The coin’s front or obverse side depicts Vienna’s Golden Hall along with the coin’s specifications (purity, size, face value, etc.) The Vienna gold coin features a panoply of musical instruments used by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on its rear, along with the text “WIENER PHILHARMONIKER,” which means “Vienna Philharmonic” in English.
The Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins are minted in various sizes: 1 troy ounce, 1/2, 1/4, 1/10, and 1/25 troy ounces. The coins have been minted in Vienna by the Austrian Mint since 1989. The mint makes the coins as per market demand, meaning the production numbers vary considerably between years. The design, however, remains the same, except for the year of minting.
One of the leading coin producers in the world, the Austrian Mint backs the purity and weight of its gold Philharmonic coin. The coin has been minted since 1989, and no quality concerns have come up since then, making the coin one of the most sought-after and trade-friendly bullion coins worldwide.
About Gold Coins
Investing in gold is straightforward, albeit the various avenues at the investor’s disposal. You can buy physical gold (coins and bars) or own them on paper (gold stocks, gold ETFs, etc.) or virtually. Gold jewelry, although inherently valuable, is not a viable form of investment since it usually isn’t pure gold. Gold bars offer slightly more gold for the money than gold coins since they’re plain slabs with little work going into their making.
On the other hand, bullion coins have unique designs and attention to detail, which the buyer must pay a small premium for. That said, not all gold coins have an artistic flair to them. Only a handful do. Out of those, very few have historicity and cultural significance. The Austrian Philharmonic gold coin is one of them.
In this article, we’ll discuss the coin’s:
- Metal contents and variants
- Design and value
- Prices and how/where to buy
- Tips on buying the coin
- Answers to all common questions about the coin and more
Read on to learn about the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin in great detail and ascertain if it’s worth snagging a few.
About the Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin
The Austrian Philharmonic gold coin is named after the famed Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The Austrian Mint produces the currency in gold, silver, and platinum. The gold coin is one of the world’s most popular gold coins. The gold Philharmonic coin was first introduced in 1989 and has been minted ever since every year. The original coin weighed one troy ounce, bearing a 2,000 Austrian schillings face value. In 2002, three years after Austria adopted the euro in 1999, the Austrian Mint altered the one-ounce coin’s face value to 100 euros.
The gold coin is meant to showcase the rich musical heritage of Austria and pedestal the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the national pride. Before the Austrian Mint changed the denomination to euros, the bullion coin’s face value was the highest among gold bullion coins. Also, the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin is the only European bullion coin to be denominated in two currencies: the schilling and the euro.
Unlike several other gold bullion coins, Vienna Philharmonic coins have been produced since their inception, with no breaks in between. That means non-stop production for more than three decades. The design has remained the same throughout. The coin is so historical that it is the only bullion coin to ever be showcased on an airplane’s exterior.
Initially, only the one-ounce and 1/4-ounce variations were minted. The bigger coin was meant for investors, and the smaller one was for regular Austrians keen on investing. The one-tenth coin was issued in 1991, and ½-ounce coins were released in 1994. In 2004, to mark the coin’s 15th anniversary, the Austrian Mint made 15 1,000-ounce Vienna Philharmonic coins with a €100,000 face value. Dubbed the “Big Phil,” the gigantic coin’s current retail price (as of November 2022) should be $1,756,870 or €1,687,970.
In 2009, to commemorate the Philharmonic coin’s 20th anniversary, the Austrian Mint came up with a 20-ounce Philharmonic coin with a €2,000 face value. It weighed 20 troy ounces (622 grams), was 8.3 mm (0.3 in) thick, and had a 74 mm (3 in) diameter. The coin was valued at approximately €14,000, an approximate 10 percent premium of gold’s purchase price then. More than 6,000 of these 20-ounce coins have been made.
The Vienna Philharmonic coin comes in four troy-ounce sizes: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/10, and 1/25. The smallest coin was first issued in 2014 and has been in production since then. The one-troy-ounce coin is the biggest pure gold coin of its size in the world, diameter-wise. Here are the specifications of the various sizes laid out for a quick comparison:
|Denomination||1 t oz||1/2 t oz||1/4 t oz||1/10 t oz||1/25 t oz|
|Diameter||37 mm||28 mm||22 mm||16 mm||13 mm|
|Thickness||2 mm||1.6 mm||1.2 mm||1.14 mm||0.92 mm|
|Weight||31.10 g||15.55 g||7.78 g||3.11 g||1.4 g|
Why Invest in the Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin?
The Austrian Philharmonic 24-karat gold coin is arguably the best-selling gold coin in Europe and one of the most popular gold coins in the world, alongside the American Eagle, British Sovereign, Canadian Maple, Mexican Libertad, Australian Kangaroo, and the Chinese Panda gold coins.
The World Gold Council adjudicated gold Vienna Philharmonic coins as the best-selling gold coin in the world in 2000, 1996, 1995, and 1992. Within a short span, the Vienna Philharmonic coin accounted for 30 to 40 percent of the investment coins sold in Europe.
