It's that time of year again! Time to start the process of narrowing down nominations for the Coin of the Year Program. Australian coins came out on top, earning a total of nine nominations in eight different categories, as the 37th annual Coin of the Year (COTY) program kicked off with nominee selection of 2018-dated coins.
The awards competition, presented by World Coin News and sponsored by The Journal of East Asian Numismatics, begins each year when the COTY Nomination Committee convenes to select the nominees.
More than 1,000 coins from 45 issuing entities around the world were considered when the panel met Oct. 24-25 in Stevens Point, Wis. Two days of deliberation resulted in a total of 100 nominees: 10 coins in each of the 10 award categories.
“Coming into this year’s Coin of the Year nominating committee meeting, I think many of us thought it might be a difficult year to fill each category with 10 candidates,” said Tom Michael, longtime market analyst, industry reference editor, and COTY coordinator. “When we wrapped it up a day later, we had our 100 nominees from 41 countries, and it seemed that everyone was quite satisfied that we had a fine selection to present to the judges.”
Leading the pack with the highest number of nominations is Australia with its nine nominations, consisting of five coins issued by The Perth Mint and four coins issued by the Royal Australian Mint. The country earned one spot in the Most Artistic Coin, Best Circulating Coin, Best Crown Coin, Most Historically Significant Coin, Most Innovative Coin, Most Inspirational Coin, and Best Silver Coin categories while garnering two nominations in the Best Gold Coin category. Just two categories – Best Bi-Metallic Coin and Best Contemporary Event Coin – are without Australian nominees.
Following closely behind is Great Britain’s Royal Mint with a total of eight nominees in all but the Most Artistic and Most Innovative categories.
French coins earned six nominations, and there is a four-way tie among Canada, China, Germany, and the United States for five nominations each. Austria and Italy round out the list of most nominations with four each.
At a total of 51 nominations, these nine countries make up more than half of the total nominations.
There are also some new-comers to the nominee roster. Countries who made the cut this year who were not on last year’s (2017-dated coin) list are: Barbados, Belgium, Cambodia, Djibouti, Fiji, Greece, Ireland, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Swaziland and Ukraine.
“Of the 41 countries represented in the COTY 100 list, there were 13 countries which had not seen a nomination last year,” said Michael. “Some of those may not have seen a nomination in some time, but all of them released worthy coins in 2018 that were recognized by the nominating committee. While many of the coins discussed at our meeting come to us directly from a mint, central bank or distributor, each year committee members bring to the meeting several coins, not suggested externally that they feel deserve recognition. Eight of those 13 new nominees this year made it to the COTY 100 list through the careful observation and commitment of COTY nomination committee members.”
For Michael, a shift in the type of coins selected for the Contemporary category was a notable change this year.
“The Contemporary category has four base metal coins this year, which is rather unusual, but indicative of the fact that circulating commemorative coins are hosting some excellent themes as our 21st-century advances.”
A complete list of the nominees in each category follows.
Most Historically Significant Coin
Coins commemorating events, institutions or individuals deemed highly significant in terms of the historical heritage of a people, a country or mankind. The subject or theme must have passed into historical perspective at least 100 years ago.
Canada: KM-2574, 1 Dollar, Silver, 100th Anniversary of the Armistice of the First World War
Australia, KM-2861a, 1 Dollar, Silver, Australia’s Convict Era, 1788-1868
France, KM-2503, 10 Euro, Silver with Color, Great War – Peace
Germany, KM-372, 20 Euro, Silver, 150th Anniversary of Peter Behrens
Great Britain, KM-1575, 5 Pound, Silver, First War Centenary – T.E. Lawrence
Greece, KM-312, 200 Euro, Gold, Greek Culture, Historians – Herodotus
Ireland, KM-98, 15 Euro, Silver with Color, 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote
Japan, Y-267, 1,000 Yen, Silver with Color, 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Meiji Period
Tuvalu, KM-406, KM-407, 1 Dollar (each), Silver, Evolution of Industry – Steam and Electricity, Gear-Shaped Two-Coin Set
United States, KM-682, 1 Dollar, Silver, World War I Centennial
Best Contemporary Event Coin
Coins commemorating events, institutions or individuals of current or recent events influencing a people or mankind. The subjects or issues must have occurred within the past 99 years.
Belgium, KM-373, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 50th Anniversary of the First ESRO-2B Satellite Launch
Canada, KM-2649, 20 Dollar, Silver with Color, Canada’s Unexplained Phenomena – The Falcon Lake Incident
China, KM-2395, 5 Yuan, Silver, 70th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Renminbi
Great Britain, KM-1593a, 5 Pound, Silver, 70th Birthday of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales
Hungary, KM-950, 5,000 Forint, Silver with Color, 75th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize of Gyorgy Hevesy, 1885-1966
Italy, KM-418, 5 Euro, Silver with Color, 70th Anniversary of the Italian Constitution
Japan, Y-263, 1,000 Yen, Silver with Color, 50th Anniversary of the Ogasawara Islands Reversion to Japan
Swaziland, KM-69, 5 Emalangeni, Brass, 50th Anniversary of Independence
Ukraine, KM-946, 10 Hryvnia, Zinc-Based Alloy, Ukraine’s Armed Forces – Defenders of Donetsk Airport
United States, KM-680, 1 Dollar, Copper-Zinc-Manganese-Nickel Clad Copper, Native American Dollar – Jim Thorpe
Best Gold Coin
Coins manufactured from gold, platinum, palladium or another exotic precious metal, which have all-around artistic appeal, both from aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.
