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    Austrian Gold Philharmonics

    The Gold Philharmonics of the Austrian Mint

    Investors have a lot of choices when it comes to buying gold, with options ranging from cast gold bars to gold bullion coins from sovereign mints. One of the more popular gold coins in the world is the Austrian Gold Philharmonic. Introduced in 1989 by the Austrian Mint, only a handful of gold coins have been available longer than the Gold Philharmonic.

    Celebrating the Arts & Culture of a Nation

    The Austrian Mint first issued the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins in 1989. Every mint takes a unique approach to the release of its coinage, and the Austrian Mint is no different. When it debuted, the Gold Philharmonic was available only in 1 oz gold and 1/4 oz gold options. Over the course of time, the Austrian Mint expanded the collection to include the following options (debut year):

    • 1/10 Troy oz (1991)
    • 1/2 Troy oz (1994)
    • 1/25 Troy oz (2014)

    The focus of the designs in the Austrian Gold Philharmonic series is on the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the finest orchestras in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic was officially formed in 1842. However, informal orchestral performances were commonplace in the Austrian capital city of Vienna as early as the early 1830s.

    Designs of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin

    The Austrian Mint turned to Chief Engraver Thomas Pesendorfer for the design of its official gold bullion coin. In 1989, Mr. Pesendorfer came up with a design that reflected the cultural pride Austrians have in their beloved orchestra. The following details highlight the designs of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin:

    • On the obverse of all Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins is the image of the Musikverein pipe organ. Found inside of the Golden Hall in the Innere Stadt neighborhood of Vienna, the pipe organ is often used in performances by the Vienna Philharmonic. This side of the coin includes German engravings, the native tongue of Austria, which read “Republik Oesterreich,” “Unze Gold 9999,” and the coin’s weight, face value, and year of issue.
    • The reverse side of Gold Philharmonic coins includes a variety of musical instruments used by members of the Vienna Philharmonic. These include a large cello in the center with two violins on either side. In the background, you’ll notice a harp, horn, and bassoon. Engravings on this face are also in German and read “Weiner Philharmoniker.”

    Like the American Gold Eagle and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, the designs of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic never change. The Austrian Mint has continued with these designs since 1989, and each has become so popular that the mint maintains their use on the Austrian Silver Philharmonic (2008) and Austrian Platinum Philharmonic (2016).

    Details of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin

    All coins in the Austrian Gold Philharmonic series feature .9999 pure gold content. The face value of the coins when originally introduced in 1989 was marked in Austrian Shillings, the nation’s official currency until 2002. Coins issued from 1989 to 2001 had the following face values:

    • 1 oz: 2,000 Shillings
    • 1/2 oz: 1,000 Shillings
    • 1/4 oz: 500 Shillings
    • 1/10 oz: 200 Shillings

    The 1/25 oz coin was never issued during the era of Austrian Shillings. As of 2002, the Austrian Mint has issued the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins with a face value in Euros following the adoption of the European Union’s common currency. The new face values included the following:

    • 1 oz: €100
    • 1/2 oz: €50
    • 1/4 oz: €25
    • 1/10 oz: €10
    • 1/25 oz: €4

    Diversity and Availability of Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coins

    The Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin is struck, like many other gold bullion coins, to meet the demand for gold among investors. As such, the Austrian Mint experiences fluctuations in mintage corresponding to the demand for gold coins. With that said, certain years have garnered much greater demand for the coin than others in its history. For example, the 1990 Gold Philharmonic was the best-selling coin in Europe and the second-best-selling coin in the world. Other high-mintage years include 1992, 1995, 1996, and 2000. In each of those years, the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin was the best-selling gold coin in the world.

    The Austrian Mint does not issue the Gold Philharmonic coin in a proof collectible version, but that doesn’t mean that unique offerings haven’t been made since 1989. The following are two coins which were offered for a limited time with the Austrian Gold Philharmonic design:

    • The Big Phil: offered in 2004 only, the Big Phil is an Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin which was offered for the 15th anniversary of the coin series. The Big Phil is so-named because it contains 1,000 Troy ounces (31.103 kilograms) of .9999 pure gold with an issued face value of €100,000. Only 15 of these massive coins were struck in 2004!
    • The 20 oz Austrian Gold Philharmonic: Downsizing its celebratory nature a bit, the Austrian Mint debuted a 20 oz Gold Philharmonic in 2009 to mark 20 years of production. The coins were struck with 20 Troy oz of .9999 pure gold and a face value of €14,000. The Austrian Mint struck three separate batches of 2,009 coins (denoting the year), with one batch each for the European, American, and Japanese markets.

    The 1/25 oz Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin was originally intended as a 25th Anniversary coin as well when it was introduced in 2014, however, the Austrian Mint has maintained the coins in the collection as a result of the popularity of smaller fractional-weight coins in gold collections.

    Other Austrian Gold Coins

    While the Austrian Gold Philharmonics are the official gold bullion coins of the modern Republic of Austria, the Austrian Mint has a rich history of striking gold coins for circulation and collectible purposes. In fact, it has issued gold coins in the recent past that predate the arrival of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic, but were also not intended as circulation coins. Examples of other Austrian gold coins include those of the Ducat and Austrian Schilling denominations, as well as commemorative restrikes and celebratory gold coins marking major milestones in the history of Austria and/or the Austrian Mint. For example:

    • Ducat Gold Coins: The Ducat is a coin denomination that originated in the Middle Ages and was originally a popular denomination in Dutch city-states. However, in those days the Dutch Ducat was based on the Hungarian Ducat. When the Austrian Empire absorbed the Kingdom of Hungary to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Austrian Empire not only accepted the new coins on a broader basis, but also began issuing Austrian Ducats. Examples include 1 Ducat and 4 Ducat denominations from the Austrian Mint struck predominantly from the early- and mid-19th century until World War I.
    • Schilling Gold Coins: The Austrian Schilling is perhaps the most popular denomination ever issued by the Austrian Mint. For the better part of the 20th century, the Schilling was the official denomination of the Republic of Austria until it adopted the Euro in 2002. Many restrike gold coins with historic designs are issued in Schillings rather than the original denominations those coins may have been issued in.
    • Austrian Corona Gold Coins: Finally, there are the gold coins of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The most commonly issued coins during the mid-19th century to early-20th century reign of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were gold coins with a Corona denomination. The coins were typically issued in a 20 Corona or 40 Corona denomination, though 10 and 100 Corona denominations were rarely issued.

    Buying Austrian Gold Philharmonics

    If you’re looking to buy gold, the Austrian Gold Philharmonic has proven time and again to be one of the most popular. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to JM Bullion at 800-276-6508 with your inquiries. We’re also available online using our live chat and email address options.