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The country of Austria has a long and rich history, and so does its mint. Although the mint did not officially come into existence until the 14th century, the minting of coins began in Vienna long before that, in the late 12th century. Today, the Austrian Mint still operates in Vienna and has an international reputation as one of the world’s best mints. So, what does the Austrian Mint do today, and how can investors benefit from its products? Read on to learn more.
Although it has more than 800 years of minting coins under its belt, the Austrian Mint does not simply rest on its laurels. It uses innovative techniques to craft some of the most beautiful bullion products around, including the much talked about and wildly popular Austrian Vienna Gold Philharmonic and Silver Philharmonic coins.
The Philharmonic coins celebrate the country’s heritage, but they stand out in other ways, as well. The Gold Philharmonics are the only regularly produced bullion coins with a denomination in euros (though their actual value far exceeds their face value).
The experts at the Austrian Mint do more than make treasures for precious metals investors, however. From their historic building in the heart of the country’s capital, they issue all of the euro circulation coinage for the Republic of Austria.
Although other mints in Austria have flickered in and out of existence through the years, one mint always remained, though it was known by a few different names. For years, it was the Vienna Principal Mint; however, when the Austrian Central Bank gained ownership in 1989, it became known as the Austrian Mint. Today, the mint’s more than 200 employees churn out a staggering 450 million coins every year.
The Austrian Mint’s origin harkens back to the time of the Crusades. England’s Richard the Lionheart teamed up with Austria’s Duke Leopold V and headed to the Holy Lands. The pair, however, did not get along and parted on unfriendly terms.
Some years later, when Richard, disguised as a pilgrim, tried to get back to England, he ended up as a hostage in Austria. Duke Babenberg of Austria held Richard hostage until 1193. Finally, Emperor Henry VI paid the ransom for Richard — to the tune of 100,000 silver Cologne marks. In terms of today’s currency, that translates into about two billion euros. Leopold V got half of this treasure and used it as the foundation for a new mint in Austria.
Since its fascinating start, the Austrian Mint has dedicated itself to producing some of the world’s most outstanding coins. They keep up with the latest techniques for minting. Until the 16th century, they used the minting hammer. Later, they moved onto the rocker press, the roller press, and the screw press. Around 1830, ring striking stepped onto the scene, and its modern version still plays a role at the mint today.
Their state-of-the-art technology goes hand-in-hand with their unrivaled artists. Talented people at the engraving academy (which had its start in 1733) create works of art to adorn the country’s currency and collectible coins. Attitude is key in producing high-quality coins, and, as the Austrian’s Mint’s website says, they are “especially proud of the loyalty of its long-serving staff, for whom coins are a passion not merely a means of earning a living.”
You wouldn’t boast about owning a commonplace piece of Austrian currency, but the other products put out by the Austrian Mint go beyond the ordinary. The Philharmonic coins were mentioned earlier, but they are not the only fascinating coins that come from the experts in Vienna. They mint a range of collectible coins that celebrate Austrian heritage. They also produce medals to commemorate special occasions.
The mint’s commonly used materials include gold, silver, copper, and niobium (a transition metal formerly known as columbium). Their collectible niobium coins stand out for their vivid colors. The Austrian Vienna Philharmonic coins are their primary bullion products, which they started producing about a quarter of a century ago.
Another coin of Austrian craftsmanship that is worthy of note is the Maria Theresa Thaler. These coins were originally struck in 1780 and were among the most important currency in the world. While original Maria Theresa Thalers are almost impossible to come by, coin dealers sometimes sell re-strikes from the 1800s.
The modern techniques that the Austrian Mint uses to produce its bullion items ensure that its results are top quality. Their proof coins, for example, run a gauntlet of 22 steps of preparation before the first blank transforms into a work of art. Each coin undergoes rigorous scrutiny before it leaves the mint.
This unyielding attention to detail helps investors know that the Austrian Mint products that they buy are genuine. The intricacies of the images on the Vienna Philharmonic coins, along with their unique size, are hallmarks of the coins that often set them apart from counterfeit versions. The Austrian Mint’s commitment to quality earned them the privilege of providing blanks and circulation coins for other countries around the world, as well.
Eight hundred years of history is no little thing, and neither is the Austrian Mint’s noteworthy reputation for excellence. Their Vienna Philharmonic coins are a favorite among investors for their beauty and quality. The Philharmonics are also a great choice for people who are just starting to build a precious metals portfolio since the coins come in several different sizes to accommodate varying budgets (the prices of the coins are generally in line with current market values).
If your interest rests solely on collecting precious metal for its melt value, consider the Vienna Philharmonic coins. They are convenient to store, high quality, and easily recognizable. For history buffs, other products issued by the Austrian Mint, such as the commemorative 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall coin or the Salzburg silver coin, can add fascinating elements to your collection. Shop Silver.com today to enhance your precious metals portfolio.