The 2015 Coin of the Year Awards, or COTY’s as they are also known, were eagerly awaited by those attending the World Money Fair. Sponsored by Krause Publications, the awards highlights some of the most exceptional designs and technological innovations from the Mints and central banks around the world. Winning coins were selected across ten different categories with an overall winner also selected.
This year, the awards were hosted by Mr. Donald Scarinci, member of the COTY nominating committee and of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. This was the first time he was presenting and from the standpoint of an audience member, he did a splendid job! Mr. Scarinci was assisted in the presentation by Chris Liassides, numismatist and member of the international panel of judges.
The 31st annual awards saw the Austrian Mint pick up three separate awards, as well as the overall Coin of the Year. The ceremony kicked off with their winning coin, the 50 Euro gold coin featuring a design inspired from the art of Gustav Klimt. The award was received by the Austrian Mint’s Director who has made the visit to the COTY podium many times to receive several awards in just about every category.
Second on the day’s agenda was the award for most historically significant coin which went to the Royal Dutch Mint for their 5 EURO silver coin marking the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht. The award was received by the Royal Dutch Mint’s Director Martin Brouwer.
Belarus was the recipient of the third award of the day which was presented for the best contemporary event coin. The one Ruble copper-nickel coin recognized in this category was issued to mark the 90th anniversary of BPS-Sperbank. The award was received by the Marketing Director of the numismatic department of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.
The afternoon’s award for the most innovative coin was deservedly won by the Bank of Mongolia for their issue of the 500 Tugrik gold plated coin depicting a howling wolf designed and produced with a laser cut-out of the design, one of the room’s favorite pieces and sought after during the show by collectors.
Canada was the winner in the category of the most inspirational coin and the coin featured was a three dollar silver coin with a touching depiction of a Grandfather & grandson fishing on a pier with the family dog. The Royal Canadian Mint’s Interim President and CEO Marc Brûlé who commented on being the new kid on the block but was very honored to be receiving the award.
With their first-ever nomination, The Central Bank of Ireland won in their category of Best crown coin with their 10 EURO silver crown depicting a stylized portrait of the writer James Joyce. The award was enthusiastically received by Central Bank of Ireland director of the collector coins division Barry Fanning and by Margaret Daly, manager of the collector coins department, the receipt of the award was her last official task before leaving her post at the Central Bank.
The “America the Beautiful” was included in this year’s awards, Mount Rushmore was the design chosen in the best circulating coin category and it was the quarter dollar denomination featured. The presenter Donald Scarinci remarked that he had consulted on this very design and his delight at the receipt of the award for this coin was evident indeed.
The category for the best silver coin was this year received by the Bank of Latvia for their 1 Lats coin featuring a stylized portrait of the classical composer Richard Wagner. Latvia has since adopted the Euro since this coin’s issue. The award was received by the Bank’s currency Manager who has also paid a few visits to the COTY podium in recent years.
Now… here is where Austria comes into their element with three coins in three separate categories having won all three. It of course one of these coins which won the coin of the year award and with so many contenders, this wasn’t too unexpected though very much deserved. The most artistic coin category was awarded for Austria’s 100 Euro gold coin which was part of their Wildlife series. The next award was received for the best bi-metallic coin which included a niobium center surrounded by a sterling ring of 25 Euro. The theme for this bi-metallic coin was Tunnelling and included a very detailed and intricate design of underground tunnelling machinery. And finally, the last category but not the least was for the best Gold coin and that was awarded initially for the 50 Euro coin in the Gustav Klimt series. The engravers and designers of these coins Thomas Pesendorfer and Herbert Waehner were on hand to receive the awards.
Lastly, the Coin of the Year organizers paid a special tribute to one of Italy’s more distinguished engravers and coin/medal designers with a lifetime achievement award for her many years as a designer of countless coins issued from the Istituto Poligrafico Zecca della Stato or the Italian State Mint. Maria Carmela Colaneri has designed many gold and silver coins over the last 30 years and if you are a collector of the modern coins of Italy, chances are you have many of her classical designs among your collection. Ms. Colaneri thanked the organizers for the recognition as well as the IPZs and was pleased indeed to have been chosen for 2015’s recipient. Ms. Colaneri’s more well-known coin is that of the current Italian 2 Euro piece currently in circulation.