The Austrian Mint is marking the 60th anniversary of the Vienna Opera Ball with a colorful silver €20 coin.
The Austrian Mint is scheduled to issue the Vienna Opera Ball coin on Jan. 20, 2016. The coin features a blush of pink flowers printed on the obverse of the coin, the first color-stamped coin from Austria. (Other colorful coins from the Austrian Mint have included niobium, which can change color based on heat treatment.)
The obverse also depicts a young couple in the foreground, the young lady holding the colorful bouquet of flowers in one hand and extending the other to the young gentleman, who kisses her hand. The name of the country of issue, in German, the year of issue and the face value are also depicted on this side of the coin. The words “Wiener Opernball” located on the obverse translate to “the Vienna Opera Ball.”
The reverse of the coin depicts one of the highlights of the Opera Ball, the dance of the young women's and young men’s committee coming onto the dance floor in straight lines of couples to then perform the first waltz and officially open the ball. Around the outer edge of the dance floor, other participants, women in formal gowns with bouquets of flowers and men wearing tuxedos, applaud the young couples coming onto the floor. In the boxes of the opera house, many participants observe the official opening.
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The Opera Ball was first hosted in 1814 by the Imperial Court of the Habsburg dynasty. Following a 17-year hiatus caused by the outbreak of World War II and adversity in war-torn Vienna, in 1956 the Opera Ball was re-established in its original home, the newly reopened Vienna State Opera, where it has remained ever since. The Opera Ball had been held there since 1877 when Emperor Franz Joseph I gave his consent to a “soiree” in the opera house.
The Ball was, and remains, the classic place for young debutantes of Viennese society to make their first official appearance in society. To this day, young women and men go to special dance schools for weeks in advance of the Opera Ball to learn the Viennese Waltz, the classic or slower style of the original waltz done in a closed embrace, to step off on the correct foot in their first appearance in the dance.
The .900 fine silver coin weighs 20 grams and measures 34 millimeters in diameter.
The Special Uncirculated Opera Ball coin has a maximum mintage of 50,000 pieces. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in a box with a sleeve and an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.
Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the Opera Ball coin directly from the Austrian Mint website, or through two distributors serving the United States market.