Gold Philharmonic Coins
|Face Value||100 €|
|Gold||1.000 troy oz|
|Years of minting||1989–present|
|Design||Musikverein Pipe Organ|
The gold Vienna Philharmonic coin is a gold bullion coin produced by the Austrian Mint (Münze Österreich AG). It is named for the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra (Wiener Philharmoniker), which inspires the design of both sides of the coin.
The gold Philharmonic coin was first introduced in 1989 with a face value of 2,000 Austrian schillings (ATS). The gold Philharmonic coin is generally one of the world’s best selling bullion coins. In 2002, the face value of the one-ounce coin was changed to €100 with the adoption of the Euro currency. In 2008, the Austrian Mint introduced a one-ounce silver coin version of the coin with a face value of €1.50. The silver coin is also one of the top selling bullion coins, ranked third in 2013.
Like any bullion coin, the value is based primarily on the metal content and the spot price of that metal on the commodities markets. The gold Philharmonic has a fineness of 999.9 (often written 0.9999, also known as 24 carat or 99.99% pure). In most countries in Europe, the gold Philharmonic is traded VAT-free while the Silver Philharmonic is partly subject to a reduced VAT rate.
Gold Philharmonic Coin Design
The design on the coin remains the same each year; only the year of issue changes. From The front (obverse) of the coin shows the pipe organ in the Vienna Musikverein Golden Hall. The reverse side of the coin depicts instruments of the Vienna Philharmonic, including a Vienna horn, bassoon, harp, and four violins centered around a cello. Both designs were produced by Thomas Pesendorfer, the chief engraver of the Austrian Mint.
The gold Philharmonic coin was first offered on October 10, 1989. It was initially minted in only two sizes: one troy ounce and one-quarter ounce. The one-tenth and one-half ounce coins came later in 1991 and 1994 respectively. All coins feature the same design with the only difference being the weight and face value shown. In 2014, a 1/25 ounce coin was introduced with a face value of €4.00. The popularity of the Philharmonic grew quickly. In 1990, the coin was the best selling in Europe and second in the world. In 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000 the World Gold Council declared it the best-selling gold coin in the world. Between 1989 up to 2012, more than 14 million Philharmonics were sold for a total weight of 9.6 million ounces (approximately 329 tons of gold).
Since February 1, 2008, a 1-ounce silver version of the coin with a nominal value of €1.50 has been issued, struck from 99.9% pure silver. Unlike the reeded edge of the gold coin, the edge of the silver coin is smooth. Coins are shipped in boxes of 500, called “monster boxes.” Each monster box consists of 25 tubes of 20 coins each. Sales of the silver Philharmonic have been brisk with over five million coins sold, equal to 1,800 tons of silver in the 5-year period of 2008 through 2012.
Although it is only legal tender in Austria, the Philharmonic is currently the only European bullion coin with a face value in euros. In 2004, the Philharmonic accounted for 35 to 40% of sales in Europe. It is also popular in Japan and North America.
Gold Philharmonic specifications:
|Size||Diameter||Thickness||Weight||Face value||Years minted|
|1/25 ozt||13.0 mm||1.2441 g||€4||from 2014|
|1/10 ozt||16.0 mm||1.2 mm||3.121 g||€10||ATS 200||from 1991|
|1/4 ozt||22.0 mm||1.2 mm||7.776 g||€25||ATS 500||from 1989|
|1/2 ozt||28.0 mm||1.6 mm||15.552 g||€50||ATS 1,000||from 1994|
|1 ozt||37.0 mm||2.0 mm||31.103 g||€100||ATS 2,000||from 1989|
In 2004, for the 15th anniversary of the Philharmonic coin, the Austrian Mint created a 1,000 ounce version with nominal value €100,000. The coin, called “Big Phil”, consists of 31.103 kg of pure gold. The coin is 10 times the size of the one-ounce coin, yielding a diameter of 37 cm and 2 cm thickness. It was one of the largest coins with the highest denomination until it was eclipsed in 2007 by the Royal Canadian Mint’s 100 kg version of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf with a face value of $1,000,000 CA. Only fifteen €100,000 Philharmonics were produced. The coin was unveiled in front of the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel in Vienna. One of the coins is displayed in the foyer of the Munich headquarters of precious metals company, Pro Aurum.
20-ounce gold coin
For the 20th anniversary of the Philharmonic coin, the Austrian Mint created a new coin size, with a face value of €2,000 and a fine weight of 20 troy ounces (622 grams). The diameter is 74 mm with a thickness of 8.3 mm. At the time of issue in October 2009, the material value was around €14,000. Due to the limited minting, the coin was sold at a premium of approximately 10% above the gold spot price. The total circulation of these coins was 6,027 (providing 2,009 coins in each of the European, American, and Japanese markets), which were sold in velvet-lined wooden cases with certificates.
1/25 ounce gold coin
In 2014, the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin, the mint created a small, 1/25 ounce version of the coin, featuring the same design, but with a face value of €4.00. Also in celebration of the 25th anniversary, 5,000 proof sets of the 1 ounce and 1/4 ounce coins were produced. Production of the 1/25th ounce coin continued in 2015.