The most famous devotional song - Silent Night was performed for the first time in 1818 during Christmas at St Nicholas Church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of this wonderful song, Austrian Mint released a special 20 euro silver coin. Even though the Church was washed away by floods during the early years of 20th century, a memorial chapel named Silent Night was built in the same location.
The coin features small yellow and blue coloured stars, a large yellow coloured star of Bethlehem and the old chapel on the obverse. Other inscriptions on the obverse include 20 EURO and REPUBLIK OSTERREICH. The reverse features baby Jesus, Mother Mary and Joseph. Inscription on the reverse reads STILLE NACHT – HEILIGE NACHT, which are the original German lyrics of the song. 30,000 coins have been struck in Proof quality. Every 925 Ag, 2/3 ounce coin comes in a case with a numbered certificate of authenticity and can be purchased for € 49.50.
The original song was written by a village priest named Joseph Mohr and composed by a schoolmaster and organist Franz Xaver Gruber. Even travelling folk singers started using the tune in their collection. It was performed for Emperor Franz I of Austria as well. During the Christmas truce of 1914, the song was sung in German, French, and English in the trenches of the Western Front. Today, it has been translated in 140 languages and has been declared as cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011.
Image Courtesy: Austrian Mint