Austria issued the new coin in early 2008, wisely anticipating the consequences of the bank collapse, the stock crash and the rising value of precious metals. The coin was explicitly intended for purposes of investment, not collection. Bernhard Urban, marketing spokesman of the Austrian Mint, modestly calls it “unique” in Europe. The story of its success has to do with a funny little contradiction: As a means of payment with a value of €1.50
the exclusive silver piece is worth — depending on the price of silver –somewhere between €11 ($16) and €14 ($20), and costs that much at the teller’s window.
It’s this difference between the face and market values of the coin that makes it so attractive in the context of international money transfers. The coin manages — astonishingly — to circumvent currency import regulations. A person travelling from Austria to Germany is allowed to bring €10,000 ($14,000) into the country without having to declare it at customs. So that person can bring more than 6,000 Philharmonic coins over the border and in doing so, bring home, with each trip, more than €110,000 ($156,000) of his hidden Austrian treasure.
It also occurs to me that this could be a good way to launder money…hope you’re paying attention Pakistani Punisher….