Trip to China brings me full circle

Coin of the Year is an award that World Coin News has given since it was created in 1984 to honor coins dated 1982.

This paper is sister to Numismatic News, and it serves collectors of world coins.

I had the honor of being an initial judge for the COTY award, and I have been associated with it in one way or another ever since.

This year, it took me to China’s Beijing Coin Expo, where on Saturday I had the honor to deliver a speech about COTY to the members of the Coin and Medal Art Committee of the China Numismatic Society.

Part of my speech highlighted the remarkable ways this award has taken root in numismatics.

In the very first year of the award, a Chinese coin was one of four coins honored.

Picking up on that point in the words of my speech:

“The original judges chose a Chinese Year of the Dog 20-yuan silver coin as one of the first four coins to win category honors in the very first year Coin of the Year Awards were given for coins dated 1982.

“In the second year of the Coin of the Year Award Program, which was for coins dated 1983, China won three of the six categories. That is half of the awards.

“Why, you might ask?

“In the Best Gold Coin Category, there was a Chinese Panda. In the Best Silver Category, there also was a Chinese Panda.

“For our international panel of judges to have spotted the Pandas in their first year of issue I think is remarkable. Pandas coins have since become a worldwide numismatic symbol of China.

“What also is remarkable is that earlier this year, at the World Money Fair in Berlin, Germany, I had the honor to give a Lifetime Achievement Award in Coin Design to Yu Min.

“He is the very same artist who created the silver Panda design that so captivated us as Coin of the Year judges all those years ago.

“He was unable to be present in Berlin. Now I have come to Beijing.

“I have waited 34 years to meet him, from the time I cast my first votes as judge. I want to say congratulations and well done.

“The coin collectors of the world, and everyone else who is active in numismatics, are grateful to him for his work.”

What a remarkable thing numismatics is to weave a story like this over so many years.

Don’t you think? As you can see, I sure do.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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