Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coins
Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coins are among the world’s most popular, despite the fact that they were first struck only three years ago, in 2008. They are bought, sold, and traded all across the surface of the planet, wherever resources are sufficient to provide a market for silver bullion coins. These coins make an excellent addition to your collection, both as a bullion store of value, and because of their collectible nature. The price of Philharmonic Silvers is likely to increase above silver spot value, commanding a considerable premium as the years go on.
Purchasing Austrian Philharmonic Silver coins can be carried out online through a number of different authorized dealers. The Austrian Mint website has an online store page which allows Austrian citizens to purchase coins directly from that institution. However, foreign collectors are not neglected either, and when you select your country from a dropdown menu on the Austrian Mint main page, you are redirected automatically to an authorized dealer in the appropriate nation.
Older Austrian Philharmonic Silver coins are also available on the secondary market, including such high quality sites as APMEX (American Precious Metal Exchange), as well as brick and mortar coin sellers.
Properties of Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coins
Although the original Philharmonic Gold coins are issued in five different weights – 1/10 ounce, ¼ ounce, ½ ounce, 1 ounce, and 1,000 ounces – the Philharmonic Silver Coins are issued only in the most common bullion coin weight – 1 troy ounce. Probably, more sizes will be issued as time goes on, but these silver coins are extremely new, having first been struck in 2008, and with the natural conservatism of mints, it will likely be some time before the Austrian Mint produces different sizes.
The Austrian Philharmonic Silver coins are extremely well made, to the peak standards that mankind is capable of in silver metallurgy at this time. The fineness of the Philharmonic Silvers is 99.9%, putting them on a par with the world’s other bullion coins, but still behind the fineness of the Canadian Silver Maple, which retains a slight advantage in this regard with its 99.99% purity.
The weight is precisely 1 troy ounce, or 31.103 grams. The coins are smaller and thicker than many other coins, though not greatly – their diameter is 1.46 inches (37 mm), and their thickness is 0.13 inches (3.2 mm). The face value of the coins is set at €1.50.
The obverse of the Austrian Silver Philharmonic shows the pipe organ that stands in the Golden Concert Hall of Vienna’s Musikverien, a magnificent instrument known as the Great Pipe Organ, which was constructed in 1907. Arched above the pipe organ are the words “Republik Osterreich”, while beneath it are various sizes of text proclaiming “1 Unze Finesilber” (“1 ounce of fine silver”), the year, and “1,50 Euro”. The edges are smooth and are not reeded.
The reverse of the coin is the more popular side for aesthetic reasons – as is usually the case with bullion coins. The image which appears here is often described as a “bouquet” of musical instruments, and this is an apt description. The distinctive, highly attractive forms of a French horn, a harp, a cello, four violins, and another wind instrument appear arranged in a fan shaped array. The legend “Wiener Philharmoniker” appears at the top of the reverse, and immediately under it, in tiny letters, the word “Silber” is inscribed.
History of the Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coins
Austria, and the cultural patronage that the Holy Roman Emperors so diligently pursued during their centuries of rule from their capital in Vienna, have bequeathed a wondrous heritage of music to the world. Many other beautiful pieces of music – uplifting the heart to noble thoughts, and speaking to the soul – have been produced elsewhere, but Austria can surely claim one of the strongest concentrations of musical history and achievement to be found in any one nation in the world.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was formed in 1842 to take advantage of this astonishing trove of harmonic treasure, and has an interestingly democratic structure in contrast to the imperial past of the city. The musicians vote on which pieces to perform during each season, and all other matters relating to the Orchestra’s business are decided by a simple majority, with each musician having one equal vote. Another of its unique features is that it has only guest conductors, no full-time conductor, and has been conducted by many of the most famous men and women of the 20th century.
Famed for its excellence – and believed by many to be among the finest orchestras in the world – the Vienna Philharmonic is a source of both national prestige and international profit to Austria. It is hardly surprising, then, that the Austrian Mint should decide to issue bullion coinage with imagery relating to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with it distinctive tone and highly Viennese traditions.
The Philharmonic Gold coin was first introduced in 1989, struck out of 99.99% pure, 24 carat gold. In three years during the early to mid 1990s, the Philharmonic Gold coins even outdid Krugerrands in sales worldwide, a rare distinction for any modern gold coin to achieve. The beauty of the coin, the high production values of the Austrian Mint, and the well-deserved international renown of the Vienna Philharmonic has assured that sales of this coin continue robust to this day.
In what seems to be an inevitable pattern in modern silver coin mintage, the Austrian Mint decided to start producing Philharmonic Silvers following the success of the Philharmonic Gold coins. The Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coin was first struck in 2008, and new coins have been made available in every year since then. Basically, the design of the coin is an exact clone of the Philharmonic Gold, except for the metal in which it is struck. Thus, this tribute to one of the foremost cultural institutions of our day continues, in the highly popular form of one troy ounce silver bullion coins.