Austria was the home of a dynasty which dominated Central Europe for almost 700 years. The Hapsburg family thought they were the followers of the Roman emperors, that is why they chose to be represented by a two-headed eagle which can look east and west at the same time. The fate of this dynasty had a great influence on Austria and on the history of the entire world, since it is there that the spark which led to the First World War jumped from.
This country minted several gold coins throughout time, some for trade and other as bullion. The most famous of them is the ducat. Its name comes from the inscription bore by the first coins of this type, which have appeared in Venice in 1140. The word „ducatus“ referred to the duchy of Venice. Because it was easy to mint and valuable the ducat became very popular.
Austria issued its first ducats in 1612. They continued being the trade coin all over Europe until World War I. After that event the ducats which have appeared were simply re-strikes, commemorating the „last great monarch of Europe“ which was Franz Josef. His face appears on the obverse of these coins while the symbol of the Hapsburg dynasty, the two headed eagle wearing their coat of arms, adorns the reverse. Nowadays these coins are only produced as bullion for investors or for passionate numismatists.
But the ducat is not the only gold coin minted in Austria. At the same time when they were used, the Florins were also on the market. After them, the Gold Crowns appeared with 10, 20 and 100 denominations. Nevertheless, the ducats remain the highest purity gold coins issued for circulation being made of an alloy which consisted of 986 parts Au, and 14 parts Cu. Just like the actual gold sovereigns, the ducats have remained an important part of any collector’s items or an investment worthwhile.
Under the tradition of bullion coins, Austria minted the Philharmonicas. These are meant to celebrate the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, appreciated worldwide. Their face value is of 100 Euro, and they are made of one of the purest materials, an alloy which includes 999 parts Au and 1 part Cu.