The Vienna Philharmonic gold coin is the most successful bullion coin in Europe. The coin was awarded the title "best-selling coin in the world," four times by the World Gold Council. With a fineness of 999.9/1000 it is a pure 24 karat gold coin. The Vienna Philharmonic gold coins are available in 5 different weights.
Weight & Size
The Vienna Philharmonic gold coins were introduced in 1989 in two sizes, the 1 oz and ¼ oz. In 1991, the 1/10 oz and in 1994 the ½ oz coins were added to the series. For the 25th anniversary of the Philharmonic in 2014, the smallest denomination of 1/25 oz was added. Because the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin is produced with a pure 24K (999.9/1000) alloy, the gross weight is equal to the fine weight, with a deviation of a thousandth.
OuncesNominal ValueFineweightDiameterThicknessMinted from
1 oz 100 Euro / 2,000 ÖS 31.103 g 37.0 mm 2.0 mm 1989
1/2 oz 50 Euro / 1,000 ÖS 15.552 g 28.0 mm 1.6 mm 1994
1/4 oz 25 Euro / 500 ÖS 7.776 g 22.0 mm 1.2 mm 1989
1/10 oz 10 Euro / 200 ÖS 3.11 g 16.0 mm 1.2 mm 1991
1/25 oz 4 Euro 1.244 g 13.0 mm
The Vienna Philharmonic gold coin has been produced consistently with 24 karat purity since 1989. The advantage here is the fine weight is equal to the gross weight of the coin. A disadvantage is that a high fineness of 999.9/1000 results in a poor scratch resistance because gold is a very soft metal. Therefore, gold coins that have been in circulation as well as some bullion coins today (the new Sovereign, Krugerrand, American Eagle) are minted with a 22 karat alloy. This alloy, with proportions of copper or silver, give the coins more durability and as a result are less prone to surface scratches. Karat (fineness) is specified in a 24 division. With 24 karat, a gold content of 100% should be the case, but that is only theoretically possible. Most 24 karat gold coins will have a fine gold content of 99.9%.
Common Karat Units
24 K 999/1000
22 K 916.7/1000
The Vienna Philharmonic gold coin has been minted by the Austrian Mint since 1989. Headquartered in Vienna, the Austrian Mint emerged from the transformation of the “Wiener Hauptmünzamtes” into a corporation. The owner of the Austrian Mint is the Austrian National Bank. The introduction of the Vienna Philharmonic in 1989 was related to the import ban of the Krugerrand, which was imposed by the United States and the European Community in 1986.
The first edition consisted of 351,000 coins for the 1 oz size and 272,000 for the ¼ oz edition. The highest annual mintage was 835,700 for the 1oz coin in 2009. The mintage years 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000 were awarded “best selling coin in the world” by the World Gold Council. Estimates say that the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin had a market share of 35% to 40% in Europe in 2004.
Introduction Years of Different Weights and Sizes
1 oz 1989
1/4 oz 1989
1/10 oz 1991
1/2 oz 1994
1/24 oz 2014
Gold Coins Issued After the Import Ban of the South African Krugerrand in 1986
1986 Australian Nugget (Australia - Royal Perth Mint)
1987 American Eagle (United States - U.S Mint)
1987 Britannia (UK - Royal British Mint)
1989 Wiener Philharmoniker (Austria - Austrian Mint AG)
1990 Kangaroo (Australia - Royal Perth Mint)
Big Phil - 2004
For the 15 year anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin, a 1,000-ounce version with a total number of 15 pieces was coined by the Austrian Mint. The nominal value of the “Big Phil” is 100,000 Euro with a fine weight of 31.103 kg gold. The diameter is 37.0 cm and the thickness is 2.0 cm. Thus, the “Big Phil” is also the largest gold coin in the world with a value of approximately 1,000,000 Euro. The collectors value is estimated to be twice the gold value. On 5th October 2004, for the 15 year anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin, a Gala in front of one of Vienna's landmarks, the Giant Ferris Wheel, was organised. For this, the entire Ferris wheel was turned into an over-sized gold coin to create an even bigger appearance for the festivities.
20 oz Gold Coin
To celebrate 20 years of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin, a special edition was issued. It has a weight of 20 ounces at a nominal value of 2,000 euros.
Appearance & Name
The design of the Philharmonic, was created by the Austrian coin designer and Chief of Engraving Thomas Pesendorfer, who is still working for the Austrian Mint. He has won numerous awards. The name of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coin derives from the motif. The back of the coin shows the Organ of the Viennese music society which is in the large hall. Every year the world-famous Vienna New Year's Concert is held in the great hall, which has a capacity for 2,000 spectators. In a semicircle, above the motif of the organ, are the words "Republik Österreich", which translates into “Republic of Austria”. Below the motif, the weight, year of issue and the nominal value can be seen. The front of the coin (obverse) shows eight important instruments of the orchestra. In the front lower part, four string instruments and a cello are centrally placed. Behind is a bassoon, a horn and a harp. Above the motif in a semicircle is the word "Wiener Philharmoniker" which translates to “Vienna Philharmonic” is imprinted in capitals.
Benefits Vienna Philharmonic
+ Globally recognised bullion coin
+ Consistent motif providing better recognition
+ Tradeable in small quantities
+ Relatively recession-proof
+ Storeable in a small space
24 K and therefore very scratch sensitive
Purchase & Sale of Vienna Philharmonic
Vienna Philharmonics are available for purchase at most banks, with precious metals dealers and also with online bullion dealers. The current edition is mostly sold “mint-state and uncirculated” which means the coin price is slightly higher than with backdated editions that have been in circulation.
The value of the Vienna Philharmonic gold coins is always based on the current gold price, because it is a pure bullion coin.
Manufacturer: Austrian Mint AG
Country of origin: Austria
First Year of Mintage: 1989
Karat: 24 K
Gold percentage: 99.99%
Scratch resistance: Poor