German-born composer Beethoven popular subject on coins of several nations

Austria, Germany both honor musical genius on coinage
By , Coin World
Published : 05/21/16
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Editor's note: this is the second part of a story by Coin World Senior Editor Jeff Starck about musicians on coins. The full article appears in the June monthly issue. 

Although a native of Bonn, Germany, Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 at the age of 22 accepting Joseph Haydn’s invitation to study with him. He composed most of his work in or around Vienna, the music capital of the world. In 1795, Beethoven made his first public appearance as a pianist and composer in Vienna.

Despite being afflicted with advancing deafness from 1802 onwards, he continued to compose up to the last years of his life. Beethoven died in Vienna March 26, 1827. In Vienna, schools were closed the day of his funeral, and 20,000 people paid their last respects.

In 2005, the Austrian Mint issued a Proof gold €50 coin honoring Beethoven.

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The obverse of the coin depicts the façade of the Palais Lobkowitz, located in Vienna, and a simplified version of the title page of the Eroica Symphony, with a quill below.

The reverse has a portrait of Beethoven with the dates of his birth and death, as well as his signature. A drawing from 1818 by August Kloeber served as model for this portrait.

The coin highlights one of Beethoven’s earlier symphonies — the 3rd, or Eroica Symphony. Beethoven originally dedicated his work to Napoleon Bonaparte when he wrote it.

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