The Vienna Philharmonic gold coin is one of the most popular gold bullion coins in the world, on record as the best-selling gold coin in 1992, 1995, and 1996. It is made of 99.99% fine gold, also known as 24 karat gold. A new minting takes place every year, with four different denominations normally available. Those denominations are 1 troy oz, 1/2 troy oz, 1/4 troy oz, and 1/10 troy oz. These are the standard denominations that most bullion series coins are avaiable in.
Until 2001, Vienna Philharmonics' face value was listed in Austrian Schillings, but since 2002 has been listed in Euros. To the best of my knowledge this is the only bullion coin series to have ever been minted in two different currencies! The 1 oz coins have a face value of 100 Euros, the 1/2 oz coins have a face value of 50 Euros, the 1/4 oz coins have a face value of 25 Euros, and the 1/10 oz coins have a face value of 10 Euros. Though as is usually the case, the face value has no bearing on the true value of the bullions coins, whose value is determined by the spot price of gold.
In 2004 15 special Philharmonic gold coins were struck. These special coins contain 1000 ounces of pure gold bullion! They weigh in at a hefty 31.103 kg (69 pounds), and have a diameter of 370 mm (14.57 inches). That's bigger than a large pizza! The face value of these insanely massive collectors coins is 100,000 Euros, though the spot price of their gold content is currently 735,220 Euros (US$936,850).
The Wiener Philharmoniker gold coin (as it is referred to in German) is dedicated to Austria's national philharmonic orchestra, one of the finest orchestras in the world and a source of national pride for Austrians. The coin's image was designed by Thomas Pesendorfer, with the obverse face showing the great organ in the concert hall of the philharmonic: the Musikverein. The reverse shows a near-symmetrical arrangement of orchestral instruments. Their lovely design makes them treasured by not only investors but also numismatic collectors.
Philharmonic coins do have legal tender status in Austria, but unlike regular Austrian Euro coins philharmonics are not legal tender throughout the entire European Union. Their legal tender status is limited to Austria, and their bullion value independent of the Euro makes them an impractical means of exchange. The reason that some bullion such as Philharmonics are given legal tender status is to simplify the trade of these coins across borders. For example, in some countries it is illegal to own gold bullion, but it is legal to own a legal tender foreign currency. Giving legal tender status to bullion coins therefore provides a loophole for the sale of small amounts of gold. Also, having a face value drastically simplifies the process of applying taxes and tariffs to coins. Applying taxes and tariffs to shifting gold spot prices would be logistical nightmare.
The gold Vienna Philharmonic coin is the first gold coin to have ever had its image shown on the side of an airplane. The Philharmonic appeared on the Austrian Airlines Airbus A340.
Vienna Philharmonic coins are also available in silver.