Austria’s Black Hole coin, a 20-euro silver piece, has a convex/concave shape. On the obverse, a cone rises from the flat surface to represent the curvature of space-time. It bears the name and solar mass of the first-cited black hole, “CYGNUS X-1.” In German are the inscriptions “SINGULARITAT” meaning Singularity and “EREIGNISHORIZONT” meaning Event Horizon. On the reverse, a funnel shape illustrates a black hole vortex, accompanied by a color-printed spiral. It also includes the inscription “Schwarzes Loch,” German for Black Hole.
The coin is second in the Austrian Mint’s The Uncharted Universe series. There are three proof silver coins in this series, with each using shape and color to illustrate astrological phenomena. The first coin was The Milky Way, which earned a trophy in the Most Innovative category in the last COTY competition. This time The Black Hole proved unbeatable in the Best Silver category, receiving 60 percent more votes than its closest competitor.
The race was much tighter when it came to balloting for the overall winner.
“The final voting for the 40th Coin of the Year was one of the closest battles between two favored coins we have ever witnessed,” said Tom Michael, COTY co-coordinator. “The lead was traded back and forth three times in the last three days of open balloting. In the end, The Black Hole coin of Austria secured its overall win and championship position by a single vote.”
Alongside The Black’s Hole’s Silver category and overall wins, an Austrian 25-euro silver-niobium coin, “Extraterrestrial Life,” took the win in the Best Bi-Metallic category. Colorful and eye-catching, the Austrian Mint’s silver-niobium coins are frequent winners in this category.
The COTY nominee selection process began with 500 coins from 50 countries, with a judging panel of 100 experts from around the world voting to determine 10 deserving coins in 10 categories of competition. That same panel then narrows it down to 10 finalists: the winner of each category. A final vote determines one of those 10 coins to earn top honors, the Coin of the Year.
“We began with 25 percent more coins and 50 percent more nominators this year and produced a head-turning array of wonderful coinage for the 40th COTY 100,” said Michael. “We’re pleased as can be to honor the 10 that rise to the top.”
The 40th COTY awards ceremony, the first held after a three-year hiatus due to COVID, was held Aug. 9 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., in partnership with the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money®.
“As we mark Coin of the Year’s 40-year milestone of honoring the best of the best in coins from around the world, we are excited to be celebrating with an in-person ceremony,” said Maggie Pahl, COTY co-coordinator. “We welcome the World’s Fair of Money® as a new sponsor and look forward to holding our event in conjunction with one of the world’s premier numismatic shows for years to come.”
The List of the 40th COTY category winners:
Most Historically Significant Coin
France: 10 Euro, Silver. Pasteur.
Best Contemporary Event Coin
United Kingdom: 50 Pence, Cupro-Nickel & Color Printing. 50 Years of Pride.
Best Gold Coin
South Africa: 50 Rand, Gold. The Lion, 2nd in the Big 5 II Series.
Best Silver Coin
Austria: 20 Euro, Silver. The Black Hole.
Best Crown Coin
Greece: 10 Euro, Silver. The Antikythera Mechanism.
Best Circulating Coin
Australia: 2 Dollar, AlBr. Honey Bee.
Best Bi-Metallic Coin
Austria: 25 Euro, Silver-Niobium. Extraterrestrial Life.
Most Artistic Coin
Australia: 5 Dollar, Silver. Beauty, Rich and Rare – Great Barrier Reef.
Most Innovative Coin
Canada: 50 Dollar, Silver. Canadian Ghost Ship.
Most Inspirational Coin
Ukraine: 10 Hryvnia, Silver. In Unity, Strength.