Austria — located to the south of Germany and often associated with the country's larger sphere of influence — is a nation with a long and storied cultural history. Its mint, in operation in various forms and locations for over eight centuries, has its own rich history in the numismatic arts. The Austrian Silver Philharmonic coin, the first-ever Euro-face-valued annual silver bullion coin line, is an example of the legacy of both the Austrian nation and the mint's skills at coinage.
The first records of a minting in Austria arguably occurred as a result of perfidy; Duke Leopold VI held England's King Richard the Lionheart for ransom following the Crusades. The ransom was paid in raw silver, and the Duke used it as the basis of the first run of coins for his country. For six centuries, the mint was nomadic, moving through various locations before landing in Heumarkt in the 19th century, where it remains to this day. Since 1988, the mint has also operated as a public company rather than an arm of government.
The modern mint is perhaps a bit more reputable than it was in Leopold VI's time. The mint presses several varieties of collector's silver coins, most commemorating moments in European history — such as the captivity of King Richard, the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the Belle Époque period. They also produce the Maria Theresa thaler, a coin line that has been struck in various locations for over 250 years.
The Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic line, an annual silver bullion coin pressing, is one of the crown jewels in this already-impressive portfolio. The Silver Philharmonic is the first and, thus far, only silver bullion coin with a Euro face value, 1.50. It was first struck in 2008 and consists of .999 fine silver, weighing in at one troy ounce.
The design, created in 1989 for an Austrian Schilling-valued gold bullion coin, features an obverse depicting the pipe organ from the world-famous Vienna Musikverein, and a reverse with a set of other orchestral string and wind instruments, including a violin, a French horn, and a bassoon. The front is inscribed “”Republik Österreich”” (German for “”Republic of Austria””), as well as “”1 Unze Feinsilber”” (one ounce of fine silver). The back identifies the institution being commemorated (“”Wiener Philharmoniker,”” or “”Vienna Philharmonic””) and the smaller word “”Silber”” (Silver).
Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonics are generally available as Brilliant Uncirculated coins, meaning that their condition is excellent overall, with no noticeable wear. The mint ships them this way, and most companies dealing in silver coins guarantee that this product remains in that unsullied condition. As coins at this condition level tend to fetch a good price, making sure that any purchased coins have such a guarantee is an important step to gathering coins for investment or collection.
The Silver Philharmonics appeal to modern collectors with an eye for contemporary value with a historic twist. While the coin line itself is less than a decade old, the long history of the Austrian Mint provides a sense of continuity that is a welcome assurance, and the design of the coin, rooted in the artistic heritage of Vienna, allows the purchaser to feel a part of something older and grander. The Euro face value provides another reassurance; although this value is considerably lower than either the collector value or the melt value of the coin, it serves as a guarantee of stable value.
With mintage numbers in the millions for each of its years of production, the Vienna Silver Philharmonic is a coin that is readily available to most interested parties. It is commonly found in Brilliant Uncirculated condition, maximizing its value. These coins are often offered in mint-sealed twenty-coin tubes, often priced for inclusion in investment portfolios, such as precious metal IRAs. As a relative newcomer to the coin world, the Silver Philharmonic has yet to see serious price hikes, making it a great entry-level coin for those seeking to establish a coin collection or precious metal investment portfolio.
JM Bullion is an excellent place to begin your search for bullion coins such as the Silver Philharmonic, offering both individual coins and the 20-coin rolls. Browse our site today, and begin your journey into the exciting world of precious coins.