Posted on Fri, Mar. 25, 2005

Coins | Belarus wins Coin of the Year

By Henri Sault

For The Inquirer

Little Belarus has captured the Coin of the Year competition, with its 10-ruble silver coin honoring the nation's main ballet troupe taking top honors in a field of international competitors.

The graceful coin, which already had been judged most artistic among the 10 finalists, features a relief effigy of a scene from the national ballet Passions. The obverse depicts Belarus' National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater.

The international competition, sponsored by World Coin News magazine, is for coins in 10 categories struck in 2003. It runs a year late to accommodate coins struck late in the issuing year, or even after Jan. 1, 2004.

No American coin made the finals.

Belarus had two coins in the running, the other being its 20-ruble silver swan coin, which won the best-crown category.

Australia also had two finalists. Its $10 silver coin celebrating the evolution of the alphabet was named most significant historically, and its 50-cent cupro-nickel coin honoring volunteers was called most inspirational.

Austria's 100-euro coin bearing a detail from Gustav Klimt's The Kiss was the best gold coin. Finland's 5-euro hockey championship coin was named best trade coin.

Britain's 2-pound coin marking the discovery of DNA swept the contemporary event category.

New Zealand's $1 "Lord of the Rings" coin was named most popular.

The best silver coin was judged to be Spain's 10-euro coin marking the 75th anniversary of its school ship Elcano. (Coins with sailing ships nearly always win.)

Winner of the most-innovative coin concept was the Cook Islands' Zodiac locket.

Online auction.The National Money Show April 8 to 10 in Kansas City will include an auction with high Internet participation.

Bowers and Merena will sell some coins formerly in the enormous Elias and Norweb collections. Buyers can see the catalog and bid online at

A slice of history. The battle of Trafalgar, a turning point in the Napoleonic wars in October 1805, is commemorated in gold and silver proof coins struck by the British Royal Mint. The coins, first made available in the 2005 proof sets, are now sold separately for North American buyers.

The 5-pound coins show HMS Victory and HMS Temeraire over the word Trafalgar with the dates. The obverse bears Ian Rank-Broadley's portrait of the queen.

The gold coins weigh 39.94 grams and sell for $1,095. The silver proofs sell for $59.95.

Queries go to the Mint, 14101 Southcross Dr. West, Burnsville, Minn. 55337; or 1-800-221-1215, or


Trenton Numismatic Club7:30 p.m. Mon, Jewish Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Rd, Ewing Twp, NJ.

William Penn Coin Club7:30 p.m. Tue, United Methodist Church, Loretto & Ripley Aves.

Wilmington Coin Club7:30 p.m. Tue, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Foulk Rd & Chatham Dr, Wilmington.