Austrian Mint celebrates the Salzburg Festival with an unusual flat-bottomed domed coin

Domed coins have been an interesting addition to the numismatic world since the Monnaie de Paris introduced its astronomy themed issue back in 2009, which was then popularised by a string of series featuring the same subject by the Royal Australian Mint. There’s been a steady stream of them, although not reaching plague proportions, and they’ve managed to maintain a high standard of quality and design.

The latest to join the genre is from the Austrian Mint and celebrates the Salzburg Festival in some style. It has a quirk we haven’t really seen before – the central section is flat, so it has the appearance in section of a dinner plate. While not earth-shattering, even by sedate numismatic standards, it has allowed the designer to section the artwork out into two parts.

The obverse has a circular patterned effect on the curved section, with a very cool ‘theatrical’ themed mask design in the centre. The reverse face has a ‘starburst’ pattern radiating from the centre of the coin, but it also carries musical and theatrical elements within it, highlighted with the subtle use of colour. The centre section continues the theme with a distinctly different piece of art.

Got to admit I really like this one and it will be good to see one in hand. Inscriptions are not too obtrusive, especially on the obverse. It’s a 2/3oz sterling silver coin with a retail price of €69.70. Despite a mintage of 30,000 and despite officially launching today, it has sold out at the mint, but you should be able to pick one up at friendly dealers.


One of the world’s leading opera, theatre and classical music festivals, the Salzburg Festival celebrates its centenary in 2020. Featuring opera, theatre and classical concerts, the Salzburg Festival offers a broader spectrum of cultural variety than any other. To celebrate this major cultural event, which is constantly in the process of reinventing itself, we have come up with a particularly innovative coin design.

On 22 August 1920, the director Max Reinhardt staged Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s morality play Jedermann in Salzburg’s Domplatz (Cathedral Square) for the first time and in doing so founded the Salzburg Festival. Since 1926, the play has been a permanent feature of the festival programme, a tradition interrupted only during the Nazi regime. Those who stage or direct Jedermann in Salzburg’s Domplatz have reached the pinnacle of their career.

In addition to Max Reinhardt and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the composer Richard Strauss was also involved in the founding of this magnificent celebration of the performing arts, which did not take long to become established and achieve world renown. At Salzburg, the best is often not good enough. This gives the festival cultural relevance, which comes from its strength of tradition but also allows new directions to be explored and puts the avant-garde centre stage. This very special centenary coin is avant-garde itself. With an obverse that has the appearance of a plate with a flat inner part, a coin of this type has never been minted before. We believe it does the Salzburg Festival justice.

COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 20.74 grams
MODIFICATIONS Colour, domed strike
MINTAGE 30,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes