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Austrian Mint’s Salzburg Festival Coin Named Most Artistic Coin at 2022 COTY Awards

The Austrian Mint’s “Centenary of the Salzburg Festival” coin won the Most Artistic Coin category at the 2022 Coin of the Year (COTY) awards. The coin, dated 2020, commemorates the long-running opera, theatre, and classical music festival.

The innovative coin, which has the appearance of a plate with a flat inner part, represents that the Salzburg Festival is constantly in the process of reinventing itself. As described by the Austrian Mint:

On 22 August 1920, the director Max Reinhardt staged Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s morality play Jedermann in Salzburg’s Domplatz (Cathedral Square) for the first time and in doing so founded the Salzburg Festival. Since 1926, the play has been a permanent feature of the festival programme, a tradition interrupted only during the Nazi regime. Those who stage or direct Jedermann in Salzburg’s Domplatz have reached the pinnacle of their career.

In addition to Max Reinhardt and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the composer Richard Strauss was also involved in the founding of this magnificent celebration of the performing arts, which did not take long to become established and achieve world renown. At Salzburg, the best is often not good enough. This gives the festival cultural relevance, which comes from its strength of tradition but also allows new directions to be explored and puts the avant-garde centre stage. 

The innovative coin was designed by Mag. Helmut Andexlinger of the Austrian Mint. When looking at the obverse side, it appears that you are looking into a bowl. The value side of the coin is characterized by a concave curved edge, which is provided with a radiating structure. On the inside, there are two masks, representing the two basic forms of the drama: The mask on the left is highly stylized and reflects tragedy, while the mask on the right embodies comedy.

The reverse is composed of a convex edge and a flat inner part. Some parts are printed with red paint. Images include masks, a cut-out of a violin and, on the right-hand edge of the coin, a dove of peace with an olive branch in its beak.

The 20 euro silver coin measures 34.00 mm in diameter and weighs 22.42 grams. Mintage is 30,000 in proof quality.

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