Austrian Philharmonic is one of the most popular gold coins today in the World. As a matter of fact, it is continuously one of the most popular gold coins in manufacturing. In this article, we are looking a little further behind the Philharmonic, its history, and interesting facts.
The Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin was first introduced on 10 October 1989. The original face value was 2,000 Austrian schillings*. In the same year, the Austrian Mint also became a publicly-traded company. The Austrian Philharmonic is a legal tender coin made from 99.99% pure gold. Philharmonic gold coin became hugely popular at the time of its first issue.
Interesting Fact: Austrian Philharmonic coin was voted the world’s best-selling coin by the World Gold Council in 1992, 1995, and 1996. (2)
*2000 Austrianschillings in 1989 were worth between 93-94 EUR according to PoundSterlingLive website.
Thomas Pesendorfer, Austria’s chief engraver since 1993, designed both sides of the famous Austrian Philharmonic gold coin. When the National Bank took over the main mint in 1989, the engraving department was commissioned to design a coin as a gold investment product in an internal competition. Various ideas were intended as motifs – St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Melk Abbey, Upper Austrian gold bonnet, or music. The latter hit the mark at Pesendorfer. He got the idea to create a motif in connection with the orchestra of the Vienna Philharmonic. (1 )
So he went to the orchestra’s secretariat and asked for an interview. The waiting room lady was skeptical – Pesendorfer was unable to produce an official letter (The matter with the coin was a secret at the time being) (1)
Interesting fact: the administrator almost prevented the design of the coin from becoming a reality.
Due to a lucky coincidence, contact with the Philharmonic orchestra was finally established. The wife of one of the board members happened to be present during the conversation between Pesendorfer and the administration lady. She told her husband about the strange visit. A short time later, Hellsberg called Thomas Pesendorfer at the mint and officially invited him to the archive. The search for a motif could begin. Then on October 10, 1989, the time had come and everything else is history. (1)
Perhaps the most iconic element of the Wiener Musikverein – the concert hall of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is the organ that stands at the center of the place. The organ performs a dual function, as it is also the focal point of the design of the obverse of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin. With a Greek-inspired design, it is only the fourth instrument relay installed by Wiener Musikverein since 1870.
The words ‘REPUBLIK ӦSTERREICH’ (‘Republic of Austria’) appear on the obverse of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic. The obverse depicts the organ of the Musikverein concert hall in Vienna. The Musikverein is home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and is considered one of the world’s foremost concert halls in terms of acoustics. Above the organ on the coin is the text “REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH”. Inscribed below the organ is the weight, purity, year of mintage, and the coin’s face value of 100 Euros.
When we talk about the historical gold coin of the Austrian Philharmonic, we have to talk about musical instruments. The Pesendorfer design on the back of the Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin says a lot. On the back (left to right) are the Viennese horn, bassoon, harp, two violins, cello, and two more violins. Together, they represent the interesting musical orchestras that visitors can expect from a concert. Above the instruments are the words “WIENER PHILHARMONIKER” (“Vienna Philharmonic”).