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The Austrian Mint has been continuously producing coins since the 12th century and is regarded as one of the finest mints in the world. Despite more than 800 years of minting coinage, one of their most popular product series, the Gold Philharmonic, was only introduced in the late 1980s. This coin series carries the status of legal tender and is backed by the Central Bank of Austria. Minted in 1/10, 1/4, ½, and 1 ounce weights, these coins carry €10, €25, €50, and €100 face values respectively and a fineness of .9999.
The Gold Philharmonic coin was first introduced in 1989 and has been produced continuously on an annual basis ever since. Unlike other gold bullion coins, the Philharmonics have retained a similar design throughout the entirety of their existence. While other coins feature annual design alterations, Philharmonics are minted with the same beauty and attention to detail year after year. To put this coin series’ wild popularity in perspective, it was hailed as the best-selling coin in 1992, 1995, and again in 1996 (according to the World Gold Council).
The coin was introduced as a means of celebrating the Philharmonic orchestra that is a constant source of pride for every Austrian. The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra was founded shortly before 1850 and is often considered to be the world’s best. The Austrian capital city of Vienna is where the orchestra calls home, but it has played for audiences all over the world throughout its storied history. Austrians have long been proud of their orchestra, so it comes as no surprise that there is a coin minted to commemorate it. This is not the only coin series minted by the Austrian Mint, but it is without a doubt the most widely recognized.
The wholly unique design of the Philharmonic coin series is what captures the awe of investors and collectors the world over. Seeing as this coin series was minted as a means of celebrating the historic Vienna Philharmonic, the imagery it boasts is based entirely on the famed orchestra.
The coin’s obverse depicts the great organ found in the Musikverein Golden Hall, the home of the Vienna Philharmonic. The coin’s year of minting, face value, and weight are all also listed on the obverse side. What really captures the attention of anyone glancing at this coin is the intricacy of the organ’s design.
The reverse side of Gold Philharmonics feature an array of instruments, all of which are hallmarks of the Viennese orchestra. Included on the coin’s reverse is a string bass, cellos, violins, a harp, bassoon, and a Viennese horn.
Another unique facet of the Gold Philharmonic’s design is the absence of any pagan imagery. Ancient Greek and Roman gods regularly appear on gold coins produced both in the past and present day, but the Philharmonic is a rare exception. What’s more, the Philharmonics are also free of any images depicting living beings such as animals or people. The fact that this coin’s design is free of so many things that are standard on other gold coins makes it that much rarer and more unique.
The Gold Philharmonic is minted in 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz weights. Strangely enough, the 1/4th and 1 oz Gold Philharmonics were first minted in 1989 while the 1/10th oz version was added in 1991 and the ½ oz variety in 1994. The annual mintages of each coin is dependent on demand and can range from as little as 30,000 coins to as many as 700,000+ minted in a given year.
Unlike most other coin series, the Gold Philharmonics are rarely found in sizes other than those which are produced year in and year out. With that said, 2004 saw the Austrian Mint produce 15 1,000 ounce Gold Philharmonics, each boasting a face value of €100,000. In 2014, the Austrian Mint introduced a 1/25 oz coin to celebrate 25 years of Gold Philharmonics. The special edition 1/25 oz coin is accompanied in a special commemorative holder by a standard 1 oz Gold Philharmonic. Only 5,000 of these sets were minted.
Individual Gold Philharmonics will be packaged in protective vinyl coin flips, but orders of 10 or increments of 10 coins will be encased in a plastic sealed tube as they arrive to us from the mint. Despite there being four (now five) sizes of the Gold Philharmonic, the most commonly found size is without a doubt the 1 oz variety. The massive popularity of this particular Gold Philharmonic is shown through annual mintages that regularly exceed 250,000. In recent years, across all sizes of the coin, annual mintages approach and often exceed 1,000,000 total coins.