This is Austria’s year. Not only did Austrian Mint coins claim an impressive three Coin of the Year (COTY) category wins in the 2022 awards competition, but the country has also earned top honors as Coin of the Year Champion.
The winning coin is a gold 100-euro marking “The Gold of the Pharaohs,” the second coin of the Austrian Mint’s “The Magic of Gold” series that traces the mysterious nature of gold in ancient cultures. The coin was named Best Gold Coin in the awards program’s first round of competition.
The Coin of the Year program, now in its 39th year, is an internationally conducted competition presented by World Coin News to recognize outstanding coin design and innovation worldwide. The 2022 program, sponsored by The Journal of East Asian Numismatics, honors coins dated 2020 in 10 categories of competition as decided by an international panel of judges.
The Gold of the Pharaohs coin obverse features a collage of Ancient Egyptian images, with Tutankhamun’s father Akhenaten in its center. The elder Pharaoh is on his knees with hands raised in homage to the sun god, Aten, as the lance-shaped rays of the solar disk descend towards him. In the background is a sarcophagus containing a Pharaoh, under which the hieroglyphic for gold can be seen. The reverse design displays the death mask of Tutankhamun.
The design and execution in gold made it a clear favorite in the first round of voting.
“The Gold of the Pharaohs 100 euro won the Best Gold Coin category in the 2022 Coin of the Year awards handily, taking roughly 50 percent more of the votes than its closest competitor,” said Tom Michael, COTY coordinator, World Coin News contributor and NumisMaster market analyst. “This is the second coin in the Austrian Mint’s ‘The Magic of Gold’ series and it is every bit as attract as the first, while carrying the additional perk of being topically superior. It’s hard to beat The Death Mask of Tutankhamun.”
Despite a comfortable lead in category voting, competition was much tougher in the race for top Coin of the Year honors.
“In the second round of voting to determine this year’s COTY Champion from amongst the 10 category winners, The Gold of the Pharaohs experienced a much tighter vote margin, winning by such a fine line as to make the Pharaoh’s sarcophagus spin,” said Michael.
In a sense, Austria was competing against itself since two additional coins broke into the top 10. The ever-popular 25-euro silver niobium coin, this time commemorating “Big Data,” took Best Bi-Metallic Coin, and a curved silver 20-euro honoring the Centenary of the Salzburg Festival was named Most Artistic Coin.
“While the Bi-Metallic and Gold categories have been dominated by the Austrian Mint for several years now, I think it is fair to say that this mint is also a force to contend with in all categories of COTY competition,” said Michael. “This year, Austrian Mint coins won the categories with both the largest and smallest vote margins – Bi-Metallic and Artistic, respectively.”
A force indeed. With 51 total Coin of the Year category and overall winners, the Austrian Mint currently holds the most COTY awards in the 39-year history of this prestigious competition. The United States Mint, last year's COTY Champion, follows closely with 50 total COTY trophies.
Overall, Austria has claimed 10 awards in Best Gold, six for Best Bi-Metallic, six in the Most Artistic category, five winners for Most Historically Significant, one for Best Circulating, two for Best Contemporary Event, five for Best Crown, six in the Best Silver category, two for Most Innovative, three for the now-retired Most Popular category, one win in the former Best Trade Coin category, and four COTY Championship wins.
A virtual ceremony to honor all 2022 COTY winners is slated to air in March. It will be available for viewing here.
Following is a list of the 2022 Coin of the Year category winners.