The South African Mint’s heart transplant commemorative coin has been named as the ‘Best Contemporary Event Coin’ at the 2019 Coin Of The Year.
Held in Berlin, the Coin of the Year Award honours the accomplishments of mints from around the world in numismatic design, artistic vision, craftsmanship and marketing efforts. A panel of international judges choose the coins from those issued two years prior to the year of the award.
Awards are given in ten categories, with three coins selected in each category. Besides the Best Contemporary Event, popular categories include Best Gold, Best Circulation Coin, Most Artistic Coin and the coveted overall Coin of The Year.
South Africa’s award-winning coin depicts the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant
The R2 Crown coin in sterling silver is the second release in the South African Inventions coin programme following ‘the dolos’ and marks the 50th anniversary of the historic event.
Introduced in 2016, the series seeks to showcase local innovations that have captured the world’s imagination.
Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the marathon surgery transplanting Denise Darvall’s heart into the recipient Louis Washkansy – a 53 year old grocer with a debilitating heart condition.
The surgery lasted almost six hours by the end of which Washkansy was able to talk. He lived for almost three weeks following the operation eventually succumbing to pneumonia.
The event turned both Dr Barnard and the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town where the procedure was performed into global household names.
“The Inventions series captures the ingenuity and the remarkable contributions of South Africans across various fields and is yet another example of the Mint’s commitment to preserving and celebrating South Africa’s history,” said Tumi Tsehlo, MD of the South African Mint.
“In the world of collectable coins, beauty is the very essence of its existence and not just skin deep. This recognition elevates the reputation of our craftmanship and calibre of manufacturing, areas where SA Mint continues to make investments and strides. The award is a testament to the same.”
The obverse of the coin features South Africa’s national flower, the King Protea occupying the central position along with the words ‘South Africa’ and the year ‘2017’.
The reverse depicts a detailed human torso modelled on the anatomically-precise drawing by artist Carl Jeppe, with all its veins, skeleton, organs and a prominent circle indicating the position of the heart.
The genius behind the circle is that it fits a smaller Tickey coin whose design depicts the human heart, simulating a ‘heart transplant’.
The only other recognition for the continent came in the form of Best Circulation Coin produced by Monnaie de Paris for the Central Bank of Mauritania.
The coin won for its innovative use of metal as it is the first time a circulation coin has been produced using three metals.
The Paris based mint also took home the overall coveted Coin Of The Year award, while other big winners on the day were the Austrian Mint and the US Mint.
You can find a detailed list of winners below.
Coin of the Year – France (50 euro)
Best Crown Coin – The Cook Islands (5 dollars)
Most Innovative Coin – Republic of Palau (20 dollars)
Most Inspirational Coin – USA (1 dollar)
Best Circulating Coin – Mauritania (20 ouguiya)