Austrian Mint

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CRETACEUS Life In The Ground Kreide Prehistoric Life Silver Coin 20€ Euro Austria 2014


Spanning some 80 million years, the Cretaceous period ended 66 million years ago when an asteroid collided with Earth. The period’s high sea levels meant that large portions of the landmass were under water, but on dry land dinosaurs such as struthiosaurius austriacus thrived. Protected by body armour, this small yet fearsome creature is brought to life on the third coin in our Prehistoric Life.

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The Cretaceous, derived from the Latin "creta" (chalk), usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide (chalk), is a geologic period and system from circa 145 to 66 million years (Ma) ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic Period and is followed by the Paleogene Period of the Cenozoic Era. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era, and, spanning 79 million years, the longest period of the Phanerozoic Eon.

The Cretaceous was a period with a relatively warm climate, resulting in high eustatic sea levels and creating numerous shallow inland seas. These oceans and seas were populated with now-extinct marine reptiles, ammonites and rudists, while dinosaurs continued to dominate on land. At the same time, new groups of mammals and birds, as well as flowering plants, appeared. The Cretaceous ended with a large mass extinction, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, in which many groups, including non-avian dinosaurs, pterosaurs and large marine reptiles, died out. The end of the Cretaceous is defined by the K–Pg boundary, a geologic signature associated with the mass extinction which lies between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.

  • CountryAustria
  • Year2014
  • Face Value20 Euro
  • MetalSilver
  • Fineness (purity)900/1000
  • Weight (g)20
  • Diameter (mm)34
  • QualityProof
  • Mintage (pcs)50.000
  • Certificate (COA)Yes
  • Presentation case (box)Yes

The dinosaur’s remains were discovered in a coal mine south of Vienna in 1855 by geologist Eduard Suess and palaeontologist Ferdinand Stoliczka, along with those of a pterosaur and a raptor. These are shown on the coin‘s obverse above the timeline, which both links the coin to the other four geologic periods explored in the series and provides a sense of continuity. The coin’s reverse is illustrated with a typical landscape from the period, in which a zalmoxes protects its eggs from a hungry struthiosaurius austriacus.