It was a great day for the Bank of Israel as Mordechai Fein, head of its currency department, accepted the 29th Coin of the Year Award at a Feb. 4 ceremony at the World Money Fair in Berlin.
An international panel of judges had selected the bank’s 2010 2 New Sheqalim silver coin with the theme of Jonah in the Whale for the honor.
In his remarks, Fein recounted the biblical story of Jonah refusing God’s command to go to the city of Nineveh, instead fleeing by boat in the opposite direction and then being thrown into the sea during a storm by the fearful crew. He was swallowed by a great fish that is popularly referred to as a whale and saved after being inside for three days and nights, whereupon he obeyed and went to Nineveh.
The 2 New Sheqalim’s design also was the winner in the Most Artistic category. Coin of the Year is selected from among the winners of 10 special categories.
All of the coins in the competition were dated 2010.
The Austrian Mint did well, picking up two category awards for Best Silver Coin and Most Popular Coin. Andrea Lang, head of marketing and sales, was called forward twice to accept trophies for the silver 10-euro Erzberg coin and 1.5-euro Austrian Philharmonic 1 ounce silver bullion coin, respectively, from David C. Harper, executive editor of World Coin News, sponsor of the COTY Awards, and emcee of the awards program.
Ian Bennett, chief executive officer of the Royal Canadian Mint, took home the award for Most Historically Significant Coin for a gold $100 coin marking the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Hudson Bay.
Best Contemporary Event Coin for the most significant historical occurrence in the past 99 years was won by a silver 10-euro German coin marking the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Germany. Dr. Andreas Schikora, CEO of the Berlin State Mint, accepted on behalf of the German Finance Ministry.
A gold 2010 100 pounds coin issued as part of the 2012 Olympic series by the British Royal Mint was named Best Gold Coin. Shane Bissett, the Royal Mint’s director of commemorative coin, accepted the honor. The coin depicts Neptune and is part of the Faster series.
Andorra won Best Crown honors for a 5 diners silver coin depicting a Brown Bear. Jordi Puigdemasa took home the trophy to the Andorra Mint.
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San Marino’s 2-euro bi-metallic circulating coin was named Best Trade Coin. Its theme was the 500th anniversary of the death of artist Botticelli. Dr. Marino Manuzzi, director of the Azienda Autonoma di Stato Filatelica e Numismatica accepted the award.
Heimo Steriti, head of Coin Invest Trust of Vaduz, Liechtenstein, accepted the trophy for Most Innovative Coin for a 1,500 CFA francs silver coin that takes the form of the Mecca Qibla Compass.
Children and Creativity was the theme of the Mint of Finland’s silver 20-euro coin that was named Most Inspirational Coin. Pekka Karkinen, the mint’s head of international sales, received the trophy from Harper.
Continuing its sweep of the People’s Choice Award, Hungary won for the 5th time. Terez Horvath, commercial director of the Hungarian Mint, was given the trophy as Harper noted that in Chinese numerology “5” signifies love and it is clear from the voting that the collectors of Hungarian coins love them.
The ceremony opened with welcomes from Albert Beck, founder of the World Money Fair, and Scott Tappa, publisher of World Coin News.