Australia, KM-2866, 100 Dollar, Gold, 1812 A New Map of the World, Curved
Australia, KM-2876, 150 Dollar, Gold/Platinum, Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle
Austria, KM-3278, 50 Euro, Gold, Vienna Schools of Psychotherapy – Alfred Adler
China, KM-2432, 100 Yuan, Gold, The Art of Chinese Calligraphy (Seal Script)
France, KM-2513, 50 Euro, Gold, L’aviation Et L’Histoire – Transall
Germany, KM-376, 100 Euro, Gold, UNESCO World Heritage – Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Bruhl
Great Britain, KM-1604, 10 Pound, Gold, Sapphire Coronation
Italy, KM-425, 20 Euro, Gold, Women in Art – Artemisia Gentileschi
South Africa, KM-679, 500 Rand, Gold, Celebrating South Africa – Nelson Mandela Centenary
Switzerland, KM-172, 50 Franc, Gold, William Tell
Best Silver Coin
Coins manufactured from silver, which have all-around appeal, both from an aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.
Australia, KM-2874, 8 Dollar, Silver with Color, Antiqued, The ANZAC Spirit – The Hall of Memory
China, KM-2418, 50 Yuan, Silver, The Art of Chinese Calligraphy
Djibouti, KM-75, 250 Franc, Silver with Color, Shapes of Africa
France, KM-2491, 10 Euro, Silver, French Excellence – Boucheron
Germany, KM-371, 20 Euro, Silver, 800th Anniversary of the Hanseatic City of Rostock
Great Britain, KM-1600, 5 Pound, Silver, First World War Armistice
Lithuania, KM-236, 5 Euro, Silver with Color, Rasos Svente
Mongolia, KM-376, 500 Togrog, Silver with Color, Woodland Spirit – Fox
New Zealand, KM-401, Dollar, Silver with Color, Manuka Honey Bee, Hexagonal Shape
Portugal, KM-891a, 5 Euro, Silver, 100 Years of the Armistice
Coins with all-around appeal, both from an aesthetic and a commercial standpoint. Consideration should be given also to the unique theme which the coin reflects, and how the coin fits historically into the “crown” definition, including a minimum size requirement of 37mm and a maximum size of 45mm.
Australia, KM-2873, 5 Dollar, Silver with Color, The Earth and Beyond – Earth, Curved
Canada, KM-2655, 20 Dollar, Silver with Color, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Maple Leaves Brooch
China, KM-2408, 10 Yuan, Silver, The Opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge
Cook Islands, KM-1861, 5 Dollar, Silver with Color, Salvatore Dali Money Heist Revolutionary Masks
Finland, KM-280, 20 Euro, Silver, Finnish Sauna Culture
France, KM-2488, 10 Euro, Silver, The 7 Arts – Guillaume Apollinaire
Great Britain, KM-1657, 2 Pound, Silver, Britannia
Kazakhstan, KM-393, 500 Tenge, Silver, partial gilt with diamond eye, Cult Animals as a Totems of Nomads – Kokbori (Blue Wolf)
Palau, KM-579, 10 Dollar, Silver with Color, Daisy Flower
South Africa, KM-655, 2 Rand, Silver, South African Inventions – Computed Tomography
Best Circulating Coin
Coins that are made of non-precious metals, possess all-around appeal, both from aesthetic and commercial viewpoints and best meet the basic considerations of actual circulating monetary units.
Australia, KM-2863, 2 Dollar, Aluminum Bronze, Invictus Games
Austria, KM-3275, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Austrian Republic
Canada, KM-2580.2, 2 Dollar, Bi-Metallic, Colorized, 100th Anniversary of First World War Armistice
Finland, KM-273, 5 Euro, Bi-Metallic, Finnish National Landscapes – Olavinlinna Castle and Lake Pihlajavesi
Germany, KM-370, 5 Euro, Copper-Nickel, Polymer Insert, Climate – Tropical Zone
Great Britain, KM-1546, 10 Pence, Nickel-Plated Steel, Great British Coin Hunt – Letter U (Union Jack)
Peru, KM-411, 1 Sol, Copper-Nickel-Zinc, Endangered Wildlife of Peru – Jaguar
Portugal, KM-886, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 250th Anniversary of the National Printing Office
Slovenia, KM-134, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, World Bee Day
United States, KM-670, 25 Cent, Copper-Nickel, America the Beautiful – Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Best Bi-Metallic Coin
Coins which reflect the concept of a ring coinage, where the outer ring and inner center are made of different, contrasting metals. This includes struck-through inserts but excludes appliqués. Coins should have all-around artistic appeal, both from aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.
