From the krone to the schilling, euro and bitcoin

Money, money, money

From the krone to the schilling, euro and bitcoin

The pictorial representations on coins and paper money of the twentieth and twenty-first century illustrate the political development in Austria from the First Republic via the corporative state and National Socialism to its membership of the European Union. At the same time it also demonstrates the general standardization of money in the twentieth century, in stark contrast to the complexity of coinage in medieval times.

While the subjects depicted on special issues of the Austrian Mint record important events and anniversaries, they also reveal how Austria wished to present itself as a state, contributing to the creation of identity between the 1970s and the 2000s. What is also striking is the change in the imagery of the banknotes from the First Republic to the European Union: from exuberance to sobriety, from nation state to community.

1 schilling from 1924

The obverse of the schilling from 1924 shows the Austrian parliament with the circumscription REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH 1924. The reverse bears the Austrian barred shield with the circumscription EIN SCHILLING.

1 schilling from 1947

The obverse of the schilling from 1947 shows a farmer broadcasting seed and walking left with the circumscription REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH. Left of the farmer is the number 1, right of him an S for schilling. The reverse shows the Austrian federal eagle of the Second Republic.

100 schilling silver coin 1000 years of Carinthia (1976)

The obverse shows the ducal throne of Carinthia and on the right the arms of Carinthia. The circumscription reads: ‘1000 Jahre Kärnten Herzogstuhl’ (‘1,000 years Carinthia ducal throne’). The reverse shows the Austrian federal eagle of the Second Republic within a rectangle. Over this is REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH, underneath: 100 SCHILLING.

Dionysus and his followers

Dating to between 230 and 240 CE, this superb mosaic was uncovered on the site of a large villa in the Roman city of Virunum at the end of the nineteenth century. With a surface area of nearly 30 m², it took up almost the whole floor of the so-called Mosaic Room.

Framed by ornamental geometric elements and four Medusa heads at the corners, the centre contains strutting peacocks, maenads and satyrs in the procession following the youthful Dionysus with his cloak slung over his shoulder and holding the thyrsus staff. In this guise the god of wine and transformation was venerated at Noricum as a bearer of joy and hope, as he was in other regions of the Roman Empire.

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