The Austrian Mint began striking coins in 1194. Over those 800 years, the Mint gained a fantastic reputation for producing coins with unmatched quality and exceptional design. One of the Austrian Mint’s most internationally acclaimed coins is the Austrian Philharmonic coin. Since the coin’s inception, it has twice been the best-selling coin worldwide, first in 1992, and again in 1995. Struck in 99.99% gold, the Austrian Philharmonic coin has gained popularity among both collectors and investors around the world.
The Founding of Vienna’s Mint
The Austrian Mint in Vienna’s lifespan far exceeds that of other international mints. Its story also makes it unusual; while other mints were started as a means of providing currency, the Austrian Mint was begun to convert a stockpile of ransom money.
During the Crusades, Richard I of England, also known as Richard the Lionhearted, embarked on a campaign to the Holy Lands with Duke Leopold V of Austria. The two clashed and parted ways without reaching compromise. Years later, Richard I attempted to travel back to England, disguised as a religious pilgrim. The Austrian Duke Babenburg recognized Richard I, and held the king hostage until 1193.
The Babenburg duke surrendered his prisoner to Emperor Henry VI, in exchange for 100,000 silver Cologne marks (roughly 2 billion Euros, by today’s standards). Half this treasure went to Leopold V, who used it to found the Austrian Mint and create new silver currency for Austria.
An Event in Modern Numismatic History
For hundreds of years, the Austrian Mint has upheld a tradition of unparalleled quality and craftsmanship, and the Austrian Philharmonic coins continue that tradition. The Austrian Philharmonic gold coin was first minted in 1989, as a way to honor the country’s vibrant history of musical excellence. Struck from gold bullion and backed by the Central Bank of Austria, the Austrian Philharmonic coin offers purity comparable to that of the popular Austrian Corona, which is extremely well regarded among both collectors and investors.
The coin’s overwhelming popularity led to the introduction of silver Austrian Philharmonic coins in 2002. Like its gold counterpart, the silver Philharmonic coin is struck in 99.99% fine silver. This silver coin was the first to be issued a value in Euros. The gold Philharmonic was also issued in Euros, rather than the previous denomination in Austrian Shillings, the same year. The Philharmonic coins are also issued in a variety of sizes, from ¼ oz to 1 oz, creating an opportunity for someone to begin a collection at any price point.
A Unique Design
Both the silver and gold Philharmonics feature the same obverse and reverse designs, which are renowned for their exceptionally fine details and execution. On the coin’s obverse, the Great Organ, from Vienna’s Golden Hall is featured. Meanwhile, on the coin’s reverse is a breathtaking array of musical instruments, including violin, cello, string bass, bassoon, and Viennese horn. Thus, each face of the Austrian Philharmonic pays homage to the country’s undeniable taste for—and role in—the world of classical music.
As precious metals become a more attractive and viable investment option, the demand for Austrian silver and gold Philharmonic coins will certainly grow. Coupled with their excellent value, the coins’ beauty and detail make them a wise addition to any coin collection or precious metals portfolio.