Austria, KM-3289, 25 Euro, Bi-Metallic (Niobium center in silver ring), Anthropocene
Cambodia, KM-160, 200 Riel, Tri-Metallic (Brass, Copper, Copper-Nickel), 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relationship Between China and Cambodia
China, KM-2391, 10 Yuan, Bi-Metallic, Fuxing – China High-Speed Rail
Fiji, KM-723, 1 Dollar, Bi-Metallic, Celebrating Love, Heart-Shaped
Great Britain, KM-1565, 2 Pound, Bi-Metallic, Captain James Cook
Greece, KM-299, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 70 Years from the Union of the Dodecanese Islands with Greece
Italy, KM-419, 5 Euro, Bi-Metallic, Artistic Treasures of Amatrice
Kenya, KM-46, 5 Shilling, Bi-Metallic, Addition of Kiswahili Legends – Rhinoceros Head
Poland, Y-1011, 5 Zlotych, Bi-Metallic, 100th Anniversary of Poland Regaining Independence
Switzerland, KM-169, 10 Franc, Bi-Metallic, Alpine Flora – Stemless Carline Thistle
Most Artistic Coin
Coins are selected solely on the value of their outstanding artistic merit. No consideration should be given to their commercial potential, theme or popularity.
Australia, KM-2875, 8 Dollar, Silver with patina, Rare Earth
Cook Islands, KM-1867, 5 Dollar, Silver with Color, Night Animals – Eagle Owl
France, KM-2487, 10 Euro, Silver with selective gold plating, The Ages of Europe – The Baroque & Rococo Era
Hungary, KM-943, 2,000 Forint, Brass, National Memorials – Fiumei Cemetery
Italy, KM-417, 5 Euro, Silver, Italy of Arts – Houses of Veneto
Latvia, KM-200, 5 Euro, Gold-Plated Silver, Honey Coin
Netherlands, KM-396, 5 Euro, Silver, Leeuwarden Fryslan European Capital of Culture
Portugal, KM-890a, 5 Euro, Silver, Europa Series – The Baroque Age
Republic of Palau, KM-593, 5 Dollar, Silver, Alligator Bite
South Africa, KM-663, 5 Rand, Silver with Color, Crinum Graminicola of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve
Most Innovative Coin
Coins best fitting the term “innovative concept in coinage.” Pioneering metallic alloy issues, non-typical coinage materials, planchet shapes, distinct visual themes or other innovations. Special consideration should be given to technological advancements that forward minting ideas and mechanics.
Australia, KM-2872, 2 Dollar, Silver, Figure Eight Dragon
Barbados, KM-101, 100 Dollar, Gold, Rum Coin, Capsule with Drop of 1780 Harwood Rum
British Virgin Islands, KM-516, 10 Dollar, Silver, Queen Elizabeth II Sapphire Coronation – Two Portraits in Ultra High Relief and Incuse
Canada, KM-2692, 25 Dollar, Silver, Lest We Forget, Helmet-Shaped
Fiji, KM-725, 1 Dollar, Silver, Antonio Vivaldi, Playable CD Coin
Lithuania, KM-237, KM-238, KM-239, KM-240, 5, 10, 20, 50 Euro, 3 Silver, 1 Gold, 100th Anniversary of Restoration of Lithuania’s Independence (4-Coin Set)
Mongolia, KM-382, 2,000 Tugrik, Silver with Red Rock Finish, Prehistoric Beasts – Velociraptor
Niue, KM-1570, 5 Dollar, Silver with Rubber, 130 Years of Pneumatic Tires, Spoke Wheel Coin with Rubber Tire
Palau, KM-597, 20 Dollar, Silver, Gilded, Tutankhamun’s Mask, 3-D, High Relief
United States, KM-683, 5 Dollar, Gold, Copper/Zinc, Breast Cancer Awareness, Rose Gold
Most Inspirational Coin
Coins must feature designs devoted to ideas, events, institutions or individuals that best exemplify man’s eternal aspirations for peace, freedom and human rights. Judges shall take into consideration theme, design and artistic merit.
Australia, KM-2867, 1 Dollar, Silver with Color, 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I
Austria, KM-3288, 20 Euro, Silver with Color, 200th Anniversary of Silent Night
France, KM-2459, 2 Euro, Bimetallic, Simone Veil
Germany, KM-369, 20 Euro, Silver, 275th Anniversary of Gewandhaus Orchestra
Great Britain, KM-1600, 5 Pound, Silver, First World War Armistice
Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank), KM-952, 10,000 Forint, Silver, Year of the Families
Kyrgyzstan, KM-79, 1 Som, Copper-Nickel with Color, Yurta – Kyrgyz House
Latvia, KM-198, 5 Euro, Silver with Color, Garden of Destiny
Republic of Cameroon, KM-140, 3,000 Franc, Silver, 3D Horseshoe, Good Luck
United States, KM-684, 100 Dollar, Platinum, Preamble to the Declaration of Independence – Life
A ballot of these 100 nominees were sent to an international panel of judges, who will vote for their picks, and one coin will come out as the winner in each category. From there, judges will consider these 10 finalists for the ultimate Coin of the Year award.
Category awards and the top honor will be given to winners in early 2020.
This story was originally published in World Coin News. To subscribe, click here.