Roman Baudzus writes —
The Vienna Philharmonic has been minted by the Austrian Mint “Münze Österreich AG” since 1989. After Great Britain, Austria was the second state in Europe to start producing an official gold coin. Until 1991 the coin was minted in one ounce and quarter ounce versions. Due to the great sales success, a tenth-ounce coin was released in 1991, which was followed by a half-ounce in 1994. Every year, a new coin series is issued, though the motif on the coin never changes. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), in comparison to its competitors, the Vienna Philharmonic was the gold coin with the best sales in 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000.
On its front side, Vienna Philharmonic coins feature several different musical instruments, including a bassoon, contrabass, harp, cello, violin and Viennese horn. Above the instruments the coin´s name is minted in the shape of an arc. The back side shows the great organ in the hall of Vienna´s Musikverein, which also serves as the concert hall for the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Above the great organ the words “Republik Österreich” (Republic of Austria) are shown in capital letters. The weight and gold purity as well as the year of release are displayed underneath the great organ. On the coin´s bottom the nominal value is shown in the shape of an arc.
The Vienna Philharmonic is a 24-carat gold coin with a purity of 99.99% (.9999). With a diameter of 37 millimeters, the one-ounce coin is the largest among the bullion coins worldwide. The gold coin is minted in four different sizes, which all show the same design. The nominal value of the respective coin sizes differs of course. The one-ounce coin has a nominal value of 100 euros, while the smaller sizes have nominal values of 50 euros (1/2 ounce), 25 euros (1/4 ounce) and 10 euros (1/10 ounce). Before the introduction of the euro in 2002, the nominal value of the gold coin was displayed in Austrian Shillings. 2,000 shillings corresponded to one ounce, while the nominal value of half an ounce was 1,000 shillings, a quarter ounce at 500 shillings and a tenth ounce at 200 shillings. The coin´s nominal value has only a symbolic character. The value of the gold coins is solely determined by the daily gold prices at the New York Comex or the London LME. Up to its twentieth anniversary in 2009, about 12 million of these gold coins have been sold worldwide.
A limited edition of only 15 gold coins, each weighing 1,000 ounces, was issued on the Vienna Philharmonic’s 15th anniversary in 2004. This corresponds to a gold content of 31.103 kilograms. It is the largest gold coin of its kind worldwide, with a nominal value of 100,000 euros. In 2008 the Austrian Mint, which was founded in the year 1194, released a silver version of the Vienna Philharmonic, which displays the same motifs as the gold version. Only the nominal value differs. The silver version of the Vienna Philharmonic is the only European silver coin whose nominal value is denominated in euros. Since its release the silver coin has enjoyed great international popularity, with more than 13 million sales.