Collection of historical string instruments

About the Collection

The collection of valuable historical string instruments was established in 1989, when the first Vienna Philharmonic gold bullion coin was minted, and initially consisted of three instruments. Meanwhile, the collection has grown to encompass 45 rare instruments, among them nine violins crafted by Antonio Stradivari, two violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù and one violin created by the preeminent Tyrolean violinmaker Jacob Stainer.

Rather than locking the instruments away, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank seeks to lend them to Austrian musicians to use for the long term. Over the years, many musicians have benefited from the long-term loan of these instruments and have been able to embark on international music careers, which at the same time has helped spread Austria’s reputation for outstanding music throughout the world. Members of renowned Austrian orchestras – among them the concertmasters of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – and chamber music ensembles as well as numerous soloists perform concerts with instruments from this collection.

The collection of valuable historical string instruments represents an important contribution to upholding Europe’s common cultural heritage, just like the OeNB’s day-to-day business represents an important contribution to the stability of Europe’s common currency.


In this video you will get an acoustic taste of the sounds of the historical instruments. Curator Chiara Galbusera explains interesting facts about the collection and its history (German only).