December 17, 2015 – On 20 January 2016 the Austrian Mint will issue a silver coin to celebrate the Vienna Opera Ball’s 60th anniversary, with a blush of pink flowers printed on the coin.
The reverse of the coin depicts one of the highlights of the Opera Ball, the dance of the young ladies 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 in formal gowns, with bouquets of flowers and the men wearing tuxedos applaud the young couples coming onto the floor. In the boxes of the opera house many more participants are noted observing the official opening.
The obverse of the coin depicts a young couple in the foreground, the young lady holding a bouquet of flowers highlighted in pink, while a young gentleman kisses her hand – adding a touch of magic to this very elegant event. The name of the country “Republik Österreich,” Republic of Austria, the year of issue and the face value of 2016 are also depicted on this side of the coin. The words “Wiener Opernball” located on the obverse mean the Vienna Opera Ball.
During the official start of coining, Mint director Gerhard Starsich welcomes formally the Ball’s organiser Desirée Treichl-Stürgkh.
The Opera Ball has existed since 1814 when it was first hosted by the Imperial Court of the Habsburg dynasty. Following a 17-year hiatus, caused by the outbreak of the Second World War and the subsequent adversity faced by war-torn Vienna, in 1956 the Opera Ball was re-established in its original home, the newly re-opened 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. Dancing was not officially allowed that night but one thing led to another and after midnight the first dance took place. The rest, as they say, is history …
The Ball was, and remains, the classic place for the young debutantes of Viennese society to make their first official appearance in society. To this day, young ladies and gentlemen 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, in order to make their first appearance in the modern day era stepping off on the correct foot.
The “Opera Ball” coin is 900 fine silver, has a face value of 20 euros (legal tender in Austria), contains 18 grams of pure silver and has a diameter of 34 mm. The maximum mintage of this special uncirculated coin is 50,000 pieces. Each coin is encapsulated and comes in box with a sleeve and an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.