The Coin of the Year Award for 2009 has been won by Mongolia for a silver 500-tugrik coin that depicts a wolverine with diamond eyes.
An international panel made the selection in a second round of balloting that concluded in mid January. The judges chose from among the winners of 10 categories determined by their first round of voting.
The award will be presented Feb. 7 in a special ceremony at the World Money Fair in Berlin, Germany, by David C. Harper on behalf of World Coin News, sponsor of the award and a sister publication to Numismatic News.
“The judges had to be drawn to the eyes of the wolverine. They are quite compelling,” Harper said of the winning coin.
“This year’s field had many strong candidates for the top honor and they should be proud to have won in the 10 nominating categories.”
The U.S. Mint and the National Bank of Belarus dominated the first round of balloting.
Three of 10 award categories were won by the United States and two categories were taken by Belarus.
The other five category winners were Austria, the British Virgin Islands, Denmark, Italy and Mongolia.
Coins in the competition are dated 2007.
The George Washington Presidential dollar won the Most Popular Coin category.
Winner of the Most Historically Significant honor was the silver dollar struck by the U.S. Mint to mark the 400th anniversary of the 1607 Jamestown settlement in Virginia.
The Best Contemporary Event coin, which commemorates an event that occurred less than 100 years ago, was taken by a U.S. silver dollar commemorating the racial desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957.
The Best Crown Award was won by a .925 fine silver 20-rubles coin of Belarus for Pancake Week, which occurs just before Lent and also marks the end of winter and the awakening of nature, according to the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. It is similar to Mardi Gras in Western Europe.
Belarus also won the Most Inspirational category with a 1,000-ruble coin marking the Cross of the Saviour and St. Euphrasyne of Polatsk. A convent there is one of the most sacred sites in the country. The coin is an unusually large 100mm and weighs 1,083.80 grams of .925 fine silver.
Austria’s .925 fine silver 10 euro for Melk Abbey won the Most Artistic category.
A century of color photography celebrated by a $50 silver coin of the British Virgin Islands was voted Most Innovative. The coin’s owner can insert a personal photo in a removable frame. The coin is a large 65mm and is five ounces of .999 fine silver. Pobjoy Mint struck it.
Denmark claimed the Best Gold Award with a 1,000 kroner coin depicting a polar bear, which marks the International Polar Year.
Best Trade Coin honors go to Italy for a bi-metallic 2 euro that has a portrait of Dante, author of the Divine Comedy. This category honors coins that are actually used in circulation.
The Best Silver Coin is also the COTY winner. The silver 500-tugrik has a theme of Wildlife Protection.