The Silver Philharmonic bullion coins have been issued by the Austrian Mint since 2008. The introduction of the series followed the success of the Gold Philharmonic, which had been issued since 1989.
The obverse design for the coins features the Great Pipe Organ found in Vienna’s Golden Hall with the inscriptions “Republik Osterreich”, “1 Unze Feinsilber” (1 ounce pure silver), the date, and the denomination of “1.50 Euro”. The reverse design includes an arrangement of musical instruments including a cello, violins, Vienna horn, bassoon, and harp. The legend reads “Wiener Philharmoniker” (Vienna Philharmonic) with the word “Silber” below. The same design has been used for each year of the series.
Each coin is struck in one troy ounce of .999 fine silver with a plain edge. The series represents the first silver bullion coins that were denominated in Euros.
Sales of the Silver Philharmonic have risen dramatically in recent years. The total sales achieved for 2010 were 11,358,200 coins. For 2011, the amount rose to 17,873,700, representing a gain of 57.36%.
The coins have sometimes sold at premiums that are lower when compared to silver bullion coin offerings from other world mints. Back in 2009, I had purchased Silver Philharmonics in lieu of American Silver Eagles since the cost was about $2 lower per coin.
More recently, the difference in premium has not been as dramatic. A major bullion dealer has 2012-dated Silver Philharmonics as low as $2.29 per coin over spot, which is the same premium as the most recent dated Silver Maple Leafs and Silver Libertads, and only slightly lower than the $2.59 per coin over spot for Silver Eagles.