Europe is a major market for Vienna Philharmonic coins, besides North America. The coin has been gaining traction in the Asian markets, too, particularly among coin collectors and investors in Japan and China. The gold Vienna Philharmonic coin is the only European bullion coin to have traveled that far. Such heightened popularity means the Vienna Philharmonic coin has solid resale potential.
If selling bullion coins is your vocation, not trading the Philharmonic coin is missed opportunity. That is especially when considering how popular the Philharmonic coin is and the increasing number of people who buy and keep the currency in their private collection for its high quality, beauty, and purity. More than 14 million Vienna Philharmonics have been sold to date, and the number will only increase.
Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin Design
The Austrian Philharmonic gold coin design symbolizes the country’s culture and pride. Thomas Pesendorfer, an Austrian engraver, designed the gold Philharmonic coin.
The obverse or front side showcases the picture of Vienna’s concert hall, called the “Golden Hall,” where the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs. The Philharmonic Orchestra theme was zeroed in since music is universal. Accompanying the image are other pertinent texts and numbers, including “REPUBLIK OSTERREICH” (Republic of Austria), minting year, face value (in euros), coin purity, and weight. The coin’s edges are reeded or have grooves.
The coin’s reverse side depicts various musical instruments (four violins, cello, Viennese horn, harp, and string bass), representing the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Near the coin’s edges at the top, the text “WIENER PHILHARMONIKER” is inscribed, meaning “Vienna Philharmonic,” forming an arc above the orchestral assembly.
Unlike other bullion coins, the design of the Vienna Philharmonic coin has remained the same throughout.
Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin Metal Contents
The Austrian Philharmonic is 24-karat, 99.99 percent pure gold, or 999.9 fine across all its sizes. That means the bullion coin qualifies for a precious metals IRA on the purity front (more on that later). The 24-karat makeup makes the Austrian Philharmonic one of the purest popular gold bullion coins in the world, alongside the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin.
Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin Proof Coin
For the coin’s 25th anniversary, the Austrian Mint made 5,000 proof versions of the 1-ounce and one-quarter-ounce Philharmonic gold coins. The other versions reportedly have had no proof sets.
Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin Value
Although the gold Philharmonic has a “face value,” it’s purely symbolic. The coin’s actual value is much higher based on its metal content and the spot gold prices in the commodities market. For instance, this 1/25-ounce Philharmonic gold coin trades at a much higher price than its face value.
Also, based on how rare and coveted the coin is, it could trade at a premium. As mentioned above, the 20th-anniversary coins were selling at a premium since they were unique and only a limited number were minted. Even if not an anniversary coin, the coin usually trades at a slight premium above current gold market prices.
Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin Prices and Where to Buy
The Austrian Philharmonics sell for a price slightly above their melt values or weight in gold. The marginal premium is usually in line with popular bullion coins, like the Maple Leafs and American Eagles. Check the Austrian Mint’s official website link below for the exact prices. Regarding availability, the Vienna Philharmonic coin is readily available online and offline. For example, you can easily buy the currency in Central Europe and store it in Das Safe or a similar place.
If you live in the U.S., the chances of finding the coin in a local store are lesser than in Europe. The currency is less popular than the Maple Leafs and Gold Eagles across U.S. national dealers. The coins are readily available online at both U.S. and Europe online retailers, thanks to the coin being in active production. Not to mention, you can buy the coins directly from the Austrian Mint. If you’re buying it from the U.S., extra costs for shipping and customs shall apply.
Which Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin Variant Should You Buy?
The best Austrian Philharmonic gold coin variant to buy or invest in is the 1-ounce coin. As stated above, the Austrian Mint made the coin to cater to investors, and that sentiment remains true to date. The variant is the best-seller and the most successful version of all Vienna Philharmonic coins. Look at the smaller coins only if budget is a constraint. Since designs are the same across all variants, there’s no other valid reason to buy the smaller ones.
Consider the anniversary pieces if you want to collect the more unique versions. Since they were made in limited quantities, they’d be hard to find and shall trade at a premium. The proof versions are an option if you want speckless Vienna Philharmonics in impeccable packaging. But kindly note that you cannot have any Vienna Philharmonic coin in proof condition. Only two versions of the currency come as proof sets, as mentioned before.
The Vienna Philharmonic gold bullion coin is significant to gold coin collectors and investors in Austria, Europe, and North America. Only a handful of non-US gold bullion is recognized in America, like the Philharmonic coin. The coin is made of pure gold and is one of the few continuously produced for decades without breaks. It’s elegant, uniform, and coveted within the investment community.
To have made a name after the likes of the American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and the South African Krugerrand established themselves as veritable gold bullion coins is a feat in itself. The Austrian Mint and government deserve accolades for that.
