Austrian Silver Philharmonic
The Austrian Silver Philharmonic is one of the most popular silver coins on sale in the market today. Its imagery is derived from the beloved Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, a significant source of pride for the Austrian people. It is no surprise that this same sense of pride was taken in designing this beautiful coin.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Design of the Coin
The obverse (front) of the coin depicts the image of the Grand Organ, the most celebrated piece of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The music hall that the orchestra calls home is the Musikverein, which was built in 1870 upon land donated by Emperor Franz Joseph. Inside this great concert hall is the Golden Hall, where the Grand Organ was built in 1907. The Golden Hall was not built to today’s generally accepted acoustic standards; its dimensions are smaller at 48 meters long, 19 meters wide, and just 18 meters tall. Interestingly, the hall still seats 1,700 people, with standing room for an additional 300. The obverse of the coin displays the inscription “REPUBLIK OSTERREICH,” directly translated to “Republic of Austria,” as well as “1 UNZE FEINSILBER,” which translates to “1 ounce silver.” The face value is also shown, which is 1.50 euros.
The reverse of the coin includes an assortment of instruments that can be heard when attending an evening with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Musikverein. The instruments depicted include the bass, cello, violin, bassoon, harp, and Viennese horn.
The silver version of the Philharmonic coin began being minted in February of 2008. It is made with 1 full ounce of 0.999 fine silver, weighs 31.103 grams, and is 37mm in diameter.
The Austrian Mint
The Austrian Mint’s long and storied history dates back to 1194. It began with a King’s ransom. In 1194, Austria’s Duke Leopold V was insulted by England’s King Richard, and thus, they became enemies. During the Crusades, King Richard was trying to pass through Austria undetected, but he was captured. A ransom of 65,000 pounds of silver was paid for Richard’s freedom. This silver was minted into silver coins for use in the Austrian empire.
The Austrian Mint was originally built in Vienna but had been moved several times throughout history. It had a brief stint at Price Eugene’s palace before finding its current location at Heumarkt, located in central Vienna, in the 19th century.
Many other mints were established in Austria throughout history; however, in 1919, the Vienna Principal Mint became the last remaining mint when the Republic of Austria was formed that same year. Its name was changed in 1989 to “Munze Osterreich,” or “Austrian Mint,” when it became a subsidiary of the National Bank of Austria.
With over 800 years of history and experience, it is easy to see why the Austrian Mint creates some of the world’s most beautiful coins today.