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Changes have been afoot in the Austrian Mint’s engraving department. Following the retirement of Thomas Pesendorfer in 2016, Helmut Andexlinger is now head of the design team, ably assisted by the highly experienced Herbert Wähner and two new team members, Anna Rastl and Kathrin Kuntner.
With Thomas Pesendorfer acting as “elder statesman” in an advisory role, there is, however, a sense of continuity. This stems from the fact the Fachschule für Metalldesign, the technical institute for metal design, located in the town of Steyr, is the alma mater of all of the Austrian Mint’s engravers. The importance of the common bond and sense of solidarity that their shared educational experience brings to his talented department is not lost on Helmut Andexlinger: “Team work is of the utmost importance to me,” he emphasises.
The Austrian Mint’s illustrious past is also seen as a vital factor in the company’s success by the head engraver: “I believe in always taking the long road when it comes to artistic expression. That’s my advice to my younger colleagues,” he adds. “Just because we use state-of-the-art technology, it doesn’t mean that we don’t learn lessons from our history. On the contrary, we take inspiration from historical medals and designs.”
Committed as they are to ensuring that all the coins they produce are miniature masterpieces, Helmut Andexlinger and his team are following in the long and noble tradition of the Austrian Mint.
Helmut Andexlinger is one of our younger numismatic artists, which in part explains why he uses digital technology throughout the coin-design process while his colleagues do so mainly in its latter stages. Both a former pupil of the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr and a graduate in communication studies from the University of Vienna, in 2011 Helmut beat extremely stiff opposition to win the competition to design the 2 euro coin chosen by the EU to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the euro. His artwork will soon be appearing on tens of millions of 2 euro coins all over the continent.
Another product of the Fachschule für Metalldesign in his hometown of Steyr, Herbert Waehner is not only a gifted numismatic artist but also talented at creating concepts for inspiring children. The mastermind behind the Austrian Mint’s popular children’s workshops, he is both a tireless researcher of the themes chosen for our coins and an expert at transforming them into artistic creations famous in the numismatic world for their depth of detail.
After graduating from high school, Anna Rastl, who hails from the beautiful Salzkammergut lake district of central Austria, studied engraving at the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr. As a new member of the Austrian Mint’s design team, she is currently involved in the design of medals for special occasions.
A graduate of the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr, Kathrin Kuntner is the youngest engraver at the Austrian Mint. A valued member of the design team since 2016, Kathrin applies emotion, diligence and attention to detail to the development of top quality designs and to the creation of coin models.
Anyone, anywhere in the world with an interest in contemporary coins will be familiar with the name Thomas Pesendorfer. Creator of the world famous Vienna Philharmonic bullion coin and winner of numerous awards for his work, he attended the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr where he discovered his vocation and was eventually advised to join the Austrian Mint, a Mecca for Austrian engravers. While he has scaled the heights of his profession, his feet are very firmly on the ground, refusing to accept that engraving is an art but considering it more of an “artistic craft”.
Always ambitious, Christa Reiter began her career working as a goldsmith by day and studying for her A levels by night. Her effort was rewarded when on being interviewed by the Austrian Mint she was hired on the spot. She has designed numerous coins but later on focused her extraordinary talent and attention to detail principally on the creation of exceptionally popular special occasion medals. Christa’s appointment has proved most fortuitous for the Austrian Mint. If you buy one of her good luck tokens she may just bring you luck too.