The Austrian 100 Corona gold coin, or simply the “Corona”, was first struck in 1908 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the reign of Franz Josef I, Emperor from 1848 to 1916, and the last of the Great Habsburg Dynasty.
Emperor Josef is portrayed in profile on the Corona’s obverse encircled by a lengthy abbreviated Latin phrase that translates to “Franz Josef I – By Grace of God Emperor of Austria – King of Bohemia, Galicia, Illyricum, Etc. and King of Hungary.” The inscription reflects the dynasty’s self-perception as inheritors of the Roman Empire whose divine destiny was to be the Earthly rulers of mankind.
The Habsburg Coat of Arms displayed on the reverse is highly symbolic of that self-image. A magnificent crowned double-headed eagle looks both east and west over a world ruled by the Habsburgs. In its right talon, the eagle clutches a scepter, signifying sovereignty, and a sword representing the empire’s might.
In its left talon, the eagle holds the globus cruciger, Latin for “cross-bearing orb.” This ancient Christian symbol represents Christ’s dominion over the world and the authority to rule over Earthly matters entrusted to the orb’s holder.
Across the top is the inscription “C CORONA” and the date in Roman numerals. On the bottom is the denomination “100 COR” and the date in Arabic numerals. Inscribed on the edge is Emperor Josef’s motto, “Unitis Viribus” – “With United Forces”.
The Corona remained in mintage until 1914 when the assassination of Josef’s heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, ignited WWI.
The original gold Coronas are extremely scarce, but the Austrian government ordered a bullion restrike as a commemorative rather than as legal tender. The new gold bullion Coronas all bear the date 1915, and, like the originals, are struck on 0.9802-oz blanks of 90% pure (21.6 karat) gold.
The Austrian Gold 100-Corona bullion coin offers investors a window into history along with a sound investment in gold.
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