Austrian Mint

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QUATERNARY Life In The Ground Quartar Prehistoric Life Silver Coin 20€ Euro Austria 2015


Still continuing today, the youngest of all geologic periods, the Quaternary, features on the action-packed fifth and final coin in the Austrian Mint’s thrilling Prehistoric Life: Back from the Dead series. Not just the time when mammoths roamed the planet, the Quaternary is also the period when the most dangerous of all species – Homo sapiens – came into being.

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The Quaternary Period is the current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). It follows the Neogene Period and spans from 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene (2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today).
The Quaternary period is typically defined by the cyclic growth and decay of continental ice sheets driven by Milankovitch cycles and the associated climate and environmental changes that occurred.

  • CountryAustria
  • Year2015
  • 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

Beginning 2.6 million ago, the Quaternary has been a period of extreme fluctuations in temperature. During the glaciations typical of the period, up to 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface was covered with ice and snow, but mammals such as the hippopotamus and woolly rhinoceros could be found in Europe during warm periods. Mammoths thrived during cold periods until they died out at the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago. Both sides of the coin feature these large woolly mammals. A mammoth in profile dominates the background of the coin’s obverse, which also shows the skull and tusks of a mammoth next to the timeline linking the whole series. An Ice Age hunting scene shows Homo sapiens brandishing flaming torches and spears as they attack the giant beast on the coin’s reverse.