Spain: Latest Gold Bullion Coins In National Culture Series Feature Impressive Imperial Eagle

The Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre - Casa Real de la Moneda release the fourth design in what has become an immensely popular bullion coin series.

by Michael Alexander | Published on July 10, 2024

The theme of the series focuses on Spanish culture and heritage through the country’s wildlife with the Iberian Lynx launching the series in 2021 followed by the Bull in 2022 and the Carthusian horse last year. For 2024, the águila imperial or, the Imperial Eagle is the featured animal. In terms of national identity, the heraldic Eagle of Saint John has been associated mostly with the Catholic Monarchs and in Spain particularly, the eagle has appeared on the shield of the 15th-century Spanish Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand. A stylised version of the Imperial eagle and crest was resurrected by Francisco Franco (1939–1977) as a symbol of his authoritarian regime and later became a symbol of the Spanish transition to democracy from 1977 to 1981 when the national symbol transitioned to the crown.

This native species is found in central and south-west Spain and adjacent areas of Portugal though its stronghold is in central and south-west Spain primarily in Seville's Sierra Norte. The Spanish imperial eagle is a resident species meaning it rarely migrates to other lands but immature birds during the dispersion period regularly visit Morocco. Imperial eagles prefer to nest near dry, mature woodlands which they also utilise for seclusion, but also close enough to shrubs and wetland areas where prey is more likely to be concentrated. A shy species toward man, they will normally nest only where human disturbance is quite low. Like most raptors, they are highly territorial and tend to maintain a stable home range.

By the 1960’s Imperial eagles had become a critically endangered species, and were nearly wiped out with only 30 pairs remaining all located in Spain. However, following conservation efforts, recovery began in the 1980’s at a rate of five new breeding pairs per year up to 1994. In 2011, the species’ global population had increased to 324 pairs, with 318 pairs in Spain. Imperial eagles also re-colonised in Portugal in 2003 after an absence of breeding activity for over 20 years and have been slowly increasing since. Today, Imperial eagles are still classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as remaining threats include loss of habitat, human encroachment and collisions with transmission towers.

The reverse side of the coins includes a depiction of an Imperial eagle soaring in the skies, its powerful and impressive wingspan beautifully and intricately detailed. Below and to the lower left is the text ÁGUILA IMPERIAL with the denomination 1,5 EURO placed above the eagle. The year of issue 2024 is shown just to the right and the distinctive mintmark of the Casa Real, a crowned M is seen just below the denomination. The obverse side depicts the classic motif of the Columnario, an unmistakable design seen on the historic Spanish Pillar Dollar silver coins once recognised worldwide as the primary coin of international trade. The crest depicts two hemispheres under a royal crown, flanked by the Pillars of Hercules with the motto PLUS VLTRA (further beyond), above a sea of waves. The legend seen to the left and right edge reads FELIPE VI REY DE ESPANA along with the specifications 1 ONZA 999,9 ORO seen below the Columnario. The coin is struck in reverse Proof quality with the background shown in matte and the engraved relief with a polished effect. The addition of a unique security measure patented by the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre - Real Casa de la Moneda and placed above the crest is the quadruple latent image security feature when tilted under a source of light, enables four different images to be viewed such as the mintmark, a five-pointed star, the euro currency symbol and the silhouette of the columnar.

 Denomination Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit 
1.5 Euro 999.9 Gold 31.1 g. 37.2 mm. Reverse Proof 12,000 

Each coin is individually encapsulated and available through a network of official bullion distribution partners of the Real Casa de la Moneda. For additional information, please consult your nearest gold bullion dealer. Those resident in Spain can visit the retail store of the Real Casa de la Moneda and FNMT Museum gift shop in Madrid.

Early next year, the same design will feature on gold bullion type coins weighing 1/10th ounce dated 2025 will be made available.

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Author: Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander image Michael’s background in both numismatics and banknotes spans more than three decades and whose activities have varied from being a dedicated world coin collector to coin & medal design, marketing, theme concept and production. His additional interests include banknote research and in 1997, he founded the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre to further these interests and activities. The company continues to offer monthly currency bulletins to both online and printed publications which includes information about the latest banknote news and releases from Central Banks and Monetary Authorities around the world. Michael has been a contributor to COIN NEWS magazine based in the UK since 1998 where many of his in-depth interviews, articles and bulletins have been published.

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