The Money Museum houses a large collection of banknotes, draft banknote designs, securities and coins. These collections of monetary history artifacts are valuable both materially and culturally, given that many of its oldest objects are unique and date back to the Bronze Age. The OeNB meets its cultural responsibility in opening its collections to the public and serving as the custodian of Austria’s monetary heritage.
The comprehensive coin collection, established in the 1950s and consistently expanded to some 30,000 objects to date, ranks among the largest numismatic collections in Austria. Most objects serve to illustrate the history of money in the former and present-day region of Austria. Coins that were minted under the Habsburg dynasty as well as coins collected by the archbishops of Salzburg represent the pride of the collection.
Over time, the collection policy was expanded to cover the history of money in Europe and prime artifacts from all over the world. A case in point is the extensive collection of Venetian gold ducat, or zecchino, coins.
Many rare and unique specimens are on display, including the only known gold gulden dating back to Duke Leopold III (1365–1386), a Salzburg Rübentaler of 1504, a Löwentaler of Prince-Archbishop Colloredo (1790) a gold coin of 100 ducats of Emperor Ferdinand III (1629) and a Madonna of Mariazell gold schilling coin dated 1938.
Historical banknote collection
The OeNB’s historical banknote collection comprises banknotes issued by the OeNB and its predecessor institutions starting in 1816. It includes gulden, krone and schilling banknotes, allied military currency, Reichsmark notes and unimplemented schilling designs.
For more information and illustrations, see:
Sketch and design collection
Since the OeNB’s establishment in 1816, numerous famous Austrian artists of the likes of Koloman Moser, Gustav Klimt, Ferdinand Kitt and Berthold Löffler have designed banknotes for the OeNB. In addition to many original sketches and designs, this collection also includes trial prints and banknote paper samples.
Printing and production collection
This collection is unmatched in Austria, as it features historically significant exhibits related to banknote printing processes ranging from printing plates dated from 1816 and glass negatives to films and stencil Screens.
Stocks and securities collection
Stocks and securities represent major artifacts exemplifying economic history. This collection comprises a number of historical Austrian and foreign securities, with the two stocks the privilegirte Oesterreichische Nationalbank issued to Ludwig van Beethoven in 1819 taking pride of place.
Collection of historical counterfeits
The OeNB’s mandate also includes the fight against counterfeiting in cooperation with security authorities. Following the seizure of forged money, specimens are traditionally retained for reference. Specimens no longer needed are turned into museum collectibles, such as historical counterfeits of Stadt-Banco-Zettel, i.e. government-guaranteed promissory notes (as from 1800, Napoleonic forgeries) as well as Austrian banknotes as from 1816 (e.g. Bohrian forgeries).
Museum collection of the art archives
This collection contains various groups of objects, including numerous unique items and rare banknotes, such as various issues of Stadt-Banco-Zettel and of banknotes where some information still had to be filled out by hand. Add to this a wealth of government notes, coin and cash certificates, Austrian and German emergency money, or Notgeld, as well as foreign banknotes.
Alternative forms of payment
This collection boasts the most varied and oldest objects ranging from premonetary means of payment such as Bronze Age scythes, dog tooth money and cowrie shells to historical bar money to modern-day plastic money. On display are also half-official means of payment with limited validity, such as factory stamps or emergency coins.