The Swan flies for the 200 Years Bank of Finland coin

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April 7, 2011 – The Bank of Finland collector coin to be issued in May is an emblem of Finnish culture and patriotism.

The Bank of Finland coin will be given an appropriately dignified look with artist Hannu Veijalainen’s “Siivet kantaa” (Spread Wings) design whose symbolism hails back to the golden age of Finnish art. Hannu Veijalainen’s swan-themed design was the winning entry in the Bank of Finland collector coin competition. The competition took place between 23 January and 28 February 2011, and it was open to all Finnish residents. Twenty designs were submitted by the deadline. Tapio Kettunen, Petri Neuvonen and Hannu Veijalainen shared third place in the competition organized by the Committee on Collector Coins. Veijalainen submitted two different designs.

The winning entry depicts the national bird of Finland, the whooper swan, who covers both sides of the coin. The obverse side of the collector coin depicts the body and the wing of the swan. The swan’s other wing can be seen on the reverse side. Although the swan has been the Finnish emblem for hundreds of years, the Committee on Collector Coins liked the symbolism in Veijalainen’s design. “Veijalainen’s design contains a complex symbolism related to the activities of the Bank of Finland: the swan has been used as the theme of both Finnish notes and coins,” says Yrjö Sotamaa, Chairman of the Committee on Collector Coins. The designs submitted to the collector coin competitions are usually plaster models. As an artist, Veijalainen feels that plaster models are a productive way to put plans into practice. “When a design is modelled by hand, there are subtle differences. By modelling the design by hand, I was able to create a delicate, soft surface for the swan’s wing feathers,” Veijalainen explains.

The award-winning plaster models will be on display at the Aalto University of Art and Design between 14 and 18 March 2011. In addition to the permanent members of the Committee on Collector Coins, the Bank of Finland 200 Years plaster designs were judged by Antti Heinonen from the Bank of Finland, Mika Natri from the Association of Finnish Sculptors, Katariina Sewón from the Finnish Association of Architects and Caroline Slotte from the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo.

The Ministry of Finance makes the decisions on the issue of official Finnish collector coins. To assist in practical matters, it set up the Collector Coin Committee, which is comprised of members of the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Finland, Mint of Finland and representatives of culture and the arts. The committee will make independent proposals for new collector coins. After the Ministry of Finance makes a favourable decision, the committee will organise a design competition and select a winner. Finally, the committee will propose that the Ministry use the winning entry for a coin’s design. The chairman of the committee is Professor Emeritus Yrjö Sotamaa and members include Senior Budget Secretary Marja Kirppu from the Ministry of Finance, docent Maria Lähteenmäki from the University of Helsinki, curator Heikki Halme of the Ateneum Art Museum, Head of Currency Mauri Lehtinen of the Bank of Finland’s Currency Department and Mint of Finland’s CEO Paul Gustafsson. Representatives or artist associations (the Finnish Association of Architects, Ornamo, the Association of Finnish Sculptors) are invited to participate in the Collector Coin Committee’s meetings as experts. In addition, the committee may invite other experts who are familiar with the subject.

For further details about the Collector Coin Committee’s activities, see our website.