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Austrian Gold Coins

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Austria is a country that is rich in culture and history, and, in the history of currency, it is one of the foremost European countries that has had a long history of gold coinage. During the height of Austria’s influence in the Western hemisphere, and even to this day, gold coinage still plays a strong and significant role in Austria’s identity. While gold coins were not integral to Austria’s economy, the production of gold coins for use as general currency was nevertheless commonplace during many periods, so that their monetary history is inextricably linked in one way or another to gold coinage. The earliest gold coins of Austria were much akin to those early gold rounds that were replete throughout the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages, but it is the modern gold coin of Austria – namely the coins minted during the height of the Austrian empire, and the gold coins expressly developed in this present day for investment purposes that are truly worthy of note owing to their highly artistic make and uniquely ornate aesthetics that make them prime examples of gold coinage.

A thing of note which many enthusiasts often selectively forget about Austrian gold coinage is that for a time, Austria itself did not produce its own type of coinage and chiefly used coins issued from other parts of Europe such as the ducat and the franc owing to the fact that, for a time, Austria was a member of the now defunct Latin Monetary Union. It was not until the early 1600s that they had minted their own gold coins replete with their own unique symbolism and aesthetics.

Among the many gold coins minted throughout the history of Austrian coinage, the gold ducat, the coronas, the florins and the more recent Philharmonikers are the most sought after.

The Austrian ducat was an early modern gold coin that became a common currency in Austria from the early 16th century onwards. Featuring the bust of Franz Joseph I on the obverse and the Austrian coat of arms on the reverse, it was a specially minted gold coin reserved for commercial uses and investment purposes in much the same way as gold bullion is used today. Typically made of 22 carat gold (composed of an alloy of 986mg of gold to 14 mg of copper), it did not possess legal tender unlike the other gold coins that preceded it and that would follow after it, although it was a highly coveted coin for use in large purchases and investments. The gold ducat is one of the most ornately designed gold coins ever minted, featuring detail replete with unparalleled workmanship displayed by its focus on both the overall design and the minutiae found in the struck images itself.[1]

When Austria joined the Latin Monetary Union, they followed suit with a gold coin expressly made for the Union, the Florin-Frank, which became Austria’s (or, more properly Austrio-Hungaria’s) official coinage from between 1870 to 1892. Despite being short-lived, it is a relatively popular gold coin owing to its superior minting detail. Composed of 900mg of gold alloyed with 100mg of copper, this coin, just like the Austrian ducat, was used as a type of bullion alongside being used as legal tender and general currency in regular transactions alongside the then-minted silver coinage that circulated alongside the gold ones.[2]

By the latter part of the 1900s, the gold coronas or crowns and the schillings or shillings followed. Of a similar gold alloy as the Florin-Franc, these gold coins were the first of a series of coinages expressly made under the observance of the Gold Standard which was adopted in Austria by the 1890s. These coins would later become the forerunners of modern gold coins created today.[3] Upon joining the European Monetary Union, Austria’s standard gold coin the schilling was later revamped to that of euro, giving rise to the ever-popular Vienna Philharmonic gold coin.

Unlike other gold coins of the latter decades, Austria’s gold coinage now ranks as among the few gold coins to truly be made from pure 24-karat gold. While the gold standard had long been abolished and Austria is left to use base-metal currency as does the rest of the world, their production of gold coinage continues. It is remarkable in the fact that even earlier examples of gold coins are still re-minted with the same designs, albeit in purer form for the sake of collectors and bullion investors. Austria’s gold coins are of great interest not only for bullion investors, but for historians and numismatists as there are a number of variations on one set of gold coinage depending on the era, and the domain in which they were minted, as then Austrian territories such as Lombardy, Hungary, and Venice had their own gold coins issued under express permission from Austria.

Today, Austrian gold coins usually revolve around re-mintage and commemorative gold coins created from 24-karat gold. Bi-metallic gold coins have also been created for euro commemorative gold coinages made for the sake of numismatists. Austria’s mint is one of the leading masters of coinage, incorporating doubly precious or rare metals such as palladium and niobium in a number of their commemorative coins, making a truly unique and highly valued currency that ranks as a work of art in itself.[4]



Austrian Gold Coins - References:

[1] http://www.austriancoins.com/gold.html [2] http://www.olympusgold.com/World_Gold_Coins/Austrian_Gold_Coins/austrian_gold_coins.html [3] http://www.taxfreegold.co.uk/austria.html [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_gold_and_silver_commemorative_coins_(Austria)





Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for coinandbullionpages.com © coinandbullionpages.com 2012

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