To build a precious metal coins portfolio, begin with the American Eagle and the Canadian Maple Leaf coins. Later, add the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin to diversify the collection and lend more credibility. If you’re a buccaneering investor and not conservative, start your precious coin collecting or investing journey with the Philharmonics.
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Why is the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin so popular?
Besides being among the most popular bullion coins in the world, the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin has an elegant, culture-rich, and consistent design. The European influences in the design lend the coin uniqueness, which appeals to several investors and coin collectors. The coin’s popularity also means liquidity and solid resale value. And since the coin is pure gold, it performs well during an economic crisis, attracting investors with “financial security” in mind.
Is the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin IRA eligible?
Yes, the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin is precious metal IRA-eligible since it meets the IRS’ bullion purity and other requirements. For instance, the Austrian Mint is not only one of the oldest mints in the world but also IRS-recognized.
Are Austrian Philharmonic gold coins a good investment?
The Austrian Philharmonic gold coins are a good investment since they are pure gold. If not anything, they’re worth their weight in gold. And because gold prices climb steadily over time, the value of your Philharmonic gold coins will also go up as time progresses.
Can I buy just one Vienna Philharmonic gold coin?
You can buy a solitary Vienna Philharmonic gold coin. However, some dealers may sell them in a bundle. The least-denominated coins are usually solid in units of five or ten. It’s recommended not to buy a single coin due to lesser efficiency. Not to mention, buying more coins often translates to a better deal.
Austrian Philharmonic gold coin vs. American Gold Eagle coin: What’s the difference?
The Vienna Philharmonic is a 24-karat gold coin, which the American Gold Eagle coin is not. It’s 91.7 percent pure gold. The designs are, of course, different. Its front features the Statute of Liberty image. The Roman liberty goddess holds a torch in one hand and an olive branch in another.
The coin’s reverse has two eagles showcased—one eagle is positioned in its nest, and the other is flying toward the crib with an olive branch under its grip. Also, the 1-ounce American Eagle is denser than the equivalent Philharmonic coin. The latter, however, is marginally bigger.
Austrian Philharmonic gold coin vs. Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin: What’s the difference?
The Austrian Philharmonic and Canadian Maple Leaf are 99.99 percent pure gold coins. Since the coins are Austrian and Canadian, the designs are unique or pay tribute to their respective cultures. The Maple Leaf coin has the profile imagery of Queen Elizabeth II of Canada. The reverse side depicts one of the primary Canadian symbols, the maple leaf.
Like the Philharmonic coin, the Canadian Maple Leaf also comes in multiple sizes. The exact size or weight, however, varies. For instance, the Maple Leaf has a 1/20-ounce coin, which the Vienna Philharmonic doesn’t. But it doesn’t have a 1/25-ounce variant. The Maple Leaf coins are smaller than equivalent Austrian Philharmonics but thicker.
How can you tell a fake Austrian Philharmonic gold coin?
The fake Austrian Philharmonic could weigh lesser or more than the original coin. Its other physical dimensions, such as thickness and diameter, could also differ. Typically, a fake Austrian Philharmonic doesn’t have the same dimensions and weight as the original one, as it’s difficult to mimic the density of gold. Therefore, if the size, thickness, and weight are identical to the real coin, the coin is most likely not fake.
And since the coin is pure gold, do all tests that prove it’s fully gold (including magnet, float, float, and acid tests). Look for fading at the coin’s edges under a lamp or bright light. Real gold doesn’t lose shine. Also, do the ping test, or check how long-lasting the ping is. If there’s a real Philharmonic coin to compare with, things become easier to ascertain.
What is the Austrian Philharmonic gold coin worth?
The Austrian Philharmonic gold coin is worth its melt value. Because the Philharmonic gold coins are minted continuously, there are not “rare,” and, therefore, do not trade at a premium for that trait. But, as mentioned earlier, the coin sells at a slightly higher price than its melt value, thanks to the effort and resources put into designing and producing the coin. By the way, the original set of coins may trade at a higher price than the recently issued coins.
Are there Austrian Philharmonics in other precious metals?
Besides gold, the Austrian Philharmonic is also made of silver (99.9%) and platinum (99.95%). The first silver Philharmonic was released in 2008. The first platinum coin came about eight years later, in 2016, with a face value of 100 euros. Both coins weighed an ounce. The silver coin’s purity is not mentioned numerically. It’s described as “fine silver,” which means a minimum purity of 999/1000 or 0.999 fineness.
How durable is the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin?
Since gold is a soft metal, pure gold coins often lose shape and structure over time. The Vienna Philharmonic is a 24-karat coin, irrespective of its size. Despite the composition, not a lot of questions have risen about the coin’s rigidity. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find people complaining about the bullion coin being too soft.
Is the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin legal tender?
The Vienna Philharmonic gold coin is legal tender only in Austria, despite being denominated in euros. But since the face value and intrinsic value of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coins vary, using the currency in regular transactions is a complex endeavor.