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300th anniversary of the birth of Maximilian Hell

€10 silver collector coin

The obverse side of the coin
The reverse side of the coin

Maximilian Hell (1720 – 1792) was a Jesuit Catholic priest, astronomer, and mathematician. Through his scientific and pedagogical activities and publications, he became a pioneer of modern astronomy in the Habsburg Monarchy. His scientific career began in 1745 when he was invited to assist Joseph Franz at the Jesuit observatory in Vienna and started teaching astronomy at Vienna University. In 1755 he was appointed Director of the Imperial Observatory of Vienna and held the post until his death in 1792. Besides his work at the Observatory and University, he also published many works and helped establish observatories in Trnava, Kluž, Budín, and Eger. Hell gained an international reputation with the publication of his astronomical tables Ephemerides astronomicae ad meridianum Vindobonemsem (“Ephemerides for the Meridian of Vienna”), which he edited from 1757 and which continued to be published until 1807. Hell was a member of several learned societies, including the British Royal Society, of which he was made a Fellow in 1790.

  • Coin description

    The coin’s obverse design depicts Father Hell as a standing astronomer observing a starry night sky through a period telescope. At the left edge is the Slovak coat of arms, and in the lower centre, between the figure and the telescope, are the coin’s denomination‘10’ and currency ‘EURO’, one above the other. The name of the issuing country ‘SLOVENSKO’ appears along the upper edge of the design, followed by the year of issuance ‘2020’. At the lower right are the stylised letters ‘KL’, referring to the designer Karol Ličko, and the mint mark of the Kremnica Mint (Mincovňa Kremnica), consisting of the letters ‘MK’ placed between two dies.

    The reverse depicts, on the right side, Father Hell dressed for his journey to the Arctic Circle, where he observed the transit of Venus across the Sun. The transit is shown on the left side above a cluster of shining stars. In the midst of the stars are dates of Father Hell’s birth ‘1720’ and death ‘1792’, one above the other. The name ‘MAXIMILIÁN HELL’ appears along the left edge of the design.

  • Coin details
    Designer:Karol Ličko
    Composition:.900 silver, .100 copper
    Weight:18 g
    Diameter:34 mm
    (A pioneer of modern astronomy)
    Producer:Kremnica Mint
    Engraver:Filip Čerťaský
    Issuing volume:2,800 coins in brilliant uncirculated quality
    6,500 coins in proof quality
    Issuing date:27 May 2020