebrating this momentous event with a silver coin that is scheduled to be  issued on that day.

Mint engraver Herbert Waehner captured this moving time with a very meaningful coin design. The obverse shows a young man cutting through the Wall leaving behind the barbed wire of the communist world on the left side and going towards freedom and greener grass on the right side.

The reverse of the coin shows the young man coming through the wall and into freedom.  The barbed wire is now behind him and he looks forward at global symbols of freedom: the Statue of Liberty, the Brandenburg Gate  (which was on the very front of this wall), the Elisabeth bridge connecting eastern Hungary to the West, the giant Ferris wheel of Vienna and the Charles Bridge in Prague, all symbols that bridge to the free world. Superimposed on this are the stars of a free and united Europe.

On June 27, 1989, the foreign ministers of Austria and Hungary met at the barbed wire fence along these borders, separating the West from the East.  The time had come for the end of the divide in post-war Europe.  A picture flashed around the world that showed these men wearing suits and using a heavy wire cutter together cutting through the barbed wire, thus marking the beginning of the end of communism in Europe and the crumbling of the Iron Curtain.

The complex concrete wall in Berlin was breeched November 9, 1989. Within just 5 months the end of the physically divided East and West had come – a dream come true for so many people.

The notorious Wall was 155 km long, of which 43 were in Berlin.  There were 302 watchtowers, along with 105.5 km of anti-vehicle ditches, as well as 259 dog runs.  It was a formidable barrier through which more than 100,000 easterners tried to escape.  It is thought that more than 600 were killed in these attempts, either shot or killed by the guards, or by their own escape efforts (such as drowning), or committed suicide when they were caught.

Today only one kilometer of the Wall still stands as a memorial to these years and all that happened.  Many people, who were called Mauerspechte (wall woodpeckers), chipped away at the wall and took home a piece as a memento.  In the city of Berlin there is a continuous line built into the streets, sidewalks and parks, which delineates where the wall used to stand.  The Brandenburg Gate has been restored and one may once again walk freely through the Gate and along the lovely boulevard of Unter den Linden, passing by the many elegant buildings of by-gone times some of which are now embassies, as well as the newly built, very modern and massive US Embassy.

The “Berlin Wall” coin is 900 fine silver, has a face value of 20 euros (legal tender in Austria), contains 18 grams of pure silver and has a diameter of 34 mm.  The maximum mintage of this proof coin is 50,000 pieces.  Each coin is encapsulated and comes in box with a sleeve and an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the Berlin Wall coin from Apmex – toll free 1 1-800-375-9006, online www.APMEX.com or Downies  – toll free at 1 877 897 7696, online www.downies.com

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