Best Design and Innovation in Circulating Coins Recognised at the Coin Conference

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November 19, 2013 – Canada and Colombia emerged as the winners in the coin categories of the International Association of Currency Affairs (IACA) 2013 Excellence in Currency Awards, sponsored by Currency News, the presentation of which took place on October 29 during the Coin Conference in Berlin.

Finalists and winners of the two IACA Excellence in Currency Awards 2013 presented at The Coin Conference in Berlin on 29 October 2013.

The finalists in the Best New Coin or Coin Series category included the Central Bank of Colombia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Bank Negara Malaysia, all of which have introduced new series in the last year. The award – which assesses the historical content, continuity of series, innovation, uniqueness, security and overall coin design – went to the Central Bank of Colombia, for its new series celebrating the country’s biodiversity.

Winner of the Best New Circulating Coin Innovation was Royal Canadian Mint. Finalists were The Royal Mint and Mint of Finland.

The category of Best New Coin Innovation was introduced this year for the first time to reflect and recognise the growing number of developments in coin security, production and distribution. There were three finalists – the Royal Canadian Mint for the security technologies in the new Canadian $1 and $2 coins, the UK’s Royal Mint for its ISIS authentication technology, and the Mint of Finland for its CoinTune authentication system. The winner was the Royal Canadian Mint, Canada’s new ‘loonies’ and ‘toonies’ being judged as the best examples of new security features in circulating coins.

There were nearly 30 nominations for the awards. As shortlist of finalists from these nominations were selected by IACA’s Awards Committee, and then put to a vote by IACA members. The awards were presented during the Coin Conference by IACA Executive Director Genie Foster, and Co-Chairmen Tom Ferguson and Rick Haycock.

Best New Coin Series

The winner of the Best New Circulating Coin or Series was Banco de La Republica Colombia, accepted by Nestor Plazas.

Winner: Banco de la República de Colombia
A new and extended family of coins was introduced in 2012, which are lighter and, in most cases, smaller than their predecessors – making them cheaper to produce, according to the Bank, as well as cheaper and easier to manage in circulation. Moreover, they have a range of new security features, along with intricate design and engraving, to make counterfeiting more difficult.

Winner of the Best New Circulating Coin or Series 2013.

The new series includes coins in 50, 100, 200 and 500 Pesos, as well as a high denomination 1,000 Pesos, which has returned after an absence of ten years. There is a consistent design theme throughout all five coins of native Colombian fauna and flora, which is intended to reflect the country’s biodiversity (ranked as one of the highest in the world). The coins also feature images of water, which is seen as essential to the country’s ecological heritage.

The best example can be seen in the new 1,000 Pesos, featuring an image of a loggerhead turtle entering the water. The water is depicted by a series of undulating lines engraved at different depths. These are on a background of straight lines in which the word ‘agua’ (water) is repeated in microtext, every other word being inverted.
Another series of undulating lines appear on the reverse of the coin, beneath the denomination numeral. These lines incorporate the phrase ‘cuidar el agua’ (take care of the water) in microtext. Above this feature, and beneath the numeral, is a latent image that switches from MIL (thousand) to BRC according to the viewing angle. The reverse also features the wording ‘Republica de Colombia’ and the year of issue. Additional security is provided by the bimetallic composition (gold-coloured on the outer, silver on the inner) and on the edge details, comprising striations which are bisected by a ‘security channel’.
A bimetallic construction has been retained for the 500 Pesos, this time with a gold coloured centre and silver outer. A crystal frog (from the Piedemonte area in the Andes) has been chosen as the main image on the front, beneath which is another series of undulating lines. These are also used on the reverse of the coin, around its outer edge. The rim of the 500 is a combination of striations and plain sections.
The 200 Pesos (a copper/zinc/nickel alloy) features a scarlet macaw, the brass-plated 100 Pesos coin a Frailejon plant (unique to Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador) and the nickel-plated 50 Pesos an image of the spectacled bear – the only species of native bear in South America.

Winner of the Best New Circulating Coin Innovation was Royal Canadian Mint. Finalists were The Royal Mint and Mint of Finland.

As with the 500, each has a similar theme on the reverse – the denomination numeral, the name of the country, undulating lines around the outer edges and the year of issue. The 200 Pesos has lettering on the rim, while rims of the 100 and 50 Pesos are plain.

Best New Coin Innovation

Winner of the Best New Circulating Coin Innovation, Process or Product accepted by Lenard Cheung, Royal Canadian Mint (left). Presentation made by Rick Haycock, IACA.

Winner: Royal Canadian Mint (RCM)
Canada’s new C$1 and C$2 coins (known colloquially as ‘loonies’ and ‘toonies’ respectively) went into circulation in 2012. They have been struck from the RCM’s patented multi-ply plated steel alloy, which has already been in use for the 1, 5, 10 and 25 cent coins for several years. The composition features a steel core with alternating layers of metals such as copper, nickel and brass, resulting – says the RCM – in coins that are more durable, more secure and more economical to produce than other compositions. They are expected to save C$15m per year, based on a projected demand of 30 million of each of the coins per year over the next ten years. The existing coins will be gradually withdrawn from circulation, melted down and the metal recycled.

Winner of the Best New Circulating Coin Innovation 2013: 1 dollar coin ‘Loonie’.

The C$1 coin has been struck from multi-ply brass plated steel, while the ringed bimetallic C$2 coin has a centre of multi-ply brass plated aluminium bronze surrounded by a ring of multi-ply nickel plated steel.

Winner of the Best New Circulating Coin Innovation 2013: 2 dollar coin ‘Toonie’.

The coins are the same diameter and thickness as their predecessors, but are marginally lighter. The designs are also the same, but they incorporate new security features. These include laser marks (a contrasting pattern micro-engraved onto the coin dies) of maple leaves and, on the C$2 coins, edge lettering and virtual images, again of a maple leaf, which changes appearance as the coin is tilted (created by engraving different patterns on each of the two-sided grooves on the surface of the coin).

In addition to the visible security features, the new coins also feature the RCM’s new CoinDNA® technology – whereby an image of the unique surface structure of each coin is captured and converted to a code, or digital fingerprint, that is stored in a database. Comparison between the coin and its code will enable the coin to be authenticated.

For more information on the awards and the ceremony don’t miss to check out Currency News

… and the website of The Coin Conference.

Further information is also available from the IACA website.